Providing security and life safety in a hospital or healthcare facility environment is unique. Decisions are based on occupancy and regulatory code compliance, budget constraints, litigation, politics, labor contracts and other ancillary issues.

 

The security executive ensures the safety of all occupants, and in concert with that task, he or she ensures the uninterrupted functionality of all security and life safety systems. In addition to having knowledge and experience with state-of-the-art electronic security systems, the security executive must manage the training and deployment of security personnel to maintain safety in what can best be described as a war-like approach to occupant safety while maintaining a friendly, receptive environment.

 

The executive’s ability to delineate priorities in a healthcare security setting, along with the strength to communicate professional view-points to administrators, facility managers and security staff members, is critical to ensure the safety of patients, staff members and visi-tors.

Healthcare security executives have a wide knowledge of electronic security and life safety systems and regulatory codes that are critical to maintaining the safety of everyone in the healthcare setting. The security executive should be well-versed in video surveillance, camera placement, video data storage and central station monitoring systems. Compliance with the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Codes must be an integral component of any life safety security program. The ability to integrate the security and the fire safety systems into a seamless, comprehensive life safety security program is a necessary step to ensuring healthcare facility safety and security. He or she must support a menu of security issues, including the security and safety of infants, operating rooms, emergency rooms, visitor access control, waiting areas, restricted staff areas, pharmacies, security of organs for transplant and a host of other security-related issues. Coupled with electronic monitoring of smoke detection and fire suppression systems in a healthcare setting, it is an enormous challenge. The ability of the security executive to coordinate and work closely with the hospital administrators, medical staff, facility engineers, public safety offi-cials, security systems integrators and contractors in day-to-day operations becomes critical to ensuring safety.

COLLINS—a public safety and terrorism expert with experience in law enforcement, fire safety and high-rise safety management—is the director of Corporate Hi-Rise, Institutions and Private Client Solutions at ADSI and is New York City’s former police director for the Department of Environmental Protection.