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Hospitals Security Upgrade Essay


Insecurity continues to grow becoming more complex, especially in the last ten years. In the near past, security was just an addendum in most facility designs except in special settings. In today’s world, however, security is a vital concern for designers, managers, and occupiers of any facility. Thus, security systems need to be constantly upgraded and given prominent position in all facilities. Further, facilities that were previously considered as safe and not likely targets for terrorist or criminal actions are now favorite targets.

Therefore, this paper gives a guideline to be followed by hospital management to upgrade security in the facility. Hospital facilities are among those premises that were initially perceived relatively safe from terrorist and criminal activities. However, with the dynamism in global terrorism and criminal activities, hospitals are rather soft targets. Hospitals have a high population of vulnerable people who can be manipulated or attacked by terrorists. Further, hospitals are stocked with valuable medicines and equipment that could be targeted by burglars.

Precisely, this paper looks on what can be done to barriers, site hardening, access control, lighting, intrusion detection system, CCT, patrol and alarms to upgrade security. The amalgamation of these facilities generates constructive interaction effect that will highly increase the hospital security (Tseloni, Thompson, Grove, Tilley, & Farrell, 2014). Therefore, to upgrade security, each of them will need to be upgraded and synchronized to work in harmony with the others.

Access control

The facility has a continuous flow of patients, visitors, hospital staff, and the public. Additionally, urgency and emergencies associated with admission could create security loopholes. As such, access control will be highly prioritized and receive serious consideration.

Rigorous documentation and screening of people at the entrances and egress are crucial. Further, all the entry points for employees and deliveries will be secured through proximity card readers and video cameras. The staff, therefore, will be required to carry access control cards with precise information of their profile, including job description, duties, and ranks. The cards will be engineered to allow hierarchical access privileges. Additionally, the cards will be electronically configured to allow continued but regulated alteration as the staffs get hierarchical mobility.

Perilous areas such as the surgery rooms, entrances to patients’ wards, elevators, staircases, will be fitted with CCTV cameras, which will be monitored all the time. Additionally, elevators and entrances will have card readers that will be activated during non-visiting hours. Only the closest kin to patients, with visitors’ verified badges, will be allowed to gain access to the facility. Further, only authorized personnel with special access cards will gain access to supplies rooms, including pharmacies, drugs, and equipment rooms.

Data centers such as EHR rooms require more strict access due to their advanced risky status (Bhartiya, Mehrotra, & Girdhar, 2015). Thus, in addition to card swipes, the security upgrade process will fit data rooms with iris biometrics scanners. Moreover, the upgrade will install Hierarchical Similarity Analyzer (HSA) inside data control centers to regulate each operator’s access to data according to their security level attributes.


Barriers are the outermost level of security, and they obviate or delay terrorist or criminal attacks. The hospital facility will reinforce the already existing barriers by modification while adding more barriers. Some of the physical barriers to be modified and used to improve security include, fence, vehicle barriers, doors, windows, and grills.


At the rear part of the facility, elevated fencing will act as a deterrent for intrusion by unauthorized persons. The fencing will be capped with live electric wires reinforced with metal spikes. Further, hidden, and visible CCTV camera will be strategically placed to allow the security personnel to have a complete view of the entire fence.

Vehicle barriers and Bollards

Currently, most burglars and terrorist are aware of the technology-based security systems such as CCTV and, therefore, they are exploiting other loopholes. For instance, incidences of burglars speeding right through the fronts of facilities, masking their faces, using gloves to conceal their fingerprints, carrying out robbery and hastily leaving before security is beefed up are on the rise.

To regulate the movement of people and vehicles, the facility will be equipped with vehicle barriers and bollards. All vehicles will be thoroughly searched using metal detectors. Additionally, armed security personnel will physically operate the space between parking and the facility.

Lockable and grilled doors and windows

Alarm locks and grills will deter unauthorized entrance to any of the facility rooms that need authorized entering.

Manholes, tunnels, emergency exits, and roof openings

The use of common entrances is riskier for burglars and terrorist due to the beefed up security at many facilities entrances. Consequently, burglars and terrorists resolve to the use of not so obvious entrances such as manholes, tunnels, rear and emergency exits, and roof openings. The facility will employ appropriate barriers for each of these routes.

Emergency egress will be locked (the key will be readily available at the time of need) and controlled to prevent unauthorized entry and exit. Further, the facility will use delayed egress hardware designed to lock and ring for some minutes before opening.

Additionally, the upgrade will install sound and movement detectors to check on unnecessary movement in all manholes and tunnels connected with the facility. Tunnel ends connecting the facility to the exterior will also be physically manned to deter any entrance.

Site hardening

Hospitals are civilian-centric places that may not be sufficiently fortified. Therefore, the facilities are vulnerable and unprotected relative to other places (hard targets) with enough resources to prioritize security. As such, hospitals become potential targets for terrorists and theft of drugs and other property. Some of the aspects that heighten the level of susceptibility include the fact that hospitals are open to all people in the society. Additionally, emergency rooms are extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks while loading docks are vulnerable to theft and misuse of ambulances. To avert the occurrences of these incidences, hardening is therefore vital.

