Homeland Security Warns Hospitals of ISIS Attacks
On December 30, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security Healthcare and Public Health Sector released a letter warning hospitals and other facilities that they are at risk of being targeted by terrorist group ISIS. Practicing “an abundance of caution” the organization’s branch chief calls out several resources that will help support your facility’s safety and security plan. The letter is below:
“ISIS encourages attacks on hospitals and other facilities via social media”
Good Afternoon, Healthcare and Public Health Sector members,
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. As I write this message, there is no intelligence information supporting any specific, credible threats to healthcare, but in an abundance of caution, I am sharing the following resources to support you in your vigilance at HPH facilities over the weekend. Please report any suspicious activities or incidents to law enforcement. You may share this message broadly.
Laura Wolf, PhD
Branch Chief, Critical Infrastructure Protection program, HHS/ASPR
Relevant Resources for HPH Sector Partners:
- Security Starts Here: Connect, Plan, Train, Report: DHS Tools and Resources to Help Businesses Plan, Prepare, and Protect from Attack
- ASPR-TRACIE topic collections on Explosives and Mass Shooting and Workplace Violence
- Resources to promote the “If you see something, say something” campaign
- Training for personnel on recognizing and reporting suspicious behavior in healthcare settings
- Healthcare and Public Health Suspicious Activity Training
- Quick list of indicators
Healthcare and Public Health resources for Active Shooter:
- 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.