All posts by Carol Vardaro

Why it’s Critical to Take a Multi-Faceted, Multi-Layered Approach to Mass Notification

By Jim Stankevich

The size, scope and inherently open nature of hospitals and healthcare facilities make them particularly challenging cases for notifying the masses of an event or incident. Hospitals face myriad threats from inside and outside, and thus need to be able to communicate quickly, accurately and effectively when faced with a crisis.

However, hospital personnel don’t always have or are even allowed ready access to their personal phones to receive text or voice messages, nor are many of them likely to be sitting at a desk viewing their email or viewing social media.

Instead, the bustling healthcare setting requires a multi-faceted, multi-layered network-based mass notification process so staff, patients and visitors can receive targeted, accessible information. A process like this is crucial regardless of whether there is an active shooter in the emergency department, a weather-related situation that requires action involving the whole complex and its inhabitants or a domestic dispute incident affecting specific patients, visitors or staff.

Currently many healthcare facilities are opting for text-based notification systems, which are sometimes funded by grant monies, and can work well enough if staff members have a hospital-issued phone readily available or if they are allowed to use their personal phone on the job. But some healthcare organizations don’t allow the use of personal phones being used at work, thus eliminating this major means of crisis communications.

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Another traditional way of alerting personnel has been via public address announcements (PA) using a series of codes or fictional names or codes to alert them about a particular situation. Since hospitals have PA systems that reach almost every area within the facility this is still a viable way to notify those within the building of a situation. The PA may not be ideal for every emergency situation but it is used often every day and should be connected to your automated mass notification system for that should be communicated via the PA as one means of notification.

Even when healthcare facilities have mass notification protocols in place, if the messaging can’t be delivered in a timely manner, or isn’t read immediately on a phone or email, the effectiveness is lost. Having to send messages by text or email can mean a notification that needs to be delivered quickly so staff can react accordingly is taking too long to be disseminated among the long list of employees and staff members who need to receive it. And once sent, the message could sit in someone’s inbox for minutes or even hours before they have the opportunity to see it.

Thus, a multi-layered approach tied in with a network-based access control system is critical in a setting where people are constantly on the move. Along with individual texts and emails, messages that appear as a pop-up message on computer screens at nurses’ stations even when logged off and on computers and tablets used on mobile workstations within patients’ rooms can better convey a message during a crisis. Likewise, with a highly critical situation such as an active shooter, a mass notification system should be able to incorporate a public address, visual public monitors throughout the facility, SIP IP phone system, and radios used by security personnel to reach the most people in the quickest manner possible.

An effective mass notification system should also be a “two-way system,” so personnel who are in a duress situation or are seeing a crisis unfold have the ability to send an alert to get help, not just receive an alert. With some systems, the ability to send such a message can be as simple as using two keys on a computer keyboard that, when used together, constitute a panic alarm. Additionally, computer screens or phones can be set up with icons that when used, trigger a panic or notification alarm as well.

These types of alerts not only work well in that they quickly disseminate information from someone in crisis to the appropriate responders, but if that person is being confronted by an abuser or someone who is armed, it is much less obvious to press a couple of keys than it is to pick up the phone and call for help which might escalate the situation with the person listening to the call.

Additionally, highly useful mass notification schemes are being tied into access control systems and other security monitoring systems such as video surveillance, HVAC, fire and burglar alarms, and infant abduction systems to provide a holistic approach to security.

An employee in the emergency department who is dealing with a potential gang confrontation has the ability, through the push of a button, to alert security and activate video of the incident or even lockdown doors. And if an infant abduction alarm sounds, through the integrated mass notification system, security has the ability to send messages to key personnel around the facility or within the parking structure so the chances of that child being removed from the premises is greatly reduced as well as to lock specific doors and view relevant video.

Of course, a system is only effective if everyone is familiar with it and it is working properly. It is important, therefore, to make testing and supervision of the mass notification system a requirement of the product. This not only keeps it working for when it’s desired most, but also reminds hospital staffers that they have this vital tool readily available should they need it and how to use it.

Jim Stankevich is the Global Manager for Healthcare Security & Lynx for Tyco Security

Products and is a past IAHSS board member. He can be reached by email at: JStankevich@tycoint.com

C•CURE Go Reader Mobile App

The innovative C•CURE Go Reader mobile app extends the reach of your C•CURE 9000 system more powerfully than ever before. An inspired evolution of the C•CURE Go mobile app, C•CURE Go Reader lets you grant or deny access in even the most remote, disconnected areas such as construction sites, offline events and roaming security checkpoints.

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Using an Android device, C•CURE Go Reader pairs with a multi-technology read head to mimic a full-fledged iSTAR door, complete with schedules, clearances and holidays. As a virtual “door” in C•CURE 9000, C•CURE Go Reader inherits all clearances of an associated iSTAR door group, ensuring strict security even if you are far away from your nearest iSTAR controller.

