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Are Active Shooter Plans Relevant for Your Dental Practice?

Preparing for and dealing with an active shooter is one situation where remaining calm and knowing what to do can make a difference. Just as large hospital systems have made active shooter plans and trainings commonplace, so should your dental practice.

With the topic of planning and preparing for an active shooter receiving a significant amount of news coverage, you may be wondering if these efforts are relevant for your dental practice. The answer is yes, very much so.

Active shooter situations often happen quickly and without a definable method or pattern. It is not uncommon for selected victims to be easy, soft targets located in a confined public area. Your dental practice offers just these demographics: the soft targets and a confined area - where a shooter may attempt to kill or harm indiscriminately.

So what can you and your staff do to mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from such a situation?

Just as large hospital systems have made active shooter plans and trainings commonplace, so should your dental practice.

John Hopkins Nursing has released an informative (and free) webinar which addresses the active shooter situation in both clinical and non-clinical environments. You may access the webinar via the Johns Hopkins online learning system.

This webinar is based on the run, hide, and fight principals – giving examples of each in real life situations. For example, if you must hide: turn off the lights, take cover and silence all cell phones, beepers, etc. If you must fight – grab the fire extinguisher so it can be used as a weapon.

The webinar includes tips that can be used and/or adapted for your practice. Additionally, these practices can be transitioned for personal use should you or your staff members encounter an active shooter situation outside of the practice.

Remember, preparing for and dealing with an active shooter is one situation where remaining calm and knowing what to do can make a difference. 

You can help your practice be ready and prepared for an active shooter situation by considering the following tips:

  • Make time to watch and discuss the Johns Hopkins Active Shooter webinar with your staff 
  • Commit to being prepared for an active shooter situation before it happens
  • Discuss and implement a realistic plan for your office
  • Check with local law enforcement for their tips and insights
  • Ensure all staff members are thoroughly trained on and knowledgeable of the active shooter plan
  • Continue to enhance your plan as necessary 
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