In 2008, a disgruntled ex-employee entered Central Peninsula Hospital (CPH) in Soldotna, Alaska, and opened fire, killing one person and wounding a second before killing himself in a standoff with Alaska State Troopers. The event prompted CPH to assess its security needs and analyze what additional procedures should be implemented to help prevent another serious incident. Having worked with Siemens in the past, CPH Support Services Director Richard Davidson enlisted the integrator to upgrade the facility’s security systems.
Siemens’ strategic and technical recommendations included AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Enterprise security management system (SMS) and Symmetry video management system (VMS), and a variety of Axis IP cameras. The legacy video surveillance system featured DVRs and analog cameras.
“Siemens advised us that AMAG’s Symmetry system would meet our security requirements now, and grow with us as we add more buildings,” says Davidson. “Symmetry also provided the extra security we felt we needed as a result of the 2008 incident.”
Integration Elevates Total Security
Approximately 90 cameras monitor the interior and main entrances. Live video streams into the VMS to an easy-to-use interface that provides a customized video matrix for security officers to tailor to their specific viewing needs. “AMAG was one of the first companies to offer an integrated solution that consolidates the front end of multiple systems. This was crucial to the customers need to have one platform to control their access control, CCTV and panic alarm systems,” says Siemens Senior Sales Executive Josh Fagan.
CPH upgraded its access control system to Symmetry Enterprise in the main hospital building and Heritage Place, the hospital’s nursing home complex. Approximately 80 doors are controlled via the SMS using HID RK and RK40 smart card readers with iClass smart cards. The new system automatically locks and unlocks exterior doors and some interior doors, and employees are assigned access rights to their departments and any special areas needed to perform their job.
Officers monitor security around the clock from a command center. Among other things, they use the video system to keep an eye on entrances, corridors, parking lots and all public areas, including the cafeteria and coffee kiosks. They also keep a close watch on high security areas such as the entrances to the pharmacy and human resources area, and on internal areas where doors are locked down at night.
The hospital increased security for the pharmacy by requiring employees to swipe their access card and enter a confidential PIN code to enter the area. The end user is also starting to implement a request-to-exit procedure to better track pharmacy traffic and length of time spent inside. Symmetry provides detailed data reports that outline pharmacy traffic patterns and assist managers in making decisions on how to better protect the drugs and staff.
CPH uses a module within the SMS called Threat Level Manager (TLM) to instantly change the security status of an area as being designated either “level one” or “level five.” Level one is normal day-to-day security; level five represents a high alert situation that automatically locks preassigned doors. If a suspicious person is spotted, security guards can activate a manual alert by pressing a red panic button that triggers an overhead paging system. The hospital plans to add more TLM levels based on varying degrees of threat.
Wireless panic switches were installed at eight strategic locations throughout the hospital, including the receptionist area and emergency room. When the panic switches are activated, communication is sent to an Inovonics panel to notify the security command center. The hospital is immediately locked down through the use of TLM and security officers are dispatched to the area in need.
System Uses Continue to Expand
Symmetry Enterprise also enables integration into other hospital systems to provide one centrally managed security solution. “At the Heritage Place, our continuing care facility, we have an interface to the WanderGuard departure alert system to prevent residents from wandering off the premises,” says Davidson. “We also have an interface to the baby monitoring system in the birthing center to prevent baby theft. It will lockdown all doors if someone tries to take a baby.”
The SMS is also tied into CPH’s cash and vending systems. The same badge used to swipe to enter a room allows employees to buy meals in the cafeteria or items from the gift shop. Employee data is shared, which saves administrative staff time not having to enter an employee’s information twice (in the security system and again in the purchasing software).
As the hospital is located three hours away from Siemens’ regional location, VPN connectivity to the SMS allows the integrator to nevertheless work closely with hospital technicians to resolve challenges and provide ongoing support. Plans are in the works to install Symmetry Enterprise SMS and VMS in the hospital’s seven remaining buildings, which include administration offices, clinics and physical medicine centers. They will also build an offsite command center to have the capability to manage possible crisis incidents from a secure location.