Civil Unrest and Security Resources in Advance of Election Day

October 27, 2020

With Election Day one week away, some GNYHA members have expressed concerns about civil unrest on November 3 or the days that follow. In response, GNYHA is sharing several planning resources. Hospitals are also encouraged to contact their local police precinct or department to review safety and security plans.

Information for New York City Facilities

GNYHA has been in touch with both the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM). NYCEM plans to activate a virtual Situation Room on Election Day, and starting this week there is an increased police presence across the City. Police officers are currently at all 88 early voting locations, and on Election Day will be present at all 1,200 polling locations across the five boroughs.

Relevant GNYHA Resources

GNYHA’s Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Response Toolkit is designed to help members develop and improve their mass casualty incident response plans. It includes suggested preparedness and response actions for the many clinical and non-clinical departments that would be involved in an MCI response.

GNYHA’s Hospital Coordination with Law Enforcement: Hospital Guidance Document addresses coordination with law enforcement and investigative agencies in a number of scenarios. While this tool was developed with the NYPD, much of the information is applicable to other jurisdictions.

GNYHA’s Safety and Security Considerations for Hospitals synthesizes safety and security strategies compiled by a GNYHA-led workgroup of health care security directors and external law enforcement representatives. Considerations are organized into four sections—staff and vendor management, patient and visitor management, physical security, and emergency department security. A fifth section provides links to tools and resources.

Resources Recommended by ASPR TRACIE

GNYHA contacted the US Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) for recommended resources related to civil unrest and is sharing several of these with members. These articles may help hospitals prepare for the many facets of response.

This article addresses how hospitals can prepare for situations of civil unrest. It also describes the types of injuries that patients may present with at hospitals (e.g., eye and respiratory tract effects, bone injuries, and exposures to chemical agents). Note: This article is outdated but may provide useful pieces of information.

Hospital News. (n.d.). Planning for the Worst: How Hospitals Prepared for the Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver. (Accessed 6/1/2020.)

This article describes how staff at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada prepared for possible mass casualties and responded to individuals injured during the riots that erupted after the 2011 Stanley Cup series. 

Hospital Safety Center. (2020). Hospital Preparedness, Security Paramount During the Baltimore Riots.

This article addresses hospital preparedness and response during the April 2015 riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray. Four major hospitals within Baltimore city limits worked to determine alternate routes to get their staff to work and prepared for increasing security during this time of civil unrest.

Jenkins, J.L., and Mason, M. (2015). A Long Night in the Emergency Department during the Baltimore, Maryland (USA) Riots. Prehospital Disaster Medicine. 30(4):325-326.

The authors of this article provide a firsthand account of how their hospital prepared for and responded to the 2015 Baltimore riots after the death of Freddie Gray.

Lavin, R., Veenema, T.G., Clavert, W.J., et al. (2017). Nurse Leaders’ Response to Civil Unrest in the Urban Core. Nursing Administration Quarterly. 41(2):164-169.

The authors of this article provide a list of 10 “musts” for nurses when planning for a crisis such as civil unrest. They provide examples of how hospitals responded in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown and in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

Additionally, ASPR TRACIE maintains many topic collections that may be helpful: Mass Gatherings/Special Events, Responder Safety and Health, and Workplace Violence.