This blog has turned into a great way to communicate what is affecting the industry, NSCA member Kourtney Govro sent me her blog on the season finale of the television show, “Grey’s Anatomy,” and how the ill-prepared hospital dealt with acts of terror. Based on the finale, Govro provides suggestions for an overall Mass Notification & Emergency Communications (MNEC) plan, including digital and IP-based security cameras, cooperative programs with local police departments and internal wireless phones. Read Kourtney’s blog entry below:
Normally, I would not blog about a television show, especially “Grey’s Anatomy.” Personal views aside, I was drawn to this year’s finale. A disturbed man entered the hospital with a gun and the facility went on lockdown. Doctors, nurses, visitors, and patients were held in terror for 2 hours as he made his way throughout Seattle Grace Hospital. No one was permitted in or out as the local police department determined the proper course of action. No one inside knew where the shootings were occurring, or what to do to protect themselves. The shooter made his way through the building killing and terrorizing all.
Hospitals will receive increased pressure from Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) to be prepared for these types of events. Seattle Grace (as depicted in the show) was horribly ill-prepared and it resulted in a number of dramatic losses and over-dramatic saves. It was as if the building had no internal security system. (They should partner up with the hospital on the TV show “24” – they were able to view cameras in the hospitals on a tablet PC. By the way, that’s not as difficult as it may sound.)
Here are just a few thoughts on “acts of terror” in a hospital. The security office should have access to view — both internally and remotely — all security cameras. They should have a cooperative program with the local police department. Providing access to the local police is not as challenging or space age as it may sound. Digital and IP-based cameras can be network-based or the video server can be leveraged. The security plan and threat assessment should determine how to notify staff of the location of the shooter. The mass notification should identify the following: What is occurring and what should the people do to be safe? Imagine if there were a series of cameras in the hospital that could identify where the shooter was and begin to strategically lock down areas within the hospital to keep him out. You can’t necessarily evacuate a hospital, but you could minimize casualties by limiting the shooter’s movements within the building.
Additionally, there were no internal communications occurring. The doctors had pagers, but there were no internal wireless phones. The saddest scene in the show was when Dr. Bailey dragged the dying young doctor to the elevators only to find they had been shut down. She has no ability to call for help – she had to sit and hold him as he died. She had a pager. If she had a wireless phone in this situation, she could have called a central command post. To take it a step further, if there were a central command post, they would have been able to see the entire situation unfold on a camera to dispatch a help team.
The show depicted what MNEC is all about. It’s sad that we live in an age where people find release in killing others, but casualty counts can be reduced if proper security people, process and technology are applied.
MNEC is really about choreographing movement based on the threat that is occurring. It’s about knowing who needs to get what information and how are we going to get it to them.
Check out Kourtney’s blog at: http://sphere3consulting.blogspot.com/