Active Shooter Drill Prepares Hospital Staff

TOTOWA, NJ (Aug. 22, 2022) – 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.

ABOUT ST. JOSEPH’S HEALTH

Founded in 1867 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, St. Joseph’s Health is a world-class hospital and healthcare network supported by more than 5,000 leading and renowned physicians, nurses and care teams. From its humble beginnings, St. Joseph’s Health has become one of the premier health systems in the state, serving more than 1.5 million patients annually. The organization continues to evolve as the leading health resource in the community, the largest employer in Passaic County, and one of the largest providers of charity care in New Jersey.

The St. Joseph’s Health system is one of the leading clinical teaching and academic centers in the country, and has been recognized for its innovative programs and cutting-edge services. The health system operates a full continuum of care, including a regional tertiary care medical center (St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, Paterson), an acute care medical center (St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center, Wayne) a state-designated children’s hospital (St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Paterson), a rehabilitation and long-term care facility (St. Joseph’s Healthcare & Rehab Center, Cedar Grove), an outpatient facility featuring an urgent care, primary and specialty services (St. Joseph’s Totowa Health Campus, Totowa) comprehensive home care (Visiting Health Services of New Jersey), an urgent care in Clifton and multiple ambulatory care centers located throughout Northern New Jersey. The system is further supported by St. Joseph’s Health Medical Group, which operates more than 100 physician medical and specialty practices across northern New Jersey.

Among its awarding-winning specialties, St. Joseph’s is home to the nationally acclaimed Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO®) program; the first accredited Geriatric Emergency Department in New Jersey; and recognized by US News with a top nursing home award and a five-star rating. In addition, St. Joseph’s University Medical Center is a five-time recipient of the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, the profession’s highest honor

In September 2019, St. Joseph’s Health established a strategic and clinical partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, one of New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive and integrated health networks. Together, the two health systems operate a jointly-owned home health and hospice agency, serving patients and families across Bergen, Passaic and Morris Counties. In addition, St. Joseph’s and Hackensack Meridian have collaborated on clinical affiliations in acute rehabilitation (with the HMH JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute) and comprehensive oncology care (with the HMH John Theurer Cancer Center).  For more information, please visit www.stjosephshealth.org.

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