Medical Construction & Design

SEP-OCT 2017

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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MCDM AG.COM | SEPTEMBER /OCTOBER 2017 | Medical Construction & Design 53 An errant vehicle or an intentional vehicle attack has the potential to cause severe damage to a building and the people inside, with patients and visitors in pedestrian/ passenger zones out front at the highest risk. More than 4,000 pedestrians, patrons and employees are seriously in- jured every year in the United States by vehicle-into-building incursions, and as many as 500 people are killed. Sadly, this isn't a declining trend. A larger threat Global security threats are increasing, and the use of vehicles to attack crowds and public spaces is becoming increasingly prevalent among terrorist organizations and individuals with malicious intentions. In 2016, there were more than 600 people killed or injured in Europe and the United States when terrorist attacks used vehicles to target civilians. In 2016 and 2017, there have been a number of very high-profi le incidents with truck attacks in Nice, London, Stockholm and Berlin, and passenger vehicle attacks at London Bridge, Times Square and Melbourne. Vehicle-based attacks are a growing reality that health industry architects, engineers and planners must acknowl- edge and prepare for. And not just health facilities are aff ected: this emerging threat leaves major vulnerabilities in many of the locations we frequent every day, including sports stadiums, schools, the- aters, restaurants and airports. Hospitals should be taking the same actions as these other high-value targets to deter attacks and to reduce the damage that might occur as a result of a vehicle attack. Deliberate vehicle attacks are situations that may be hard to fathom, but consid- ering the very large staff of professionals and service workers that it takes to staff a full-service hospital, coupled with the number of patients seen every day, it is clear that the risk for injury or death is extremely high should a vehicle enter an unprotected entrance at a high speed. SOLUTION #1: Install security bollards and safety barriers One proven method to protect people and property at hos- pitals and other healthcare facilities is the installation of crash-rated and tested bollards or safety barriers. Bollards can be installed along entrance sidewalks to block off designated areas from approaching vehicles. Modern bollards are often designed with features that can improve navigation for pedestrians and drivers, such as LED lighting, ADA enhancements and LEED features (e.g., the high percentage of recycled/reused materials) where required. They come in many shapes and can be removable or retractable to allow emergency access for ambulances or other authorized vehicles, as well as for service vehicles and deliveries. SOLUTION #2: Move parking to face away from pedestrian areas, entrances Human error is responsible for over 40 percent of accidental vehicle-into-building crashes. Drivers can hit the wrong pedal or put the vehicle into the wrong gear when park- ing or pulling out of a parking space. While these incursions are unintentional, the outcomes can be devastating. Moving parking areas to face away from pedestrian areas or entrances greatly increases the safety of the people inside or waiting out front of building entrances. SOLUTION #3: Evaluate vulnerabilities There are professional service providers and consultants in private practice who have a great deal of security experi- ence and knowledge, as well as government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA who can evaluate vulnerabilities in the early phases of design and construction of hospitals and health facilities, as well as for existing facilities. These con- sultations can be very cost ef- fective and will help facilities and design professionals to increase safety and security effi ciently and quickly. SOLUTION #4: Work with local law enforcement to identify funding Contact local law enforce- ment agencies to coordinate with them about threats, risks and solutions. These agencies often have resources available and know about local, state or federal grants that can help pay for upgrades to the safety and security of a site. Never before has it been more crucial to account for so many factors when planning a project or updating a hospital or healthcare facility that will be serving the public for many years to come. Like fi re, seis- mic events and other disasters, the risks of intentional vehicle attacks or accidental vehicle incursions is an equally important safety and security consideration for the health- care industry, and will be for many years to come. Rob Reiter is co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council and serves as chief security consultant to Calpipe Industries. These fi xed lighted bollards feature high-impact carbon steel core and stainless steel covers over UL-listed LED lighting.

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