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Local hospitals go over their emergency plans in wake of Tulsa shooting

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Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 22:52:08-04

HAMPTON, Va. — Local hospital systems are reviewing their safety measures after Wednesday's mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Many hospitals and medical facilities already hold active shooter drills, but after the most recent shooting, Sentara Healthcare employees tell News 3 they’re talking about new ways to enhance their safety protocols - starting with making sure there's a stronger security presence in their emergency rooms.

In the wake of the shooting that happened on the campus of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, safety for visitors, patients and staff is a big concern.

"It's very sad, and I'll be honest with you - it was something that kind of took me back for a minute. I had to take a pause, sit down and catch my breath," said Kapua Conley, Sentara's Regional President for the Peninsula and executive sponsor of the Violence Prevention Committee.

The tragedy is leaving Conley and other employees at Sentara carefully reviewing their emergency plans.

"Over the past two years, we've been working to beef up our security, making sure we have a stronger presence - physical presence - on campuses, particularly in our ERs," said Conley.

They're also recognizing that there's a need for a system perspective. Although Sentara has their share of security, there are also off-duty law enforcement officers who provide an armed presence in the emergency department.

"We're looking at revamping our security lockdown procedures, bringing into play stronger visitor management systems," said Conley.

The Tulsa gunman, Michael Louis, entered a physician's office building on the St. Francis Hospital campus Wednesday afternoon and killed his surgeon and three other people before killing himself.

For the CEO of Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, the Tulsa shooting hits home. He was once the former chief operating officer at the hospital where the shooting took place. Reese Jackson released a statement, saying, "Acts of aggression and violence against health care workers - whether verbal or physical - cannot be tolerated, much less viewed as random."

Training at Sentara sometimes consists of active shooter drills, along with codes staff are required to know if they feel like they're in danger.

News 3 asked Conley what should people do if something seems suspicious at a hospital campus. He said you should, "speak up and speak out. If something doesn't look right or [there's] someone suspicious, a bag looks suspicious, be curious."

Sentara employees are looking to partner with Hampton Police to learn more about the division’s tactics to possibly implement on campus.

The FBI also has a guide on active shooter planning and response in a healthcare setting. You can view that here.