With violent crime on the rise in hospitals across the country – and with the ever-present threat of active shootings in public facilities – today’s hospitals are implementing new systems and processes designed to deter the threat of violence. Preparation and prevention involves everything from active shooter training to high-tech visitor management systems, but one of the most important prevention mechanisms is vigilant employees. Hospital safety, after all, is everyone’s job.
All Hands on Deck
Medical hospitals are complex campuses, each typically comprising several buildings, numerous floors, hundreds of rooms, clinics—a lot of space and many points of entry. It is unrealistic to think a hospital security department alone can fully patrol such a vast amount of space at all times. The safety and security of your healthcare facility relies on each employee “patrolling” their own little corners of the hospital.
That takes training, of course – it is essential to clearly communicate the appropriate levels of vigilance and response needed for all potential threats. Here are a few tips you can share with hospital employees and medical staff:
- Whether in an office or out on a patient floor, everyone sees hospital visitors throughout each workday. Tell everyone to pay attention, and if something seems suspicious, do not simply dismiss it. Report unusual persons or activities to hospital security right away. Like the expression goes, “If you see something, say something.”
- The employees of a specific department are intimately knowledgeable about the safety and security of their own areas, so you should teach employees to look for and call attention to safety hazards or liabilities, so you can quickly remedy areas where security may be lacking. Is there a lock that doesn’t always latch? Is there a hallway that needs better lighting? Has it been too long since the access code to the back entrance was changed?
- Train employees on the proper escape route or exit plan from each department in case of emergency. Then, do a dry run safety drill. Better to notice ahead of time if there is an obstruction in a passageway, for example, than trying to move it in the middle of an emergency. Also work with your departments and personnel to identify the best hiding places in case an active shooter enters the premises.
- Make sure everyone in each department knows the location of the nearest fire extinguishers (and how to use them) if needed.
These tips are just the basics, of course, but it is important to involve all employees in these and other safety-related discussions. Engage everyone, and help all employees recognize their own roles in creating a safer, more secure hospital and work environment.
Strength in Numbers
The members of your hospital security team are key players when it comes to safeguarding your organization, but nothing compares to the power of having all employees engaged in the effort. From clinical and administrative teams to the custodial personnel and every employee in between, there is strength in numbers, and having an attentive team is a valuable asset for any hospital.
Ready to implement a visitor management system to improve the security of your hospital? symplr Visitor Management is an easy-to-use and easy-to-implement web-based visitor screening solution that protects hospital employees and patients by preventing unwanted access to your facility. Combine instant visitor screening with audible reporting of data logs as well as automated alerts and notifications for a comprehensive system designed with your hospital’s safety in mind. To learn more about Visitor Management from symplr, schedule a demo now.