Arlington County’s Fire and Police departments and the Virginia Hospital Center, a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, created a first-of-its-kind Hospital Response Task Force designed to save more lives in the event of a mass casualty incident (MCI) such as a terrorist attack or active shooter situation in Arlington or the greater region, and to protect the hospital in the event of secondary threats.
This important partnership was started after careful research of prior tragedies that have occurred elsewhere in the United States and globally. In nearly all cases where events included a large number of victims, significant issues were documented at hospitals nearby the incident. Hospitals were overrun with victims who self-transported to the hospital, oftentimes with friends or ride-sharing services. The Hospital Response Task Force model in Arlington aims to provide immediate assistance to hospitals to prevent the surge of self-reporting victims from reducing the hospital’s ability to save lives.
The plan, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, is managed by the Arlington County High Threat Response Program and Virginia Hospital Center Emergency Management Committee. Both groups are working with regional law enforcement, fire and hospital partners in order to expand the program outside of Arlington. The plan will be fully integrated into Arlington County’s emergency response operations starting in May 2019.
The Hospital Response Working Group was formed in June 2018 and has made significant progress in improving life-saving capabilities following an attack and preparing for the personnel and material support that would be needed. While specifics of the plan will not be disseminated to the public for security reasons, paramedics, law enforcement officers and hospital staff will work hand-in-hand to provide rapid treatment and protection for incoming victims.
About Arlington County High Threat Response Program
A joint effort between Arlington County’s Fire and Police Departments, Arlington County’s High Threat Response Program integrates police, fire and emergency medical services to more efficiently and effectively respond in a coordinated manner to atypical emergencies and complex attacks. The program examines and develops operational training and response plans for high threat incidents that require simultaneous operations and integration of all of the individual capabilities of the public safety disciplines.
About Virginia Hospital Center
Virginia Hospital Center has provided exceptional medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years and was once again named a Leapfrog Top Hospital in 2018, and previously named one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals® and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics. The hospital is a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of independent healthcare organizations. Virginia Hospital Center is a 394-bed not-for-profit teaching facility, and it is designated as a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.