The Best Ways to Improve Hospital Security

Help monitor real-time threats in any facility using security consoles

There are many businesses, organizations, and institutions that have to worry about threats. As such, it’s important that they take the right steps to maintain safety. A hospital is one of these places, and it is imperative that they prepare for any type of emergency. We outline the best ways to improve hospital security via planning, technology, equipment, and more.

Employ Security Officers

Many different types of people come in and out of hospitals every day. This makes it a prime destination for heightened security. To maintain security and monitor any suspicious activity, hospitals need to employ security officers. Hospital security officers should be located at the entrances and patrolling the hallways to ensure safety and protection. In the event of an emergency, security officers can protect the patients, visitors, doctors, and others.

Install an Alarm System

Hospitals should also have an alarm system in place. This will effectively alert anyone in the hospital if there is danger in the building—from violence to bad weather. An effective alarm system communicates through various forms. Speakers located and adjusted at the correct volume throughout a hospital is a great way to get a message out. The ability to contact people via text or email is another huge advantage. Additionally, hospitals should install digital signage that lights up around the hospital as well.

Mark Emergency Exits

Some situations may call for people to exit the building in a fashionable manner. The United States Department of Labor also has a few safety requirements that hospitals must follow. To fulfill these requirements, exit signage must be a permanent fixture. Additionally, all exits should have a limited opening—if the alarm system goes off, this means that doors can quickly close automatically to ensure everyone’s protection. Exit signs should accommodate a diverse group of people (i.e. include multiple languages) so everyone can leave efficiently. Unless done so by the security system, side-hinged exit doors must remain unlocked and easily visible.

Implement Video Surveillance

There are many benefits to having video surveillance installed in a hospital, the main one being that it can increase safety. Cameras placed throughout a hospital can prevent violence, break-ins, trespassers, and other potential crimes. By monitoring threats in real-time with security consoles, hospital employees can take the appropriate actions in an adequate amount of time. However, cameras should still mind the privacy of patients. As such, you should only set them up in public sections of the hospital.

Focus on Easy Mobility

Unlike typical buildings, a hospital’s design needs to accommodate emergencies. For example, medical professionals may need to transport patients who are in critical condition to a different part of the hospital quickly. That is why everything from stretchers to employee workstations should have mobile capabilities. This way, it is easy to move patients and important equipment in, out, and around the building safely. Hospitals may also benefit from various ramps and elevators to boost mobility.

Reduce Public Areas

Public areas are parts of the hospital where visitors waiting to see a patient or those waiting for treatment can gather. Common public areas include entrances, lobbies, waiting areas, shops, and more. A great way to improve hospital security is to reduce the number of public areas. By limiting these sectors, it becomes more difficult for unwanted people to enter the hospital. However, you should continue to notify individuals as to where these public areas are located and ensure they have the appropriate surveillance installed.

Only Allow Limited Visitors

While it may seem harsh to limit the number of visitors allowed in a patient’s room at one time, it is a necessary step toward safety. Visiting hours differ from each hospital, however, the majority of them only allow two people to visit a room at a time. Additionally, different wings of the hospital, such as the Intensive Care Unit, may have their own unique visiting policies. The hospital as a whole should closely monitor specific entry points to ensure that only those who you permit entry get in. Requiring identification is another way to ensure that the wrong person doesn’t enter the hospital.

Ensure a Strong Building Structure

Hospitals should be a sanctuary. As such, it’s imperative that builders used the correct materials during construction in order to withstand a number of incidents. Doors, walls, and glass should be bulletproof. A hospital building should also have a strong structure, so it can endure natural disasters.

Practice Emergency Drills

Those who work at a hospital should also perform safety exercises so everyone knows what to do when an emergency occurs. A Business News Daily study found that “40 percent of workers don't know if their employer has an emergency plan in place to deal with a physical attack from another person or a technology security breach.” All hospital employees should perform emergency drills covering every situation—from bad weather to violent outbreaks. In fact, many states require hospitals to confirm they have various drills in place. Perform these drills a few times every year to ensure everyone throughout the hospital is on the same page.

Determine Emergency Codes

A hospital should also have coded messages that signify specific emergencies. This is a quick and effective way to alert management, staff, and crew of a certain situation. For instance, you could say that “code silver” means active shooter, “code brown” means severe weather, and “code pink” means infant or child abduction. Be sure to put together a list of codes for all important safety situations that may occur in a hospital.

Create an Evacuation Floor Plan

A final precaution you can take is to create an evacuation floor plan. Hospitals are typically enormous buildings with many hallways and floors, which can make it difficult to get around. An emergency floor plan is a map that will show everyone where to find exits and what their primary options are. An emergency floor plan should also include symbols for every safety tool—from a phone to a fire ax. Be sure to feature important, helpful information and a legend on the emergency floor plan.

 

Hospital Security