Paper on Physical Security

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Many buildings are also built to take into account the protection of their users and their ability to provide convenient access to the building. In deciding if the building is secure for the user or whether there are improvements that should be made in designing the building in order to make it user-friendly for the people, the floor and its architectural design are important. The physical protection of a building is essential for access and ease of use. A building needs to enhance the well-being of its users by minimizing the likelihoods of accidents taking place besides supplementing the security providers by guards and security personnel (Anderson, 2010). This paper discusses the physical security plan of John Hopkins Hospital.

Overview of the Hospital

John Hopkins is a medical institution in the United States of America that offers individualized and specialized care to patients. The hospital facility has a high reputation in the medical field owing to the complex surgeries that the medical staff in the facility have been able to perform, the high reputation of its faculty of medicine and the high quality of medical care that it offers to its patients. The facility provides medical services to the residents of Baltimore, the entire United States of America and even admits patients from different parts of the world. The main entrance of the hospital is located at 1800 Orleans Street. The outpatient center, Weinberg Building, and the Rubenstein Child Health center are located along 601 N. Caroline Street, 401 n. Broadway Street and 22 n. Wolfe Street (Pronovost et al., 2016). The hospital has invested in professional security to manage the security of the hospital including enhancing of the safety of patients within the hospital. The patients in the inpatient section have unique uniforms that enable the security to identity them with much ease and offer them any form of assistance that they may need within the hospital. The diagram below depicts the floor plan of John Hopkins Hospital.

The security concerns that the location of the business present includes the dense population within the area and the crime levels within the neighborhood. The case of 2010 shooting at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is an example of how the high population and crime levels within the city have aggravated the security concerns and issues within the neighborhood of the hospital facility. Therefore, an integrated safety management system is crucial to the organization to enhance the quality of care that has to be provided to maintain a peaceful and serene environment for the patients to heal and to get quality medical care. The security concerns within the facility are further aggravated by the high-stress situations that patients and their guardians are in as they enter the hospital and the hospital being open 24 hours a day. The presence of three major exits and emergency exits from the different buildings within the hospital facility could also be a security threat to the people seeking to have access into the building.

Identification and Description of Security Concerns

Internal security Concerns

The internal security concerns include the coverage of the entire locations of the hospital with the CCTV cameras and the use of scan machines to check on the visitors getting into the hospital. The land in which the hospital has been located is extensive, and there is no 100% cover of the locations and fields of the hospital under the CCTV camera watch. The existence of dead ends could allow the criminal to harm the patients without being noticed (Anderson, 2010). The corners and tunnels, such as the children tunnel, have not been adequately covered by the CCTV cameras, thus, the need to enhance the coverage of the location by the CCTV cameras. The high traffic of patients and those visiting the patients make some get into the hospital without being screened properly for any harm that they may pose. Laxity in the screening of all guests could create a loophole for the criminals to get into the medical facility and harm patients.

External Security concerns

The primary external concerns within the medical facility are the free movement of people in and out of the facility. The presence of gangs within the city in which the facility has been located could further be an issue of concern for the patients which may serve to compromise the security that is being offered to the patients in the hospital.

The physical security threats that have been identified above are not only limited to hospitals but some cuts across other buildings such as office space, malls among other facilities. All hospitals in the United States adhere to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS), a professional body endowed with the responsibility of educating, and providing the technical support on issues of security planning among hospitals (Fennelly & Perry, 2016). From my observation, the rate of physical violence in hospitals has been on a steady rise, a fact that has been worrying the security experts. The hospital staffs are often vulnerable to threats and physical attack from patients and even visitors (Zhang & Liu, 2010). This exposure is not healthy as service provision is jeopardized due to uncertainty associated with security concerns in the line of duty.

