Weapons in Healthcare: A Closer Look at the Tools of Violence

As incidence of violence in healthcare environments continue to rise, an emergence of focus on weapons detection systems (as the terminology is taking hold) is front and center in discussions among hospital administrator and security directors alike.  While weapons detection systems have existed for decades in the form of metal detectors – metal detectors purpose has always been to snuff out weapons, not benign objects – the emphasis is growing with more pronounced attacks on healthcare workers.

In this infographic, we layout the case for first considering what constitutes a weapon from a hospital point of view.

What is considered a weapon?

Hospitals must identify the most threatening items to their facilities before starting a decision on weapons detection systems.  While guns are a common concern, knives, box cutters, and blunt objects are often used as weapons in attacks against staff.  A study if a large urban healthcare system found that bladed instruments were the most frequently confiscated weapons.  With all weapons detection systems not created equal, your definition of a weapon and the utility in being able to detect these defined weapons is of utmost importance.

1. C. Smalley, M. O’Neil, R. Engineer, E. Simon, G. Snow, S. Podolsky. Dangerous weapons confiscated after implementation of routine screening across a healthcare system Am. J. Emerg. Med., 36 (2017), pp. 1497-1520

Protecting Your Staff And Patients

Creating a best-in-class secure environment, including protection from weapons threats, starts with the this important first question – what do you define as a weapon and what do you want to keep out?  Engaging with the people most exposed and susceptible to injury from the use of a weapon will tell you a lot of what you need to know, and go a long way in creating a safer environment for people to thrive.

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