In 2015, more than 300 known mass shootings were recorded. In 2016, a deadly mass shooting happened in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and leaving 53 injured. A year later, what many consider as the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history happened at a country music festival in Las Vegas attended by 22,000 people. Fifty people died and more than 200 were wounded. FBI data revealed that in 2018, more than 100 Americans were arrested for plans to engage in acts of domestic terrorism.
Shootings and violence can happen everywhere, from movie theaters to schools, even churches; hospitals are no exception. In fact, the CDC notes that the rate of violent acts and nonfatal assaults in the healthcare and social assistance industry is substantially higher than that in the private industry as a whole.
Jason Berenstein, Oakland Regional Hospital director of hospital security says that it is, unfortunately, a sign of the times. “Everyone in a hospital needs to be prepared for the worst,” he says.
Gail Blanchard-Saiger, the vice president of labor and employment at the California Hospital Association, says that as hospitals are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, security and law enforcement in hospitals can be quite a challenge.
The truth is, lost in the headlines, news cycles, and the fear generated by violent attacks and terrorist threats is the fact that attacks worldwide have been declining. Yet, there is no room for complacency, especially since these attacks tend to rise and fall in waves.
How to Boost Hospital Security
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to hospital security. But there are measures hospitals can take to keep workers, patients, and facilities safe.
1. Security should always be available in the most volatile areas
Regardless of the time of day or the level of activity, have security officers stationed at your facility’s most volatile areas. Some facility owners and managers think that they may be a bit relaxed with security in the overnight shift or when fewer people are around. But certain potentially chaotic areas in your healthcare facility such as an emergency room will always need security. Patients in psychiatric units, for example, tend to act out without a warning which makes security presence in such areas essential.
2. Be proactive about security: train your staff
The adage is, hospitals are more reactive than proactive. But being proactive, specifically about security, can help mitigate injuries, liability, or loss of life. True enough, it’s better to have procedures and policies in place before an incident happens, instead of having to decide on what to do while it’s taking place, or afterward.
Train your staff for handling violence in the workplace. Arm them with knowledge on how they can respond to threats or attacks, such as in instances of an active shooting. You can also stage drills that allow your hospital workers to learn how to respond in dangerous situations that may otherwise frighten them in real life. By helping your staff create an action plan for such situations, you also help prepare them for possible violent situations outside the workplace.
It also pays to train your staff to keep an eye out for anything that seems odd or out of place. When in doubt, it’s wise to use the “see something, say something” approach. When employees are proactive and immediately speak up regarding a possible untoward incident, it can be easier to resolve the situation before it can cause any damage.
3. Make fewer areas available to the public
It can be challenging for hospitals to welcome guests and at the same time maintain an acceptable level of security.
A hospital must accommodate visitors and should be open in nature. But how do you keep guests from wandering in unauthorized areas?
You can keep an eye on more visitors and decrease the risk that comes with them wandering off into laboratories, patient rooms, and other areas that are “off-limits” by reducing the parts of your facility that may be available to the public. This way, you can keep the bulk of visitors in a central location, where they can be monitored by security officers. As an extra measure, you may also install CCTV cameras in these areas in your facility.
4. Install access systems to level up security in certain areas
Limiting the number of “threatening” characters you allow on-site or in highly charged areas isn’t as simple as looking for a “bad guy” patch on a visitor’s jacket. There are other ways you can restrict access to certain areas in your facility. You may, for example, station security at doorways that lead to another area or install access card readers on locked doors.
As a leader in hardware and software security in Kansas City, TED Systems offers the latest solutions, from CCTV video surveillance and intrusion alarm systems to access control systems and beyond.
Our access control systems prevent unwanted access to your premises and let you monitor and control activities in your facility, from any location through the TruPortal Access Control. Our access control systems help you make sure your business operations remain undisrupted and your employees and the people under your care — safe.
Implementing security measures and features into your healthcare facility not only maximizes the utilization of human resources and lowers operational costs, but it also promotes employee and patient satisfaction. When your patients, staff, and visitors feel safe as they walk from the parking and while they’re inside your facility, their confidence in your organization is reinforced and they are able to focus on more urgent, pressing matters.
Elevate the Level of Security in Your Facility
Increase the level of security in your healthcare facility with help from TED Systems. We bring years of valuable experience designing, installing, and providing support for access control systems that help you effectively manage your facility’s security.
And you don’t have to worry about installing your new system. We have a team of access control system technicians who make sure your technology is fulfilling its job of keeping your facility safe from intruders.
Protect your staff, visitors, data, and physical assets from damage, intrusion, misuse, or theft. Call TED Systems at (913) 677-5771 today.