No one wants to think about gun violence in hospitals, which are meant to be life-saving places of healing and medical care. But the plain fact of the matter is that hospitals are vulnerable to shooting incidents, perhaps more than ever right now, which is why hospital security systems need bulletproof glass.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) conduct an occasional survey called the Hospital Security Survey and publish the results in Health Facilities Management (HFM) Magazine. The last one was conducted in 2018, and before that was 2016. It’s understandable they haven’t done once since the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 global pandemic hit. After all, hospitals have been under unprecedented strain throughout the ordeal. It’s a shame, though, because the discussions happening in and around healthcare facilities right now do include a perceived rising threat of potential gun violence.
A Brief Review of Recent Data
The situation regarding the occurrence of violent incidents at hospitals was on the rise in the 2018 survey according to the 315 survey participants: “…57 percent of respondents reported an increase in violent incidents against staff in the ED, and 52 percent saw an increase outside the ED. In the 2016 survey, those numbers were 51 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Incidents of trespassing also rose in nearly half of the hospitals surveyed, up from 34 percent of hospitals in the 2016 survey.”
Hospitals have made decent progress in some aspects of their security systems. For example, “…every hospital surveyed this year either already have electronic-access control or plans to implement it in the next 24 months. The majority of hospitals also reported having video-surveillance systems, the ability to electronically lock down the hospital, and a panic alarm system.” But gaps remain: “…only 42 percent of hospitals reported having a visitor-management system, which requires each visitor to sign in, provide ID or be photographed, and wears a badge. This level of control can deter unauthorized visitors because they must deal with a security person face-to-face.”
For the most part, the violence that occurs in hospitals happens in or outside the emergency department, and it’s also true that most incidents involve upset family members and friends, but not always. In many US states, healthcare employees are physically assaulted more often than prison guards and police officers. In fact, rates of workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings are 5–12 times higher than overall workplace averages (source). Clearly, there is a greater need for hospitals to step up security systems to protect both healthcare professionals and patients receiving care.
Recent Hospital Shooting Incidents
Recent incidents of gun violence in and around hospitals have been alarming, including the following:
- November 2021: An elderly woman was carjacked at gunpoint outside St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, California.
- October 2021: An employee shot and killed a coworker inside Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- April 2021: A man died inside the emergency department of Mount Carmel St. Ann’s medical center in Westerville, Ohio after being shot by two Columbus police officers and a hospital security officer.
- March 2021: A husband shot his wife before killing himself inside a Houston medical facility.
- February 2021: A man used a handgun to shoot five people at the Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo Crossroads, Minnesota. One of the victims died.
The above, unfortunately, is just a sampling of recent shooting incidents that have occurred in hospitals and medical facilities. It’s worth keeping in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the US with the latest variant. The pandemic has healthcare professionals exhausted trying to keep up with too many patients amidst critical staffing shortages. Meanwhile, the pandemic also has everyone on edge as we get closer to entering year three of its continuing impact. Tensions are running high, and a growing number of discussions in the healthcare and medical community are centered on concerns that the pandemic itself is exacerbating the threat of gun violence in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Bulletproof Glass for Hospitals
Despite the conditions cited above, bullet-resistant barriers are only required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in large hospitals. The National Institute for occupational safety and health (NIOSH), however, recommends the installation of deep service counters, bullet-resistant or shatterproof enclosures in reception areas, triage, and nursing stations. When it’s time to put better protections in place for staff and patients at hospitals, Creative Industries is ready to help. We have a range of standard products but can also manufacture all manner of custom bulletproof glass barriers. Options include the following:
- Reception/Registration Counters: Counters can be outfitted with high acrylic panels above like you’ve no doubt seen in banks and can accommodate both pass-through and natural voice transmission. Our Bullet Resistant Teller Counter will give the basic idea of how these work, but we are happy to custom design the solution that’s right for your facility and fits the overall aesthetic you want as well.
- Accounting/Payments: The place where people go in the hospital to pay their bills is another good place to put bulletproof glass products such as one of our selection of bulletproof security windows.
- Nurse Stations: It’s time to enclose nurse stations throughout hospitals, but they can still retain an open look and feel by using custom manufactured bulletproof glass as a barrier to protect these critical healthcare workers.
- Pharmacy Windows: The pharmaceutical dispensary in a hospital involves passing sensitive items back and forth and can become a target for criminals. Creative Industries has a variety of pass-thrus, drawers, deal trays, and talk thrus, and they can be custom configured to meet specific security needs.
- Doors and Windows: Any door or window can be custom fabricated of bulletproof materials to bring added safety and security to any room or area in a hospital or clinic.
- Furniture: In the unfortunate case of an active shooter incident, employees will feel safer if they know they can duck under or behind a piece of furniture that’s bulletproof, whether it’s a desk, table, conference table, or cafeteria table. Creative industries have experience making bulletproof furniture for schools, and many of the same materials and methods can easily be applied to healthcare settings.
- Standard Products: We also have a range of standard products that may be incorporated into different areas of a hospital, so be sure to check out our selection of bulletproof windows.
Creative Industries: Your Partner for Protection Against Gun Violence
The experts at Creative Industries have been in the bulletproof glass and related products industry since the 1970s. As a family-owned and operated business, we take pride in getting to know our customers, learning as much as possible about their needs, and then putting together the kinds of standard or custom products that will meet those needs. Explore our website to learn more about our work, check out our portfolio, read our engaging blog articles, and when you’re ready to have a conversation about what Creative Industries can do for the safety and security of your company and its people, drop us a line through the Contact page of our website or call us directly 800-776-2068 and we’ll be happy to prepare a quote for you.