Essentia Health Duluth Implementing Weapons Screening For All ER Visitors
In recent years, there have been troubling headlines across the country that involve shootings in healthcare facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers' risk of injury due to workplace violence is five times greater than that of workers in other industries. A new policy recently announced by Essentia Health in Duluth looks to prevent that from happening in the Northland.
In an effort to ensure the safest environment for their patients, visitors, and colleagues, Essentia Health is implementing a new safety screening process at the St. Mary’s Medical Center emergency department, located at 401 E. First Street.
Starting Tuesday, September 26, anyone who uses the primary emergency department entrance will be subject to weapons screening. As a part of the new screening process, arriving visitors will first be asked to place their personal items on a nearby shelf for inspection. Next, visitors will be required to stand on a special mat, which turns slowly for 15 seconds.
It's important to note that any prohibited items, such as pepper spray, guns, or knives, must be left in a locked vehicle. Essentia Health is not able to store and return weapons that are handed over during screening. Their security team will thus dispose of them.
In the event that a patient needs immediate care, their security team will conduct a screening with a hand-held wand when caregivers say it is medically appropriate.
Essentia adds that screening for weapons is a part of safety protocols at hospitals around the country. The process is similar to what you encounter when entering other public venues, such as courthouses, airports, or concerts.
As the new security policy is implemented, Essentia Health wants to thank patients and visitors for their understanding and for helping to keep their facilities safe for everyone.