Critical hospital security
Critical hospital security

Jan 1, 1997 12:00 PM

CCTV, access control highlight systems at Saint Francis Developing effective security systems and procedures is particularly challenging for hospitals, which store pharmaceuticals and expensive, elaborate equipment, and which admit visitors from all walks of life at all hours. Lucette Dunlop, director of security for Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and its affiliates - The Rehabilitation Hospital of Connecticut and the Mount Sinai campus - in Hartford, Conn., recognizes the impact of an urban setting on hospital security. "When I first came on board in 1990, there were virtually no security systems in place," she says. "Times were changing, and much more control was needed."

At Saint Francis, Dunlop implemented an integrated security system that includes everything from CCTV and motion detectors to an access control system integrated with an infant tag system. She called on Strategic Security of New Haven, Conn., to install a CCTV system that would use wireless technology to receive video signal from the Mount Sinai campus, and MATRIX Systems to install a fully integrated access control system.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center today has 617 adult acute licensed beds, 37 newborn bassinets and 28 neonatal intensive care bassinets. With more than 3,000 employees and 654 active physicians/dentists on staff, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital of the University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. It also includes an education and research center, a school of nursing, and a tertiary care center where heart, neurological and other advanced surgery is performed. There is also a modern cancer center on campus. One of four Level I Trauma Centers in Connecticut, Saint Francis is also a major receiving hospital of Life Star helicopters.

The CCTV system uses Burle cameras with both fixed and pan/tilt zoom lenses using Pelco equipment. Cameras inside the buildings - 105 cameras in all - watch areas such as the maternity floor, an ATM machine, a gift shop and certain hallways. Visonic passive infrared detectors are used in the medical records department, the credit union office, the telecommunications office, clinics and in other areas uninhabited after office hours. The human resources hallway, employee entrances and parking lot entrances are watched by motion detectors and CCTV cameas.

"One of my first accomplishments when I took over this post was to decrease the number of public entrances from 69 to two," says Dunlop. A MATRIX card access control system is used at all exterior entrances except main public entrances staffed by officers and receptionists. All entrances with access control readers are monitored by CCTV cameras. Outside cameras monitor all parking areas. The MATRIX system also interfaces with the Honeywell fire system and with a Sensormatic infant tag system that uses monitor stations throughout the maternity area to protect newborns. If an unauthorized attempt to remove a child from the maternity floor is made, an alarm sounds on the floor and in the control room. The MATRIX system electronically locks the doors, sealing off the area so no one can leave or enter, and an alarm input board brings the CCTV camera at the door to full screen.

All security functions for both campuses are monitored in a security control center at Saint Francis. Equipment in the control room includes Burle and Sanyo monitors, American Dynamics quad splitters, Robot multiplexers, Sanyo VCRs and a 9500 series Pelco CCTV control system. Also housed in the control room is a MATRIX access work station that records and prints all incidents that occur throughout the hospitals. Other equipment includes Sensormatic infant tag control panels, a Dictaphone audio recorder that records all phone and two-way radio conversations, and a Nortel phone system used by visitors and hospital staff to contact the security department. Nortel phones are located near every card reader. Three officers staff the control room 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lucette Dunlop has a wealth of experience in the security industry. She has been manager of worldwide security operations for Prime Computer of Natick, Mass., president and partner of Monitor Security Corp. of Hartford and acting director and manager of security for Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. of Bloomfield, Conn., which has merged with INA to form CIGNA. She also worked as an investigator for Travelers Insurance of Hartford and as assistant to the director of security and chief of detectives at Garfinckel's, a major department store in Washington, D.C.

Dunlop says officer training at the hospitals in Hartford is extensive: "Basic training is given at the contract company - First Security Services Corp. of Boston - which has a district office in Hartford. Once the officers arrive at the hospital, our training supervisor gives them 16 hours of on-site post training, as well as detainment technique training, customer service and diversity awareness, along with OSHA and JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) training that consists of back safety, fire safety, electrical safety, infection control and hospital policies and procedures. Roll-call training is also provided that addresses single topics in short, hard-hitting statements. It is used as a refresher on previously learned procedures to help ensure the officers know their job responsibilities and know how to provide high-quality service to patients and visitors."The security staff includes 135 contract officers and administrative personnel.

A recent incident handled by security staff involved a shopping cart filled with stolen hospital goods. According to Dunlop: "A camera in the security control room picked up a person successfully maneuvering a cart through one of our Perry turnstiles. Officers were immediately sent to the scene, and the individual was apprehended and turned over to local authorities. The cart had well over $1,000 worth of construction tools in it. The perpetrator originally got into the hospital as a visitor, obtained a visitor's pass, and actually visited a patient. On his way out, he just decided to help himself to an unattended construction worker's set of tools."

Dunlop says the security department has also helped community businesses apprehend criminals: Another recent incident involved a burglary of a business near the hospital. One of our security officers on an exterior post noticed two individuals carrying a box between them. One of the individuals was riding a bike. This didn't look right to the officer, so he approached them only to find they had stolen valuable audio/visual equipment from the business. One of the individuals fled on foot, but the other was apprehended and held until the police arrived.

Closeup on the CCTV system Video signals from all locations of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and its affiliates converge in the control room at Saint Francis. One of the monitored buildings - the Patient Care Tower - is so big that a third of the control room has been dedicated to it. Here are some details of the system:

* At Mount Sinai campus, 30 cameras go into a Pelco CM9502 video matrix, looping out into two Robot MV16i's and recorded locally on Sanyo SRT500s. They then loop into four Robot MV16i's (nine cameras on each with spare room). The encoded output from the four MV16i's and the CM9502 call-up monitor output are sent to the roof on RG6 and connected to five wireless technology transmitter units, combined to use only two antennas.

* A remote desktop pan/tilt/zoom lens control was installed at Mount Sinai for the site security manager. The video is sent to Saint Francis where it is monitored and controlled.

* At Saint Francis, five receiving units (two antennas) are installed on the roof with RG6 installed to the security office. These five signals terminate in security where they are monitored.

* Four multiplexers enable any camera to be viewed real-time, full-screen on one monitor. Sixteen-inch monitors enable viewing of nine cameras each, and the multiplexer decodes the video and provides the option to view a camera in full-screen, quad, 3x3, or 4x4. The maximum number of cameras is 64.

* The call-up monitor of the CM9502 is viewed on a 13-inch monitor, and there is a keyboard on the receiving side connected to the CM9502 on the transmitting side by an RS422 link. This is done using a dedicated phone line and two modems.

* Fiber-optic and coax cable deliver the Coaxitron video signals to security control.

* All cameras are recorded using Robot multiplexers and Sanyo 24-hour real-time VCRs.

* Each of the three parts of the security center console has a dedicated 13-inch call-up monitor and Pelco keyboard for individual camera viewing and PTZ control. Three keyboards are connected to the CM9502 - including one for the Patient Care Tower cameras and one for the main hospital cameras (these are partitioned).

* The security director has a desktop keyboard and a 13-inch monitor, giving her total control of the cameras.

* Two Digi-Spec DS-16C Digital Motion Detection units are used on 32 cameras.

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