Multimodal active shooter training for emergency department personnel: An Initiative for knowledge, comfort, and retention


Advocate Christ Medical Center


Background: While hospital-related shootings are not common, recent years have demonstrated an increasing trend, especially involving the emergency department (ED). Despite this increase, there remains a lack of effective training for providers for active shooter events. Existing trainings commonly lack active participation, departmental-specific plans, or feasibility.

Methods: Sixty-six emergency medicine physicians, nurses, and technicians participated in a two-phased multimodal active shooter training aimed to increase response knowledge and comfort. The initial training phase included a lecture on "Run-Hide-Fight" principles with departmental adaptations, followed by scenario-based discussion, and then safety walkthrough. Months later in the second phase, participants completed an active shooter simulation. An identical knowledge survey was collected before and after each phase along with descriptive analysis. Surveys were compared using paired t-test. Comfort levels were reported on a Likert scale and compared by paired t-test.

Results: Paired t-tests confirmed a statistically significant difference in both active shooter knowledge and comfort levels. Participants showed retention of response knowledge and comfort with implementing response behaviors. Further descriptive analysis demonstrated effective fleeing and barricading, suggesting a real-life gain of knowledge and comfort.

Conclusion: A two-phased, multimodal training design for active shooter response was successful in increasing ED provider active shooter knowledge, comfort, retention, and effective response behaviors.

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