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On June 1, a gunman carrying a rifle and a handgun walked into a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma and killed four people, and then himself. The gunman appears to have had unrestricted access to the facility – the Natalie Medical Building – according to multiple news outlets. While details for the shooting are still uncertain, the horrific event again illustrates the constant challenge of security at health care facilities. Security at health care facilities is one of the more multi-faceted and nuanced issues facility managers may face.
A recent FacilitiesNet.com article details the careful balancing of act of access control, security, collecting occupant and visitor data, and still making it easy and inviting to enter a facility. Many health care facilities are upgrading access control systems, as well as security cameras. A hospital in Wyoming – the Wyoming Medical Center that had an active shooter event in 2019 -- immediately spent money on upgrades to security cameras and access control devices.
Adding security officers is another strategy, though with an added expense. Some healthcare facilities also partner with local law enforcement to patrol and secure facilities, though in recent years some healthcare organizations have chosen to reduce the number of sheriff’s deputies that guard facilities.
Of course, there is no easy answer. Facility managers in healthcare facilities need to perform a detailed threat and risk assessment to determine vulnerabilities, and then start building solutions.
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