It's hard to imagine the Shriners hospital in Sacramento, California, being the target of a mass casualty, but it is within the realm of possibilities. To prepare, an active shooter drill and survival workshop was created at the University of California at Davis Police Department, reported Emergency Management.
The importance of training citizens
"Five years ago, none of us would have thought of this as part of our hospital emergency preparedness," said Allan Johnson, who is in charge of emergency preparedness at Shriners, according to the news source. "But everyone's awareness has been raised, these things have happened."
Training wasn't just directed toward emergency responders and law enforcement. Emergency Management reported that community members at the university and the public were asked to participate. Training for mass casualty scenarios doesn't just mean teaching public safety and law enforcement recruits, it also can entail educating the public on the right way to respond. Teaching the public how to respond creates shared responsibility and empowerment for those who could be victims of the event.
"The main takeaway was being prepared," Johnson told the news source. "We can plan all we want but it's not the plan on paper but raised awareness and hopefully having a step or two in our heads that we can remember quickly."
The importance of preparedness
Public teaching initiatives can help public safety officials gain quicker control over emergency situations. Victims know what to expect and how to behave during an incident, making the job of the first responder much easier. In this example, students were taught to map out their new classes each fall and spring to find three possible escape routes. In addition, community were taught how to find the best hiding place in an emergency situation if escape is not possible.
"Everyone is good at going to work or class the same way every day," UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael told the news source. "Just for fun, walk three routes, build that memory, be aware of your surroundings and where you can escape to."
By teaching the public how best to respond in an emergency situation, law enforcement and public safety officials are creating a culture of shared responsibility. People are better able to react with decisive movements due to extensive training instead of panicking and potentially creating a more chaotic situation for law enforcement.
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