Hospitals face unique challenges with regard to the detection of lethal weapons at their ER entrances, and within their public spaces for several reasons. The first challenge is the volume of people, and the long hours. Patients, staff, and visitors enter hospital buildings at all hours of the day and night, so security must also function 24/7.
Second, hospitals are centers for care, and sometimes time is of the essence. In a medical emergency, a delay in care can mean life or death. The clinical staff must move quickly with patient care and sometimes cannot wait for other security personnel to do physical checks. The security staff need to be at the perimeter and move while doing the check.
The fourth unique challenge in healthcare is the high emotional component of one's physical health, which then is also compounded sometimes by the already complex family or friend relationship. In urgent health situations, emotions sometimes run dangerously high.
The fifth challenge is the unique challenge of delivering care to the perpetrators of crimes. Athena has already witnessed this year criminals, who have been wounded in gang related offenses, and are brought to the Emergency Room for care, at the same time as their victims. Sometimes other family or friends, who might be gang members or accomplices, also arrive as visitors. Hospitals are active places and the clinical staff are mainly focused on patient care, and security is there to protect the staff, patients, and other guests. Also in this category of challenge is when prisoners come for care with security escort.
All healthcare organizations that we wok with have physical security risk assessments that lay out security plans. In order to keep everyone safe within healthcare facilities, administrators devote considerable time and resources to these risk assessment and management through complex security operational challenges that may include armed officers, metal detection, closed-circuit cameras, access control, visitor management systems, and more. Entrances that require hand wanding, legacy walk-through metal detectors, or other searches for weapons can slow down the pass-through of people desperate to gain entry: A new dad rushing to be there for the birth of his child, a daughter desperate to see her mom one last time. These people cannot wait in slow security lines at entryways. Hospital administrators must be sensitive to their needs and often feel forced to compromise between the need for careful security and the needs of the people visiting and working in their facilities. Tasked with mitigating risk and keeping overhead low, these administrators must factor costs vs. return-on-investment in every choice they make.
Those compromises create risk. Technology changes, upgrades must be made, salaries and other payroll expenses continue to rise. Effectiveness must compete with the rising bottom line of every choice.
A leading-edge weapons detection system that can provide instant, accurate, real-time information to security and law enforcement represents a significant investment for hospital administrators. An accurate cost-benefit-analysis must demonstrate to board members and administrators that such an expense is justified. What follows is a brief comparison between the typical status-quo of hospital security and the Athena Weapons Detection System:
Legacy Metal detectors:
Legacy metal detectors have one job. They detect metal on people who pass through. They detect zippers, belt buckles, keys, and phones. In order to pass through without setting off an alarm, people typically have to divest themselves of all metal, drop it in a basket, walk through, and hope they haven’t forgotten anything. If the detector beeps anyway, an intrusive, time-consuming secondary screening via pat-down or a wand-over will be required before they are allowed to pass. One person with a metal shoulder replacement on the way to see his doctor can create a jam that delays doctors, visitors, and staff.
The Athena Weapons Detection System identifies weapons – including concealed weapons - and conveys that information to assigned personnel who can respond by taking the armed person aside. Their system is recognized as the only metal detection system that meets the standard recommended by the National Institute of Justice with real time alerts. People pass through, often without realizing they have done so. Traffic is directed from the entrance through the system and into the building quickly and safely.
Creating a Safe Environment
The presence of security officers does create a sense of safety and comfort in a public space. People know that someone is watching and will protect them if there is a threat. The presence of five or six security officers patrolling around a building can have the opposite effect. Visitors and even staff wonder if there is something dangerous happening. Moreover, each security officer must be paid a salary as well as all other associated payroll costs. These costs can easily spiral into the hundreds of thousands each year.
Because Athena’s Weapons Detection System is a workforce multiplier, administrators can confidently lower annual security staff costs while enhancing the accuracy and effectiveness of their team. The system is completely unobtrusive and may not even be noticed by visitors. But it is always working, always keeping people safe. A set-aside, “man-trap” area can remain virtually unnoticed so that visitors may not even notice when a person carrying a weapon is quietly pulled aside by security personnel.
Athena’s Weapons Detection System can be configured by the user to be virtually unnoticeable or covered with brightly colored sleeves on the pillars that function as a deterrent to would-be bad actors.
The system is light and very portable. It can be set up as a permanent installation at hard entrances and/or as a temporary entryway at pop-up locations for special events.
Times have changed. The threat to healthcare facilities is demonstrably real, and administrators must deploy the most effective systems available to keep patients, staff, and visitors safe at all times. Athena-Security Weapons Detection System provides solutions to those emerging challenges with leading-edge technology, security system interface, and work-force enhancement. Contact us for a free online demonstration