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Opinion on Hospital Security....


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  • Opinion on Hospital Security....

    Hi Guys,

    I work hospitals security which includes 2 major facilities and 3 long term care facilities.

    On friday night, in one of our major facilities we had a patient who was on a Form #1 of the Mental Health Act of Canada bring a firearm onto the locked down unit of an adult inpatient psychiatry ward.

    The security officers on duty that night delt with the situation perfectly. A plan was established, police were called and the patient was taken into custody at gun point.

    This is not the only incident of firearms being brought into one of the hospitals and used in a threatening manner towards staff, patients and other visitors. As security being the first responder, a lot of the officers now are leary about the safety of our job, equipment wise.

    At this particular hospital where the incident took place, handcuffs are prohibited, bullet-proof/stab resistent vests are prohibited and basically we work with everyone from elderly, teens, to criminals serving sentences.

    Basically I'm writing to get your opinion on what you think about security officers wearing a vest while on a 12 hour shift. I would like thoughts regarding safety issues, expense, public perception, etc.

    If you would like the exact details of the event, PM and I'll be glad to send them off you to asap.

    Thanks in advance for all your opinions guys.

  • #2
    Originally posted by BWN View Post
    At this particular hospital where the incident took place, handcuffs are prohibited, bullet-proof/stab resistent vests are prohibited and basically we work with everyone from elderly, teens, to criminals serving sentences.
    First, sounds lilke you and your team did a great job, given the limits of what you have to work with on site.

    Now, may I ask, who or what prohibits the use of handcuffs and vests? The hospital or Canadian law?

    If it's Canadian law, you're stuck and I would endeavor to find another line of work. If it's the hospital, I think at contract renewal time, demand more money or more safety equipment to deal with the violence-prone clients. Chances are they'll get you safety equipment as that will cost them less than more $PH.
    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.


    • #3
      My personal opinion for security wearing a stab or bullet resistant vest during the course of work? Sounds resonable to me for you to have it available. They arn't comfortable, but they do help when needed.

      As long as a person isn't a convict, an addict, committing a crime, etc... I think you should have access to vests.


      • #4
        Keith M.:

        Thanks very much! luckily everyone came out still alive. With regards to the cuffs and vests. According to Hospital policy, we are unable to carry the cuffs or it could cost us our job. With regards to the vests, our patrol supervisors wear them but there has never been any talk of the actual guards in the hospitals wearing them on a day to day basis.

        There is no Canadian Law prohibiting either of these that I know of. I do beleive though that you cannot handcuff a patient in a hospital if they are there for medical care, but once this male brought the firearm on the floor I beleive that changed the entire situation. Correct me if I'm wrong.


        The people that we deal with on this particular ward range from elderly who cannot find an old age home, teens looking for attention, actual people who need psych help, and also criminals serving time for 2 years less a day (Summary offence).

        I would take the discomfort of wearing a vest to having my life the next day, anytime

        Thanks for the input guys.


        • #5
          Vests suck and are not meant for comfort...but with that being said, you won't catch me ever going on duty without one!!!

          Also, one of the hospitals here in the Phoenix valley has an outstanding security outfit there, equipped with a full K-9 squad. There is no way I'd work around psych patients without restraints and vests!
          "When I close my eyes.....I'll see you on the other side....!!!"

          Hate to put it this way skippy, buy every night I suit up and climb in the cruiser I'm at war. I'm always outnumbered, potentially out gunned and always behind enemy lines.


          • #6
            I used to work security at a hospital in the inner city of Kansas City, Mo. They provided us with body armor and handguns. No one working security should ever work without a vest. I started working security at a Kansas City mall when I was nineteen and I have always worn a vest. When a bad guy comes around a corner and sees a uniform, he thinks "cop".


            • #7
              Lots of guards wear armor where I live. I'd recommend it if you can swing it.


              • #8
                Thanks for all your input guys. I've been in the security feild now since I was 18, started in the bar scene and now moved into hospital security at 21 now.
                I'm looking at putting some sort of fact/research/points/etc together so I can present it to our admin and hopefully push this idea. As of right now, they are only allowing our patrol guys to wear them when doing money transfers.