The management will be greatly involved in the site hardening process. The upgrade in site hardening will include investment in preparedness, educating stakeholders on security, harmonizing security activities, striking a balance between routine activities and alertness, unemotional data-driven ways of security analysis, accurate and honest assess vulnerabilities and making use of human security supplemented by technology.

Notably, the use of insiders to breach security is common in many facilities due to the heightened site hardening (Roberts, 2012). Insiders such as radicalized terrorists are extremely dangerous since trust is bestowed on them. Therefore, the facility management will factor in the vulnerability to spies and insiders. The upgrade will employ techniques such as thorough pre-employment screening, use of polygraphs, and continuously disrupting suspected insiders putting them off balance.


Security risk assessment results have shown that a significant percentage of security related threats and crimes take place in public areas of the hospital, including entrances and parking lots (Meyer, 2014). On this note, the security upgrade for lighting will target specific areas such as all entrances, canopies, halls, waiting bays, and lift cars and halls. In addition, lighting will also cover reception and enquiry desks, common corridors, stairs, hospital streets, dining halls and cafeteria. In addition, the lighting upgrade will also include washrooms, shower rooms, ward areas, corridors, changing rooms, and toilets.

The lighting upgrade also aims for exterior lighting system. Places such as roadway, signs, and car parking lot, pedestrian pathways and even landing pads for helicopters will be considered for further upgrade. Lighting will be strategically installed in these areas to make more difficult for any forms of security threats to go undetected (Painter & Farrington, 1999). Besides, the hospital will use LED-based lighting products to ensure that accurate information can be collected, including colour, vehicle licence plate numbers and other details of visitors.

Given the massive security upgrade for lighting, it would be imperative to consider lighting control systems. Along the LED- based lighting, the hospital will install lighting control system to optimize energy saving, meet some building code requirements, good design practices, and meet some standards for green building. This security upgrade for lighting will be implemented under Smart Lighting.

The facility lighting will ultimately be upgrade to improve and add lighting while enhancing facility surveillance and deter crime rather than to facilitate response.

Intrusion Detection System

Given the rising cases of greatest security risks in facing patients, employees, visitors, and vendors, as well as areas such as infant units, paediatric units, pharmacy, and psychiatric Units identified as high risk for crime, an intrusion detection system is necessary for security upgrade for the hospital. Previously, the facility had relied on less sophisticated intrusion detection system for security threat alerts.

Generally, the intrusion detection system entails installation of door and window contacts, glass contacts, and/or motion sensors alongside other installed audible sound alarms that go off when a forced entry is detected. Intrusion detection sends an alert to the relevant security installations, including security guards and police. It is expected that security team responds physically to assess the detected intrusion.

The intrusion detection will be effective for detecting a situation and fast responding physically to the scene. However, the limitation of the previous simple intrusion detection could lead to false alarm. It also identified for low rates of prevention. It is influenced with the closeness of the responding security personnel.

The upgraded security features for the intrusion detection would include systems that can clearly capture details of the event, facilitate immediate response and identify intruders. This approach is most likely to lessen cases of similar incident at the hospital. In this case, all possible points of contacts, including doors and windows will be used to collect information that is more useful for the integrated system that can facilitate response.

Therefore, the new security upgrade will have cameras installed on motion detectors. All analog cameras must be transformed to digital Internet-protocol (IP) cameras. This alternative would facilitate simple access. The security personnel will have improved capabilities to capture, view, and store and evaluate stored video information.

Any computers with installed features will bring up the preferred camera to improve monitoring and simplify operations at the central location.

CCTV to IP Cameras

The hospital has initially relied on CCTV installations to offer visual deterrent and protection. As such, it could monitor all visitors. However, the shortcomings of CCTV have been exposed by the rise of digital technologies seen in IP camera alternatives. Consequently, the security upgrade would result in the replacement of analog CCTV with IP security cameras. The change to digital cameras reflects the new approach to upgrading existing security installations in the hospital.

The digital IP cameras are preferred because they are cost-effective and offer enhanced security monitoring and identification capabilities (Popovic, Arsic, Jaksic, Gara, & Petrovic, 2013). In addition, security personnel would have increased remote accessibility and view security videos on the Internet. The IP security installations would ensure scalable solutions for future improvements installed on modern, standard equipment to allow for integration with other installations such as motion detectors, remote accessibility and real time surveillance. Further, digital cameras would be integrated with other security installations such as access control and any facility management systems.

A video-encoder would be used to integrate analog CCTV with the new surveillance system. The advantages of upgrading the security system to digital include the following. First, the system would run on open technology platform with specific standards and off-the-shelf gadgets. Second, the available hospital network would be used rather than new installations. Third, IP cameras are simple to integrate and install. Fourth, the system will provide recording, playback and search features while maintaining high quality images captured with megapixel capabilities and enhanced precision and compression. The security personnel would also benefit from audio and video captured during an event.