C•CURE Go Reader provides peace of mind in many different situations:

  • Construction sites can be dangerous areas and, long before the walls of the buildings are built, security is compulsory.
  • Offsite events pose unique security challenges for companies who need to safeguard employees and visitors with limited physical boundaries.
  • Roaming security checkpoints allow your guards to spontaneously check access badges in hallways or near secured areas.
  • Roll calls are extremely important, to make sure employees have evacuated during emergency situations.
  • C•CURE Go Reader makes it easy to verify that employees have reached the designated areas during the emergency.

Visit our webpage for more information.

IP-ACM Ethernet Door Module

Flexible, secure Ethernet edge device reduces wiring and extends cost effectiveness of an IP-based access control system.

IP ACM

IP-ACM is a flexible, future proof Ethernet door module that provides IT savvy customers with a highly secure option to manage their security, while reducing wiring and installation costs. The IP-ACM is installed near the doors that it’s controlling and communicates securely over IP to an iSTAR Ultra GCM using AES-256 encryption. The GCM contains the local access database and makes all access decisions. Each IP-ACM can support two doors, or one door with in and out readers. Each iSTAR Ultra supports up to 32 readers maximum.

Visit our webpage for more information.

EyeLock nano NXT Advanced Iris Reader Integration with C•CURE 9000

High Security Made Simple

The integration of C•CURE 9000 security and event management system and EyeLock nano NXT biometric iris reader gives you powerful identity authentication and security capabilities for a complete biometric access control management system.Eyelock Integration

The integration with C•CURE 9000 allows cardholder names and card numbers setup in C•CURE 9000 to be seen in EyeLock Identity Suite so that this information does not have to be re-entered during the iris enrollment process. Once enrollment is complete, the information stays synced. The integration also allows for the intelligent distribution of iris templates to nano NXT iris readers and will only be stored on devices at doors that each cardholder has access to according to C•CURE 9000.

Unparalleled Efficiency

The nano NXT authenticates up to 20 people per minute, in-motion and at-a-distance with unparalleled accuracy. EyeLock’s advanced technology converts the unique characteristics of each iris into a complex encrypted code that maximizes security and minimizes breach potential. With a false accept rate of only 1 in 1.5 million for a single eye, EyeLock’s iris identity authentication ensures both unparalleled accuracy and security.

Visit our webpage for more information.

Software House Launches Safran Morpho Biometric Readers

Safran Morpho biometric readers provide fingerprint and turnstile application access control for sensitive, high-traffic environments where convenience, speed and security are a priority.

The C•CURE 9000/Safran Morpho solutions are ideal for security critical areas such as server rooms, pharmacies, bank vaults and more. Doors fitted with Safran Morpho biometric solutions are integrated to C•CURE 9000 with MorphoManager.

  • MorphoAccess Sigma Series – best-of-breed finger identification terminal with time & attendance option
  • MorphoAccess Sigma Lite Series – finger identification terminal designed to equip narrow mounting surfaces
  • MorphoWave Tower – contactless access control with a wave of a hand​

Visit our webpage for more information.

Software House Now Integrated with NEDAP AVI Vehicle/Driver Identification Readers

Software House C•CURE 9000 security and event management solution is now integrated with NEDAP AVI vehicle and driver identification technology .

NEDAPWhen integrated with the C•CURE 9000, NEDAP AVI identification readers can identify vehicles and/or people from long-range distances, making the readers ideal for parking access applications, managing logistics and for weighing installations and mining safety applications. NEDAP AVI identification systems ensure that only vehicles with authorized drivers can access restricted areas while keeping traffic moving through access gates. Vehicles and their operators can be authorized for entry while their vehicles are still moving, and can be identified by the readers through closed windows, increasing passenger safety and overall efficiency.

“The NEDAP AVI identification solution is an integral component in our intelligent physical access control portfolio,” said Rafael Schrijvers, Access Control Product Marketing Manager, EMEA, Tyco Security Products. “With the integration of NEDAP AVI with C•CURE 9000, we offer the most convenient and secure solution for identifying vehicles and persons entering and exiting your protected area.”

NEDAPThe C•CURE 9000-integrated NEDAP AVI identification solution uses UHF tags that can be deployed as passive, battery-operated tags. The UHF tags can be read from distances up to 33 feet and use a circular polarized antenna to provide freedom of tag placement and orientation. NEDAP AVI’s license plate reader automatically reads number license plates and uses an all-in-one camera, analyzer and IR illuminator. The reader is embedded with onboard processing software that can be configured through a web interface and has a range of up to 19 feet. The NEDAP AVI reader supports a large range of IR-reflective license plates, including most European countries.

The NEDAP AVI readers feature easy installation and user set up and can be configured through a web interface.  An optional Wiegand Interface Module for the camera is also included.

For more information on this integration, visit the Software House Nedap AVI Long Range Identification System page.

Tyco Receives Safety Act Designation for C•CURE 9000 and iSTAR Controllers

Safety Act DesignationTyco International PLC received Safety Act designation for Software House C•CURE 9000 and iSTAR controllers. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Safety Act provides important legal liability protections for providers of Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies – whether they are products or services.

Safety Act

The goal of the SAFETY Act is to encourage the development and deployment of effective anti-terrorism products and services by providing liability protections. A rigorous review of the products, our development processes, documentation, training, tech support, and more is required in order to receive the designation.

Click here to learn more about the Safety Act.