Hospital security: Systems in place to control access to sensitive places within JRMCSecurity for staff and patients is part of the design at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. Providing that security involves a lot of different systems, which range from simple parking-lot lights to high-tech systems that identify and track staff within the hospital.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Security for staff and patients is part of the design at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
Providing that security involves a lot of different systems, which range from simple parking-lot lights to high-tech systems that identify and track staff within the hospital.
“Security means a lot of things,” said Kevin Theurer, director of security at the hospital. “Lighting around the hospital provides secure areas, easily identifiable turns for emergencies provides security. Signs and lighting add to the security of everyone around the hospital.”
Parking lots around the hospital have emergency buttons that connect directly to the dispatch center of the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center.
Cameras and radio frequency badges — badges that provide a code number when passed in front of a security scanner — help provide a secure environment.
“We’ve added a lot in the building process,” Theurer said. “Everything has moved ahead in the past 40 years in security technology.”
Even something as basic as hall lights has been updated.
“We have a network lighting system,” he said. “We can dim the lights without making an area completely dark.”
The intent is to make JRMC secure while improving the staff productivity.
“The use of the RF badges and card readers is important,” said Bill Kennedy, JRMC marketing director. “Staff can move quickly without keys and the system keeps track of where they are at all times.”
When a member of JRMC’s staff holds a badge to the scanner next to a door, one of the three things could happen, Theurer said. The door can remain locked if the person does not have authorization for that area, the door can unlock allowing the person to push the door open or the door can automatically open allowing hands-free entrance.
“The system can be keyed so that a nurse or dietitian, someone likely to be pushing a cart or bed, triggers the door to open automatically,” Theurer said. “For someone like an admissions clerk, the door unlocks so they can open it.”
The computerized security system also keeps a log of all the doors employees pass through in the hospital.
A training period is planned to help staff adapt, but Theurer expects a few staff may walk straight into a locked door from time to time.
“There’s a big learning curve here,” he said. “Doors that have always been open may be closed now.”
A specialized security system in place for newborns at Jamestown Hospital is also being moved to JRMC.
“The Infant and Pediatric Protection system is in the hospital now,” Kennedy said. “Both the child and the mother have ankle or wrist bands that the system senses. If the child gets too far from the BirthPlace area or nursery, the system senses it and locks doors immediately.”
The system also integrates with other security systems such as the fire-detection system.
The security system is designed to work with the staff and frequent visitors.
“Frequent visitors such as clergy might get a badge,” Theurer said. “The standard family and friends that may visit someone in the hospital won’t need to get a badge.”
The system is designed to limit the casual hospital visitor to the patient areas.
“The physical design of the hospital makes it more conducive to security,” he said. “The public and patient areas and the staff areas are separated and access can be controlled.”
Other aspects of security have not been ignored.
“Every building has weaknesses,” Theurer said. “All the glass makes tornadoes a challenge. But the building is built into a hill, which serves as a shelter and we can move patients and staff out of the area with windows in severe weather.”
The building’s fire-suppression system is also upgraded from the previous hospital. The changes were required by changes in fire codes.
“From a utility standpoint we’ve worked closely with all the utility companies,” he said. “Two generators can provide electricity to a large portion of the building and we have multiple communication lines in case of an emergency.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com