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HHS Warns of Terrorist Attacks on Hospitals

The warning follows the encouragement of lone wolf attacks in the U.S. by ISIS.

The United State Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to officials in the public health sector warning of potential terrorist attacks.

The letter, signed by branch chief of HHS’ Critical Infrastructure Program Laura Wolf, also included a list of resources designed to prepare public health facilities for the threat of an active shooter. Those resources are included below.

“It has come to my attention that ISIS has recently encouraged its followers in the U.S. to perpetrate lone wolf attacks on cinemas, malls and hospitals, possibly over the New Year holiday,” Wolf’s letter begins.

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Wolf emphasized that there were no specific credible threats known by intelligence agencies at the time of her writing, and that the letter was sent “in an abundance of caution.”

The letter also reminded healthcare officials to report any suspicious activities or incidents to law enforcement.

Below are the resources shared for healthcare and public health sector partners:

Below are the resources listed for healthcare and public health active shooter response:

  • 2015 Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council Guidance on Active Shooter Planning and Response in a Healthcare Setting: This document was developed by the HPH SCC to provide specific guidance to healthcare providers, incorporating the unique aspects of the healthcare setting, such as special considerations for operating rooms, neonatal units, and medical gases and resources for coordinating medical and behavioral health responses after the incident.
  • Incorporating Active Shooter incident Planning into Health Care Facility Emergency Operations Plans: This document, produced by HHS- ASPR, DOJ, and DHS-FEMA encourages healthcare facilities to consider how to better prepare for an active shooter incident in their emergency operations plan. The document is geared toward emergency planners, disaster committees, executive leadership, and others. Information sharing, coordination with law enforcement, and psychological first aid information is provided.
  • MESH Coalition Active Shooter Training Video: This video, produced by the MESH Coalition, a non-profit public-private healthcare coalition in Marion County, Indiana and the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, Inc., a collaboration of the six major Indianapolis health systems, shares with viewers the unique considerations for those responding to an active shooter in healthcare settings. The video is cited by the HPH SCC as embodying the goals of their Guidance document.
  • FBI Active Shooter Resources: Additional active shooter planning resources from the FBI.

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