St. Joseph's Health and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department collaborated for an interactive training exercise to provide hospital employees with hands-on experience for an active shooter emergency. The exercise focused on patient and employee safety, communication, security and law enforcement response, and de-escalation protocols.
“At St. Joseph’s Health, the safety of our employees and patients is our top priority,” said Chris Johnston, Director of Security and Safety, St. Joseph’s Health. “By working together with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department we can ensure that we have a well-orchestrated plan should we ever need to respond to an active shooter situation.”
Passaic County Sheriff’s officers used the new health campus setting for their own training, in addition to teaching hospital employees how to react to a violent intruder. The scenarios were varied and often had multiple actors to test staff response. All involved a single shooter entering a clinical area on hospital property and employees responded based on their training.
“Although we hope to never experience an active shooter situation, we understand the importance of practicing these types of drills,” said Johnston. “By working closely with our emergency preparedness team and the sheriff’s department, we are able to not only train our employees to respond to an active shooter situation, but also recognize any areas that may need improvements.”
The contributions of the New Jersey State Police, Totowa Police Department, and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office lent to the authenticity of the drill and helped ensure the municipal government and the hospital have a coordinated response plan.