What hospitals are doing to prevent future active-shooter situations

Authorities are on scene Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, after a call of a possible active shooter at Memorial Hospital in Bakersfield, Calif. Police said the call was unfounded. No shots were fired. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Whether real or false alarms, active shooter situations at hospitals are becoming increasingly common occurrences all around the country.

Tuesday’s incident at Memorial Hospital is the second active shooter scare to rock a Dignity Health facility in the Bakersfield area in recent months, following the August hoax at Mercy Southwest.

Now, many people are asking what hospitals can do to stop them.

"We're constantly reviewing the processes and procedures around that. Coaching and training staff on what to do, how to respond and what to respond,” said Ken Keller, the chief operating officer of Memorial Hospital.

One thing that local hospitals are looking at is updated technology.

After the August incident, Dignity Health told Eyewitness News it was in the process of upgrading its phone systems to be able to more accurately pinpoint where calls made from within a hospital came from.

Initially, it was meant to be done by the end of this year. But now, it's been pushed back to March.

"Testing for the actual upgrade in the phone system technology is still under, underway. And the rollout and implementation is to have it in effect and operational by the end of the first quarter,” Keller said.

A second way is making sure that all hospital staff members are following the necessary security procedures for emergency situations, something that some of Dignity's nurses came under scrutiny for after the August incident.

"In this case, everybody hunkered down, reinforced with the patients and the, and the families that were here, that they needed to do that as well,” said Keller.

But despite the continuing upgrades to the system, Keller says it's still a work in progress.

"We within Mercy and Memorial, as well as the other facilities here in town, are going to continue to make sure that we drill, continue to work to educate our staff, continue to work with the community, so that when we have things like this, we're ready and prepared for them."

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