Active Shooters are a Growing Problem in Hospitals. Here’s What to Do About it.

By October 25, 2023 Uncategorized

Active shooters, killing one or dozens of people in this country have been reoccurring events in this country for decades. However, according to the Annals of Emergency Medicine, “hospital-based shooting … are relatively rare compared with other forms of workplace violence.” But that is changing fast today.

A report from the Associated Press and published on ABC News reveals:

Shootings and other attacks are increasing at hospitals across the U.S., contributing to health care becoming one of the nation’s most violent fields.

Further, the data reveals that active shooters and shootings in hospital are as likely in urban healthcare settings as in rural areas. Large medical centers, however, often have two key benefits over smaller, urban facilities, when active shooter incidents occur:

  • Most urban hospitals today have better security technologies in place compared to smaller facilities. These include more access controls, as well as more effective and more advanced security countermeasures.
  • Police are often already at the scene. For instance, they may accompany someone in an accident into the emergency room or may escort a prisoner into the hospital for medical care. Whatever the situation, being on the scene means police can usually respond more quickly should an incident occur.

Still, the challenges of dealing with active shooters for large and small medical facilities are many and complex.

Examples include the following:

  • Medical facilities are invariably large facilities and have multiple ingress and egress points. This makes it more difficult to control access into and out of the facility.
  • Small medical facilities typically have a small or non-existent budget for security and are vulnerable to attack.
  • Hospitals see thousands of people each day. The mere size of the numbers makes preventing an active shooter event or planning a response to one, more difficult.
  • Hospitals are by necessity open environments with patient visitors, vendors and others often having unrestricted access without rigorous vetting.
  • Demographics and geographical settings may also play a role. Inner-city medical facilities in poorer neighborhoods may have a higher volume of violence and present higher risks to hospital workers.
  • No two medical facilities are the same. What prevents active shooting incidents in one facility may not be as effective in another.

While the challenges are many, what is true today for all hospitals is that they must have a workplace violence program in place, including an active shooter “plan of action.” To create these plans, crucial assessments must be completed, including:

  • A review of existing workplace violence (WPV) and security policies and procedures to determine if they are appropriate and effective as it relates to the site and its operation.
  • An assessment of security at the site to determine the level of security countermeasures in place and how effective they are. This results in gaps in security being identified and solutions recommended.
  • An assessment of risk with regards to WPV and active assailants.
  • An assessment of natural and human-caused hazards. This assessment helps establish the probability of an incident occurring and the consequence if it does.

To prevent such active shooter violence, many medical facilities are now working with security consulting and risk assessment professionals such as TAL Global. We are helping hospital administrators take necessary steps now to protect their people, patients, and facilities.

TAL Global is an elite security, consulting, and risk management firm that protects human and physical assets around the globe. For more information email:

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Active Shooter Response – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf ( Hazardous to Your Health: Violence in the Healthcare Workplace | ASH Clinical News | American Society of Hematology (

Schwerin DL, Thurman J, Goldstein S. Active Shooter Response. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


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