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Salt Lake Hospital Simulates Active Shooter Situation

To help make the drill seem real, fake guns that shoot rubber bullets were used. The guns are blue to show that they are not real and are only for practice

Between 2000 and 2019, 43 states and Washington DC all experienced at least one active shooter situation, according to a report by the FBI. One hospital here in Utah is preparing for the worst with some training.

Staff at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City, emergency medical service providers, and local law enforcement worked together earlier this week to train for what to do in case of an active shooter incident.

Carli Cervantes, the trauma program director for St. Mark’s Hospital, said practicing for emergencies like this helps ensure they are prepared to help as many people as possible.

“It's really good to fail, while you're practicing so that you get all of those bugs worked out, you can really find out how your system works," said Cervantes. "So that if the real deal ever happens, you've already been there and done that and you're prepared for it.”


To make the drill as realistic as possible, “actors” put on moulage, makeup that looks like a real wound, to simulate their injuries. The actors were familiar with the medical world, so added realism by responding during the drill how an injured person would. 

The makeup and actors weren’t the only things that helped add to the realism of the drill said Ross Fowlks, Director of EMS Relations at HCA Healthcare.

“There will be some active shooters in here with some dummy ammo. It will be loud, and there will be a real-life hostage-type situation they'll have to deal with and watch for. And so you have to protect your area,” said Fowlks.

Cervantes said that the hospital has treated gun victims in the past but it was only a few at a time. This drill allows hospital workers to gain experience working on a mass number of victims at once.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.