New security policy in place at Gaston Memorial Hospital

New security policy in place at Gaston Memorial Hospital

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by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on January 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 7 at 7:40 PM

GASTONIA, N.C. -- All off-hour visitors to Gaston Memorial Hospital will soon be required to register upon arrival.

Come January 15, anyone visiting the hospital between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. must check in and wear a badge at all times.

The badges restrict visitors to areas they are assigned to. A number marks the floor of the patient they are visiting.

"Say they are on the third floor but got the ‘5’ indicating they should be on the fifth floor. The officer will then stop that visitor and inquire why they are not on the floor they were authorized to go to," explained Bob Stacy, director of security at the hospital.

The badges turn red with the letters "VOID" 24 hours after it is activated.  A chemical reaction takes place which makes the badges self-expire.

All visitors will still be allowed entry to the cafeteria on the second floor. The hospital also plans to use the cell phone numbers collected at the time to alert visitors should any emergency arise.

The main entrance automatically locks at the close of business.  Visitors will be directed to the emergency room entrance or Rotunda Lobby where they will be met by security.

Like most hospitals, certain areas such as the birthing ward and psychiatric are heavily secured. This policy, however, requires badges be worn no matter where the visitor is staying.

Dottie Gettys of Rock Hill, who was visiting her aunt on Monday, welcomes the added protection.

"I think that would be fair," she said.  Gettys was a school teacher and says such violence has her thinking about her safety even in places most would assume to be safe.  "Prevention is very important so I agree with the policy."

A spokesperson for Presbyterian Hospitals tells NBC Charlotte that it has an "Active Shooter" policy in place. 

The security department has increased education with staff and stresses that armed security officers are on patrol 24 hours a day.  The hospital had reviewed its procedures extensively in preparation for the Democratic National Convention, but it plans to evaluate visitor's identification policies for possible improvements to security.
 

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