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UK Hospital Takes Steps to Increase Security

By Amanda White

 

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With the new system in place, public access to UK Hospital is directed to specific entrances that can be monitored by security staff. Also, security officers have the ability to lock down the hospital quickly during times of civil disobedience, terrorism or disaster.

 

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July 12, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky Hospital is implementing security technology that channels patients and visitors to public entrances and requires employees to use identification badges to enter secured areas.

New magnetic locks and card readers are part of a perimeter security system, designed to protect building occupants and hospital resources.

With the new system in place, public access to UK Hospital is directed to specific entrances that can be monitored by security staff.

Also, security officers have the ability to lock down the hospital quickly during times of civil disobedience, terrorism or disaster.

The hospital main lobby, Emergency Department and Veterans Affairs corridor will remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Entrances, such as the hospital north lobby and courtyard entrances, are locked after 7 p.m., as they always have been.

Other entrances' hours will vary based on usage of the area. Signs direct visitors, patients, and staff attempting to enter areas without card access to the hospital main lobby entrance.

Some doors, such as the south door to the hospital and the administrative entrance to Markey Cancer Center, are secured at all times.

At these entrances, staff is allowed access by waving the ID badge in front of the card reader. The technology allows security to monitor staff entering the hospital by name, area, date and time of day.

"If you don't have an ID badge, you'll have to use a public entrance," said Tomi Ross, UK Hospital safety officer. "But, you'll always be able to enter the building."

The hospital perimeter security system was planned long before Sept. 11, 2001. However, the terrorist events of that day demonstrate the need for public buildings to establish stronger security, Ross said.

Other enhanced security systems are planned. Places such as operating rooms, the clinical laboratory, and the Emergency Department need extra security measures.

"If you walk into an operating room, you compromise that area," Ross said. "And if you enter a laboratory you potentially put yourself and others in danger."

While the new system may create an inconvenience for employees who do not have their identification badge, the security it offers outweighs the hassle, Ross said.

"I really hope hospital patients, visitors and staff perceive this as a benefit," Ross said. "Because that's what it's meant to be."


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