No matter the department within Cincinnati Children’s, training our staff is a big part of being prepared for all situations– whether or not they are likely to happen. Oftentimes we run fire and safety drills within our departments, and few people outside of these employees (patients, parents, and other visitors) are even aware that the drill occurred. Every so often the hospital as a whole is tested to be sure that everyone is prepared and equipped to work together to remedy a potentially threatening event.
Most recently there was an active shooter drill that tested the readiness of the hospital as well as the Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments. The scenario was that an armed man enters the hospital, makes it to an inpatient waiting room and confronts those he finds there. By the time he’s done the shooter has shot the hospital unit clerk, a nurse, the mother of his child, and himself. Through this process, the hospital’s readiness is tested from the top hospital leaders to staff to patients.
This process has personally taught me a great deal about how the hospital operates under high-stress and high-risk situations. I was an unsuspecting volunteer who found myself right in the middle of the “shooter’s” rampage. On the day of the drill, I was asked to play the role of the mother. I was instructed to argue with the shooter and to act as I would if it were a real situation. After the shooting had subsided, the drill continued as we waited for police to arrive and secure the “crime scene.” We were then assessed by the fire department and cared for as if we were true victims. As this was taking place, there were countless others throughout the hospital who were responding to potential situations that would be caused by this event as well. After having such a vital and eye-opening role in this drill, it’s reassuring to know that Cincinnati Children’s, in collaboration with the Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments, is prepared for such a frightening situation. Although we never expect to have a situation such as this actually occur, rest assured that we have prepared ourselves thoroughly, all to guarantee the safety of you and your family.
Contributed by Alison Houser and edited by Tony Dandino (RT-MR),