There is need to create a physical security checklist to ensure that each person charged with ensuring the physical safety of the premises, the employees, patients, and visitors adhere to in the hospital. The checklist may include the site. Architectural design is essential in ensuring that all components of physical security are factored in (Zhang & Liu, 2010). Those with a physical disability should be provided with a user-friendly facility, and this can only be achieved from the initial architectural design stage of hospitals design. The lighting is also important to ensure that the physical structure of an hospital is user-friendly. Structural design regarding emergency exits, spacious pathways among other features, building Envelope, Utility Systems, Mechanical systems, Plumbing and Mechanical gas systems within the hospital premises, the electrical systems that avert risks associated with electricity, fire alarms, and security master plans.

According to the floor plan of the hospital, the Bloomberg’s children center may present a physical security threat to the users of the building and the patients. The building has three entrances. The entrances to the building can also be utilized as exists, thus, posing a challenge to the security officers manning the building. The main entrance has two points of entry into the children’s center and an ambulance entrance only. The ambulance entrance does not have any scanning facility owing to the nature of the emergency that is passed through such an entry.

Enhancing the security situation of the facility requires the integration of a building automation system and a physical security information management system to supplement the work of the security personnel working around the clock to manage the security situation. The physical security condition of the hospital environment needs to be further enhanced by the critical examination of the exits and entrance points that ought to be close. Closing some access points would minimize the chances of security breach into the building.

Physical Security Analysis

To help protect the hospital employees, the hospital has installed CCTV cameras in the hospital premises. This is one of the ways that are geared towards combating security risks. These CCTV cameras, in 3D forms, have been crucial in helping security staff to detect and respond swiftly to suspicious activities within the hospital premises and potential incidents (Peltier, 2016). The use of 3D CCTV cameras have become handy as they have more than one components: they have the recording option and motion sensors, meaning that every move is noted and with sound attached to it, the culprits even verbal exchanges are recorded. This is a step in the right direction as the benefits have been fruitful.

Another way that the hospital has embarked on is the installation of panic alarms. This is placed within the walls that are accessible to anyone who feels their security is at risk, that they can use to alert the responsible team for swift emergency response. The panic alarms are also placed in patient’s rooms to help also make doctors respond to patient’s needs, in time in cases of emergency.

John Hopkins Hospital has provided emergency call numbers that persons who have experienced or seen security threat are encouraged to call. These figures are displayed on the hospital premises across all their hospitals, with each number customized to the hospital outlet. Through the hospital policies, the ‘whistleblowers’ are protected from being victimized and offered full protection to provide the necessary information regarding any risks that they may have reported.


Physical security in the hospital is not only the responsibility of the hospital, as a facility but it is linked to the Federal, State, and local laws. The Federal government and the state all contribute towards regulating the physical safety of hospitals. Through the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration department, there are streamlined guidelines. Physical security is based on Architectural design and closely linked to Civil or structural engineering, mechanical and lastly on system or security architecture.


There is also need to provide periodic training to the security teams on the ever changing security threat within the workplace. These training can be scaled to employees on how to respond and report in time before the issue escalates. The training should include reviewing the hospital's policies, plans and procedures to be more responsive to the ever changing security needs (Ortmeier, 2017). The security plans at John Hopkins hospital are aimed at providing zero tolerance on violent behaviors, threats, intimidation, hostile or violent acts. Since physical security has adverse effects on the cost of seeking service and justice, the hospital stands to benefit immensely from benefits associated with implementing the security plans as reduced cost of negligence and staff protection cost that would be related to law suits. 


Anderson, R. J. (2010). Security engineering: a guide to building dependable distributed systems. John Wiley & Sons.

Ortmeier, P. J. (2017). Introduction to Security. Pearson.

Peltier, T. R. (2016). Information Security Policies, Procedures, and Standards: guidelines for effective information security management. CRC Press.

Fennelly, L., & Perry, M. (2016). Physical security: 150 things you should know. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Pronovost, P. J., Holzmueller, C. G., Callender, T., Demski, R., Winner, L., Day, R., ... & Miller, M. R. (2016). Sustaining reliability on accountability measures at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 42(2), 51-62.

Zhang, R., & Liu, L. (2010, July). Security models and requirements for healthcare application clouds. In Cloud Computing (CLOUD), 2010 IEEE 3rd International Conference on (pp. 268-275). IEEE.

August 09, 2021

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