                But being on a psych ward 14-16 days out of the month, definitly calls for it due to its high count on violent incidents. Mainly with sharpes.

                Would you guys recommend a built or stab resistant vest??


                • #9
                  How interesting that supervisors are considered at a higher risk than the guards! Are they afraid of the employees?

                  All hospitals are like small cities, except it's not just the psych ward. The ER has all kinds of violent people come in, some as victims, some as patients, and some wanting to finish the job they started on the street. And once they leave the ER, what makes the administration think everything is wonderful? The abusive husband/wife may continue in a ward, even a med-surgical ward.
                  Plus, everyone on the staff, including the Doctors and Nurses, have their own problems (think workplace violence), and access to drugs. Drug addiction among health care workers is quite high. Think they will care that you are unarmed with no vest when you catch them stealing drugs?

                  I would start a memo up the 'food chain', citing the above (see if you can find some statistics, perhaps from the police unit that covers crimes at the hospital). Direct to risk management, and use the phrase:
                  "employees are being subject to conditions hazardous to their health, without being provided proper and adequate safety equipment."

                  In turn, suggest that the vests will be worn under your uniform shirts, and the cuffs will be concealed unless needed.
                  Best of luck.
                  "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                  John Stuart Mill


                  • #10
                    In a pysche ward, stab resistant would be best but you can actually buy armor now that will stop both stabbing weapons and handgun rounds.


                    • #11
                      FWIW, most of our "Hospital Security" around here are private firms and I've recognized several that used to be ex-inmates from working in corrections.

                      I don't feel real safe with hospital security around here, thank god they are not armed. (Probably because they can't pass the firearms NCIC background)

                      Note: this is not my thinking of all Hospital Security as I have met some very professional types at the VA Hospital and Temple Hospital in Philly.



                      • #12
                        One of the things I would focus on is, exactly what are their objections to you wearing the vest? It is not a weapon. Traditionally it is worn concealed, under your clothing where it is not seen, therefore, no one can claim that they are offended by seeing you wear it.

                        With this in mind, why would the hospital object to you utilizing a passive safety device that only protects you, harms no one and is concealed under your clothing where no one can see it?
                        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Munlaw
                          Most larger hospitals with mental health wards here in Ontario have professional in-security, if you have a criminal record, save a minor summary (misdemeanor) offence in one's youth, you aren't getting in; Hospital in-house security usually pay in the $17-$25 an hour range...

                          Amendments to the law which regulates private security, in-house security and bouncers will make it almost impossible to get a security guard license in Ontario if one has a criminal record...

                          Too many liberals in Canada that think the site of a vest will "scare people", even if worn under the shirt...

                          BWN, you should file a workplace safety complaint with the Ministry of Labour...
                          I would definately look into filing a complaint. I work for a hospital police agency and all uniformed officers are mandated to wear vests. Of course it's not enforced.. but I think the ones who don't wear them are nuts. You never know when you'll need it.


                          • #14
                            In NYC, the HHC(Health and Hospital Corp), which is basically the "CITY" hospitals, they have Hospital Police. About 7-8 years ago, they did a pilot program to be armed with firearms but a doctor or some employee complained and said that if a shot was fired, the risk of that bullet hitting a Oxegen supply line is great and everyone would blow up.

                            They are unarmed with full arrest powers and I have seen what they deal with, some of it is not pretty. Especially watching them try to process a prisoner with AIDS or Hepp at the precinct.

                            Captain Square Badge, reporting for duty!.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Munlaw
                              Too many liberals in Canada that think the site of a vest will "scare people", even if worn under the shirt...
                              The next time he meets with hospital administrators regarding this, he should wear a vest concealed under his shirt with a t-shirt over it. When its over, he can ask them how much he frightened them during the meeting. When they say they were not frightened and ask what he meant, he can explain that he was wearing a vest during the entire meeting. If they were not frightened by something they could not see, wearing one the same way on duty should not frighten the public. He will have made his point.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


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