A central operations centre would be installed to ensure that security personnel have directly links with key areas with improved responsibility to monitor and secure such areas. In addition, they would also facilitate responses to inquiries to proper staff.

To revamp the security system, the hospital will integrate LED lighting with the IP cameras so that when any movement is noted, the lights will automatically turn on and make the intruder to look at the source where the camera is located. Security officers will get immediate alerts and connect through the IP to monitor real time data sent. They can talk via the camera to deter such threats. This approach is an active means of deterring security risks and intruders.

A more robust installation may include talkphone call boxes and high definition video surveillance. This option will be necessary to cut costs associated with more security patrol guards, which can be cost prohibitive. Thus, the facility would optimize audio capabilities of new installations and use public address system in public areas directed from a central control centre to secure the hospital remotely.


It is observed that visibility is vital in crime deterrent. The patrol officers at the hospital would improve patients, employees, and hospital safety while reducing possible cases of theft and vandalism on the facility.

The hospital would only have sufficient number of patrol guards. Patrols would offer unique chances for hospital security personnel interact, observe activities and monitor movements and situations in person. They would be physically present to respond to any security threats identified. The hospital would also have enough officers on foot patrols to cover specific designated areas.

The patrol will ensure that officers can observe and monitor conditions within and around the hospital, public areas and other private places. Security officers would be responsible for assessing all doors and windows to ensure that they are secure and safe while recording any security and safety breaches.

Foot patrols are considered vital for the hospital to maximize physical interaction between security personnel, patients, employees and visitors. These reasons have led to specific interest in patrols to improve security at the hospital.

Besides, the patrol personnel can use video information to provide real time account of situations, individuals, intruders, and vehicles among others to law enforcement dispatchers.

In short, patrols would deter vandalism, trespassing, and possible theft at the hospital. It will ensure that the hospital has a professional team that can immediately respond to alerts and emergency events and notify nearby law enforcement officers if required. Security personnel on patrol shall also provide safety of the facility and watch for emergency fires while ensuring a safer facility for all. Both random and scheduled patrols would deter safety violations. Further, they would also be responsible for physical assessment of facilities, including problems with installations such as water, electricity, and special areas. They can physical conduct foot patrols on parking lots, hospital streets and other interior and exterior parts of the hospital.


The hospital currently has basic alarm set up to detect unauthorized access. These alarms can be found in sensitive locations, and they are manually controlled. It is noted that an alarm system with a bell box visible enough can deter intruders.

The upgraded alarm security would have the following features.

  • Smoke and fire detectors would ensure the best early alerts for smoke and fire to improve security and protection. The system would automatically trigger the alarm when smoke is detected.
  • Carbon monoxide detector will detect high concentrations of carbon monoxide within the facility, especially in kitchen and signal the station to alert security officers.
  • Additional motion sensors with ability to detect motions but differentiate between rodents and human intruders will be installed for additional protection.
  • Security will be further enhanced with panic sensors in high-risk areas of the hospital. They would be on a 24-hour emergency mode for immediate reaction.
  • The alarm siren would deter possible intruders when triggered.
  • The alarm will also have security system keypads to provide opportunities for security officers to press buttons for immediate help.


Security of any facility remains a critical factor for consideration as cases of violent crimes increase. Hence, security upgrade in the hospital is necessary to protect property, patients, staff, visitors and patients’ information. The key to improving security in the hospital is to create a central operations centre for all security installations, including access Control, lighting, intrusion detection system, CCT, alarms and controlled patrols. In addition, barriers and site hardening will enhance physical security. Consequently, the hospital will have an upgraded security installation to ensure revamped control within and outside the facility.

It is imperative to note that before any security upgrade is conducted, risk assessment must be done to ascertain areas with greater needs. As such, security upgrade would be useful for the above-mentioned areas.


Bhartiya, S., Mehrotra, D., & Girdhar, A. (2015). Proposing hierarchy-similarity based access control framework: A multilevel Electronic Health Record data sharing approach for interoperable environment. Journal of King Saud University – Computer and Information Sciences, (2015), 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jksuci.2015.08.005.

Meyer, C. (2014). . Security Magazine. Web.

Painter, K., & Farrington, D. P. (1999). Improved Street Lighting: Crime Reducing Effects and Cost-Benefit Analyses. Security Journal, 12, 17–32. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.sj.8340037.

Popovic, G., Arsic, N., Jaksic, B., Gara, B., & Petrovic, M. (2013). Overview, Characteristics and Advantages of IP Camera Video Surveillance Systems Compared to Systems with other Kinds of Camera. International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology (IJESIT), 2(5), 356-362.

Roberts, M. J. (2012). Managing the Insider Threat: No Dark Corners. Journal of Strategic Security, 5(4), 17-130. Web.

Tseloni, A., Thompson, R., Grove, L., Tilley, N., & Farrell, G. (2014). The Effectiveness of Burglary Security Devices. Security Journal, 1-19. doi: 10.1057/sj.2014.30.

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