04/27/14 — Hospital: Lockdown accidental

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Hospital: Lockdown accidental

By John Joyce
Published in News on April 27, 2014 1:50 AM

In case of emergency, lift, then push.

Wayne Memorial Hospital administrators say no lockdown took place at their facility Saturday, calling the incident an accidental activation and, essentially, a non-event.

"There were apparently a bunch of mistakes. We have been working on lockdowns for years," Wayne Memorial Hospital Vice President of Operations Thomas Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said there are buttons stationed throughout the emergency area which, when pushed, initiate a lockdown.

"This one was bumped," he said.

Doors lock automatically and flashing lights engage when the button is pushed, and it was the activation of these emergency procedures that prompted someone with EMS to contact communications, Bradshaw said.

At about 1 p.m. Saturday, Wayne County Communications dispatchers alerted emergency vehicles that the hospital was locked down. No traffic would be allowed in or out.

About five minutes into the lockdown, dispatchers said vehicles could come in, but none could leave.

After about 10 minutes, dispatchers said the lockdown had been lifted.

"We heard it -- we actually got the tape -- and it was not accurate from our perspective," he said.

In the event of a real lockdown, a perimeter is created blocking outsiders from coming into the hospital while still allowing doctors, nurses and patients to move about freely inside the facility.

Additionally, there is a digital feed from security cameras visible to doctors and nurses in the rear areas that displays what is going on in the reception area of the emergency department.

The two areas are separated by locking doors.

"They can see what is going on without having to open the doors. So someone may get into the front area, but they would not then be able to get into the back area," Bradshaw said.

The flashing lights and security footage are newly implemented features of an emergency lockdown procedure that saw upgrades after a shooting victim, a child, was brought in a few months ago. The victim was followed in by family members who caused a disturbance.

Bradshaw said the family did not intend to cause any harm, but because there was a child who had been shot, the family was upset.

There has not been an emergency lockdown since, he said.

The hospital does, however, conduct drills and perform critiques after scenarios such as the one that accompanied the child shooting, he said.

Hence the upgraded features of the flashing lights and camera feeds.

As a result of Saturday's non-lockdown lockdown, another feature will soon be implemented.

"We're putting covers over our buttons. Now, instead of a book or a person brushing up against a button and causing a panic, the person will have to actually lift the cover and push the button," Bradshaw said.