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VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital increases safety measures with new weapons detection screening

Additional safety and security updates are being implemented throughout VCU Health System as part of a phased approach.

VCU Health CMH Emergency Department Entrance As part of the first phase of additional safety measures across the health system, weapons detection screening devices are being installed at VCU Health CMH. (VCU Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

By Danielle Pierce and Kristy Fowler

In the coming weeks, weapons detection screening devices will be installed at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) emergency room as a part of a phased approach to provide additional safety measures for all patients, team members and visitors.

“We prioritize the overall health and safety of everyone who visits us,” said Sheldon Barr, president of CMH. “Weapons screening is just one step we are taking as part of a comprehensive system-wide plan to ensure the safety of our emergency room patients and visitors.”

The weapons screening systems, similar to what is seen at public venues like sporting events, are designed to detect weapons such as firearms and knives.

All patients, team members and guests entering the CMH emergency room can expect to pass through the weapons screening upon arrival. We are anticipating that the new screening process will cause minimal interruptions.

Patients and Visitors: Weapons Detection Screening FAQ

Objects with significant metal content, such as laptops, will need to be removed prior to walking through the weapons screening system. Smaller items, such as keys and cell phones, do not need to be taken out.

“Weapons are prohibited at VCU Health and we are committed to providing a safe work and care environment that is free of violence,” said John Venuti, chief of police and associate vice president for public safety for Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health System. “The systems will detect firearms and other weapons to prevent anyone from bringing them inside the health system."

While the first phase of the weapons screening is being installed at VCU Medical Center, additional locations will be added throughout VCU Health System as a part of the multi-step approach. In addition to the weapons screening, other safety updates are taking place throughout the health system, including:

• Reduced number of entry access points at VCU Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s Children's Pavilion and Children's Tower and the Adult Outpatient Pavilion
• Additional areas of badge-controlled access in appropriate areas
• Upgrades to the emergency management notification system

VCU Health System leaders also encourage patients, guests and team members to report any suspicious behavior or activity.

“It takes a community to keep our community safe,” Venuti said. “If you see someone at VCU Health exhibiting suspicious behavior or you suspect they have a weapon, report them to security or police immediately.”

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