Arizona hospitals explain how they train for mass casualty events

HonorHealth partners with law enforcement for disaster drills. The simulations acknowledge the grim reality that a mass shooting could happen anywhere.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:43 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - After the 4th of July mass shooting that left seven people dead in an Illinois suburb, medical staff raced to help the dozens of people injured. It’s a reality hospitals train for, including here in the Valley.

HonorHealth partners with law enforcement for disaster drills every year. “We include all levels within the hospital center. So, x-ray, lab, then actually take the patients into surgery suites so we can surge and stress all different levels of the hospitals, instead of just the emergency department,” said John Bartz, Director of Network Operations, Emergency and Public Safety at HonorHealth.

These simulations acknowledge the grim reality that a mass shooting could happen anywhere, at any time. “It has to be hands on training, you can’t just do tabletop exercises. You have to do real-life training scenarios because it does put stress on staff, we try to inoculate them against stress and exposed to the best we can do to what real-life scenario would be,” said Matthew Roadifer, Senior Director of Security Services at HonorHealth.

Dr. Ayan Sen is the chair of critical care at Mayo Clinic and works in the ICU. “We are not a trauma center, but all the more reason that we are prepared for any traumatic incidents including mass shooting and mass casualty events so that everybody gets the best care if unfortunately, events like these happen,” he said.

He says treating patients as soon as possible gives them a higher chance of survival. “We have plans where teams would respond in collaboration with EMS and law enforcement. The time is precious,” Dr. Sen said.

Mayo Clinic also offers ‘Stop the Bleed’ training. It’s open to anyone, and Dr. Sen says it can save someone’s life, especially in situations where there are mass casualties. For more information, click here.