In a busy Toronto-area hospital, keeping the facility secure on a day-to-day basis is a complex task. Incidents can change the level of security required in an instant and communicating the message out to the field can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. One Richmond Hill hospital has automated the process by introducing a tour and incident reporting tool that is making site management more efficient.
By Jennifer Brown
York Central Hospital has been using the system for the last few months as part of a pilot project with its contract security company, Securitas Canada.
The tool, called Securitas Vision, is an interactive system for accessing post orders and reporting incidents and daily activities. It allows guards to document security activities during their shift and record events. Guards use the PDAs when making rounds to read barcodes, document security situations or hazards, and respond to an automated checklist of additional details.
At the end of each shift, the information is downloaded to a computer that can be accessed either at the client location or remotely.
“A guard logs in and sees their schedule and can pick up their patrols/tasks for the day and see what the alert level is. They can also use it to check in and update their tasks because post orders may change throughout the day,” says Michael Bezoff, Securitas branch manager, noting the orders can be updated locally at a site or globally on a centralized basis.
Security supervisors can program specific tour items such as checking to see that a sprinkler valve is open or closed.
There are also tools to help guards produce better reports and they can email the reports within the organization’s own system, print or save as a pdf.
A guard on patrol who notices a problem with a site can stop and start to create an incident report and include a photo of what he or she is seeing.
“The officer has everything at his fingertips,” says Bezoff.
Securitas Canada president Dwayne Gulsby was part of the original design team for Vision, acting in an advisory role when the product was first developed.
“Securitas Vision is a secure and scalable web-based application. It can be deployed at a single property or across an entire organization. We asked the branch managers who deal directly with customers and they are really the ones who designed it for the end user. They solicited feedback from customers to help design the system,” he says.
“It really gives the customer access to all pertinent and important information as it relates to their security program in a web-based platform. One of the biggest things it does for the customer is it lifts the veil on our security program. Post orders have to be updated and accessible. The client shouldn’t have to dig up reports from a binder somewhere,” says Gulsby.
The system also keeps track of all incidents and what staffing level was required providing value metrics to the organization to help justify the security budget.
The customer can also compare yearly spend and year-over-year spend. It also pulls back the veil from a scheduling perspective and allows them to have access to critical information for their facilities.
This was a factor that appealed to the hospital, says Julian Persaud, site supervisor.
The system also allows a security or facility administrator to adjust the current threat level, customized to location. So, if at 2 o’clock in the afternoon a major incident has occurred and that causes the threat level to change at a location, the user can make an adjustment in the system and the system sends an immediate notification to guards on the site. In extreme cases an emergency plan can be activated using the system, which can then change access control rules, sending immediate notification of change.
“It’s several products in one,” says Bezoff. “It provides post management, instructions for officers day-to-day and automatically updates reports. It makes for a more engaged officer as well.”
It also means less paperwork and more time spent on the job. It also can’t be tampered with without the supervisor becoming aware.
A management dashboard within the program also enables managers to easily schedule security officers and tasks, send e-mail alerts and text messages, and complete a range of other administrative duties.
The dashboard allows facility managers or security directors to keep track of incidents over time and accumulate metrics by location, category and adjust the security program based on a better understanding of events that occur in a location.
“It allows administrators to see the annual cost, to date, of security,” says Tim Beaver, vice-president of national and strategic accounts for Securitas Canada.
The system is supported by a 24-hour help desk should technical difficulties arise