Jacobi prepares for possible ‘active shooter’ scenario

Jacobi personnel at the workshop to help prepare for an active shooter situation: (l-r) Chris Mastromano, hospital CEO; Janice Halloran, director of emergency preparedness; Mike McMorrow, director of hospital police; Barabra Deiorio, public relations director and Joanne Sampson, hospital director of human resources.
Photo by Odette Scofield

A local hospital is preparing for a scenario that it hopes will never happen.

Jacobi Medical Center held an Active Shooter Preparedness event on Wednesday, June 13 that was open to the community and the hospital’s Community Advisory Board on what individuals can do to protect themselves and others in case of a mass-shooting incident.

The event comes on the heels of the one-year mass shooting anniversary at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. The June 30, 2017 incident left two people dead and several wounded when a disgruntled former doctor opened fire.

It included techniques that taught attendees to escape or properly barricade themselves during a shooting incident, as well as how to take down an active shooter, said Janice Holloran, Jacobi chairperson of emergency preparedness and Bronx Emergency Preparedness Coalition co-chair.

“This can happen anywhere – this is not a school program or a hospital problem,” said Halloran. “The point is to be vigilant.”

Holloran said that an ‘action report’ on the Bronx Lebanon shooting with recommendations is forthcoming, and that while awaiting the findings, it is best to be prepared in case it happens again in a borough hospital or somewhere else.

Holloran and Mike McMorrow, the hospital’s director of police, presented material that is found in a training module that all Jacobi Medical Center personnel will use, along with hands-on training including simulations of shootings for hospital employees to learn how they will react if gunshots ring out.

Halloran said the training offered the community and CAB members tips on what to do in such a situation.

First and foremost, your first order of business in an active shooter situation is to get out of the area if you can, said Holloran.

If you cannot get out, the best plan is to hide in a safe location that you can lock and barricade yourself in, she said.

If that is not an option, she added, the training teaches individuals to be prepared to fight for their lives, which can mean different things to different people.

“You want to teach people how to participate in their own survival and help others get to safety,” she said.

The module utilizes a method used throughout the country called A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evaluate), said Holloran, who said she first learned of it through a conversation with a detective in the 49th Precinct.

The Jacobi Emergency Department, where the 29-year hospital veteran works, receives ‘dry runs’ on how to respond to mass casualties during some Friday and Saturday evenings where as many as six or seven patients with gun shot wounds come in within an hour, said Holloran.

“It is the new normal,” she said of the need to prepare for active shooters. “ No one should be lulled into a false sense of security; this is not a (video game) or a movie, it is a possibility you should be prepared for.”

Silvio Mazzella, Jacobi CAB chairman, said he was impressed by the presentation and thinks that it is important that the community aware what the hospital is doing behind the scenes to take care of the community and its staff.

“The whole idea behind the program is so that no one is completely surprised,” said Mazzella.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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