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Reading Hospital talks safety in wake of LVH shooting

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Mar 19 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2013 06:55:35 AM CDT

The Lehigh Valley Hospital patient murder-suicide brings into question hospital security.

WEST READING, Pa. -

The Lehigh Valley Hospital patient murder-suicide Tuesday brings into question hospital security.

Hospitals do not typically have metal detectors to screen patients and visitors But there are other types of screenings happening whether or not they are aware of it.

When patients or visitors come to the hospital it can be a very emotional experience. With emotions running high, security and the staff at Reading Hospital said they have to be pro-active.

After a murder-suicide inside a room at another hospital, Reading Hospital security said it's normal to ask questions.

"Do we need to do something better here?" said Mike Wright, deputy director of Reading Hospital's security, "First and foremost our hearts go out to the family and our colleagues at Lehigh Valley. We know that it will be difficult situation for them."

Wright acknowledged when people come to the hospital it could be one of their worst days.

"Unfortunately, when people get emotional they may act inappropriately," said Wright.

He said that's why his security staff relies on their eyes and ears as well as the medical staff.

"They're accessing people's frame of mind," said Wright, "They'll alert us too if there is any problems. We've always told our staff don't wait until the situation escalates to a point where you need our intervention."

All those calls come into the security's command center at the hospital.

"We would activate our plan in here," said Wright, "Our codes, it may involve our operators who are responsible putting out the information overhead."

He said security will make the call if a certain section of the hospital needs to go on lockdown or not. He said they've learned from other hospital security incidents in the past and expects to learn from what happened at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

"So, we look for information from that type of event that will help us here not only to prevent that event but also to respond, making sure that we respond appropriately," said Wright.

The Reading Hospital plans to hold an active shooter drill in May. They said this has been planned for a year prior to what happened Tuesday or even at Sandy Hook Elementary.