Every facility providing healthcare or medical services of any kind faces an array of heightened security risks and vulnerabilities significantly higher than most industries. While these safety and security challenges are daunting, they all can and should be addressed. Given the sharp rise of gun violence in recent years throughout society, it is no surprise that one of the medical facility dangers taking center stage in the healthcare industry right now is the threat of shooting incidents in and around the places where services are provided.
What Qualifies as a Medical Facility?
In this article, we’re considering “medical facility” and “health facility” to mean the same thing, which is generally any location where healthcare is provided. This means a broad range of different types of sites face the heightened security and safety risks mentioned above, including the threat of gun violence. The list of facilities includes any location considered a hospital (including a military hospital), pharmacy (including a hospital pharmacy or a correctional facility pharmacy), psychiatric hospital, urgent care clinic, addiction treatment center, rehabilitation clinic, community mental health center, hospice, nursing home, psychiatric residential treatment center, clinical laboratory, or medical research facility. It’s a long list, but one we need to pay closer attention to for safety’s sake.
What are the Safety and Security Concerns at Medical Facilities?
Medical facility dangers run the gamut from physical security to cybersecurity, but our primary concern in this article is physical security.
Why are health facilities so much more likely to experience security challenges and incidents?
When you stop to think about it, it’s obvious. As one article from a security risk management article succinctly puts it: “Hospitals care for people suffering from addiction, patients with highly contagious diseases, victims of violence, patients suffering from mental health issues, and often face security incidents stemming from those conditions. Family disputes often occur in hospitals when a loved one is sick or injured” (source). A recent Time article also noted, “Data shows American health care workers now suffer more nonfatal injuries from workplace violence than workers in any other profession, including law enforcement” (source). This article, in particular, provides several recent examples of hospital shooting incidents.
One common thread that connects all the different kinds of medical facilities mentioned earlier is the presence of drugs. Places providing health care or pharmaceutical services hold prescription drugs that criminals want to get their hands on and might be willing to use a gun in the process. Adding in all the high-stress environmental features of people being sick, hurt, or in a mental health crisis, just about anything can happen, especially if a gun finds its way into the mix.
The Pharmaceutical Side of Medical Facility Dangers
While a pharmacy or drugstore is an obvious place where prescription drugs are stored and dispensed to patients, it’s worth noting how nearly any institutional setting that provides healthcare or medical services is going to have a pharmaceutical operation within it because so many diseases, illnesses, and conditions are treated with medications. Where there are controlled substances, criminals will attempt to steal them. Brandishing a firearm amid a robbery can help them succeed and could result in a shooting incident if the situation were to go sideways.
Prescription medications that are the most common targets of thieves to be sold as drugs on the black include the following: 1) Oxycontin, 2) Xanax, 3) Adderal, 4) Ritalin, 5) Vicodin, 6) Percocet, 7) Valium, 8) Ambien, 9) Promethazine/Codeine Syrup, and 10) Phenobarbital.
A surprising number of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are also targeted for theft because they can be used as ingredients to make other kinds of illicit drugs. OTC medications most often stolen include 1) Abreva, 2) Advil, 3) Aleve, 4) Alli weight loss pills, 5) Benadryl, 6) Diabetic testing strips, 7) e.p.t. pregnancy tests, 8) Lotrimin, 9) Matrix, 10) Nicorette, 11) Pepcid AC, 12) Prilosec, 13) Rogaine, 14) Sudafed, 15) Tylenol Extra Strength, 16) Visine, and 17) Zantac.
A medical or healthcare facility or pharmacy that keeps any of these drugs on hand must take extra protective measures to mitigate the threat of an armed attack and avoid the potentially deadly consequences of gun violence.
Bullet-Resistant Barriers for Medical Facilities by Creative Industries
Creative Industries can help provide a whole new level of safety and security to protect your operations, assets, and employees from your medical facility’s vulnerability to gun violence. The most common products we have manufactured for medical and healthcare facilities, including pharmacies and pharmaceutical operations within those facilities, are those that provide ballistic protection (bulletproof glass) while still facilitating transactions with customers and others to whom medications are being dispensed, including the following:
Exchange Window with Lazy Susan: This multi-function window (interior use only) accommodates both currency exchanges and larger item transactions while still maintaining security. It includes a double-lite window with a natural voice transmission inside an aluminum frame and with a stainless steel shelf. The deal tray is provided for currency transactions, while the Lazy Susan pass-thru handles larger items that won’t fit through the deal tray. Points of customization for this product include the choice of plastic laminate for the Lazy Susan shelf. Choice of bullet-resistant glazing to achieve the desired level of protection, frame finish (clear or dark bronze anodized aluminum), and overall size (36×36 inches is the standard size, but other sizes are available).
Exchange Window with Hinged Panel: This exchange window (aluminum frame) with natural voice transmission has a hinged panel that swings up for the transfer of larger items. The stainless-steel shelf with an integrated deal tray fits below the window. The size of the hinged panel is 15 inches wide and 6 inches high. A channel-shaped pull protects against tampering with the slide-bolt lock to secure the hinged panel when not in use. Note that the bulletproof material used here is not glass. Level I protection is provided with 1.25-inch acrylic, while Level III protection is provided with 1.25-inch Lexgard.
For an explanation of the levels of bullet-resistant protection, see our article, The Science Behind Bulletproof Glass.
Creative Industries: Your Trusted Partner for Peace of Mind
Protecting your pharmacy, medical facility, or healthcare site from the threat of gun violence has never been more important. A few well-placed bullet-resistant barriers can make all the difference in providing greater safety and security for a facility’s operations, assets, and employees. The result is greater peace of mind for both you and your employees.
Case Study: Large Pharmacy Chain Updates Bulletproof Windows
Creative Industries is a family-owned, family-operated business that has been in the bulletproof industry since the 1970s. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, we’ve provided bullet-resistant windows and other products to companies across the nation and spanning a diverse range of industries. We take the time to understand your business, its needs, and your budget before recommending the products to meet those needs. Suppose you’re looking for greater peace of mind on the safety and security front in this time of ever-growing threats of gun violence. In that case, we invite you to get in touch through the Contact Us page of our website or call us directly at 800-776-2068 to find out what Creative Industries can do for you.