WestSide Stories: Preparing for active shooter situations in the hospital

Local News

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A local hospital, along with first responders, is preparing for the worst – an active shooter situation inside the hospital.

An active shooting has never happened at Jordan Valley Medical Center, but with a rise in U.S. gun violence in recent years, officials said it could happen (at any time, or anywhere) and they want to be prepared.

“We hope that we’ll never have an active shooter in the hospital, but we know hope isn’t a strategy,” said Nathanael Budge, the administrator at the west medical center.

“But we also have to plan for any case scenario,” said Kirk Roberts, a clinical instructor at Ameritech College of Healthcare, and a charge nurse at the west medical center.

Training for the unimaginable, healthcare professionals and westside first responders hope this drill will test their current strategies and help them to better prepare.

“It’s incumbent upon us, as stewards of our community, to prepare and to prepare well,” Budge said.

“Being prepared is actually the first key of being able to anticipate and then to also have great outcomes,” Roberts said.  

The victims of the drill were Ameritech nursing students, covered in fake blood and wounds.  

“I tell my students all the time, ‘It’s not a fluffy unicorn situation at all times,’” he said. “They’re [Jordan Valley] rising to the occasion and making these drills happen, so we are prepared. And that we have protocols in place.”

A Med Page Today report found 154 hospital-related shootings happened in an 11-year timeframe. Shootings occurred in 40 states, resulting in 235 people injured or dead.

“As you see on the news recently, those are things coming up, and we do need to be aware,” Roberts said.

“We recognize that with increased prevalence of these types of events across the nation, we best serve the community by preparing,” Budge said.

Statistics suggest the increase in hospital-based shootings mirrors the national trend. And while healthcare officials hope they do not become a target for a shooting, again, they said preparedness is crucial.

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