Danielle Sullivan, RN, a nurse on Shapiro 10 East, talks with Tom Smith, CHPA, CPP, president of HealthCare Security Consultants, Inc., about safety and security at BWHC.

The safety and security of patients, employees and visitors are of paramount importance at Brigham and Women’s. In the last nine months, the hospital has examined its security operations and enhanced training, operations and communication efforts, and will continue to do so in the months ahead. John Pierro, BWHC senior vice president of Facilities and Operations, shared the following updates relevant to our clinical and research community and beyond:


To date, more than 10,000 employees have received active shooter training and more than 3,000 nurses have been trained in SAFE (Spot a threat; Assess the risk; Formulate a clinical response; Evaluate the outcome), an evidence-based clinical response for preventing, managing, de-escalating and responding to events. Both SAFE and active shooter trainings are offered through video training sessions accessible in Health Stream.

In addition, nearly 240 employees, including physicians and researchers, have trained in small group settings on work place violence, de-escalation and security awareness. In collaboration with physician leadership, BWHC is continuing to roll out current training to physicians at on campus and off campus locations, and will be customizing training for physicians in ambulatory environments. Physicians and researchers interested in participating in future training programs should send an e-mail to this e-mail inbox.


BWH has hired additional security staff, bringing the total number of security officers up to 125, including those at fixed posts, on bike patrol and providing an overnight presence at the Shapiro building. The hospital has also increased security patrols, installed more panic buttons throughout the system, and is upgrading our electronic security monitoring systems.

A Boston police officer is available 24/7 and has the ability to dispatch additional armed officers to the hospital within minutes in an emergency situation. Twenty-eight licensed City of Boston Special Police officers are on staff.  All are authorized to make arrests for criminal offenses committed on BWH property. Officers patrol the Emergency Department and the surrounding streets and garages, and can respond to radio security calls at any moment.

Hospital leadership has also established working groups, which are led by senior administrators and include staff from across the organization, to determine priorities around recommendations that arose from an extensive security review conducted by Healthcare Security Consultants, Inc, the leading national authority on hospital security.   The recommendations relate to facility access and security, communications, security infrastructure, and workplace violence, among others.

The hospital is also working with the Boston Police Department and the Boston Fire Department to identify the conditions that would make it possible to lockdown the units in the Shapiro Center. Leadership will be working with staff to determine an appropriate protocol and procedure for lockdown and when and which locations within Shapiro should be considered for lockdown in the rare event that this is desirable.

The work to determine the resources, security staffing, technology and training required to implement this next step in security is nearly complete, with a target implementation date in the first quarter of 2016.

Current statistics

Pierro reports that the number of code gray (security emergency) response calls declined 8 percent from calendar year 2014 to calendar year 2015. The number of assaults at BWH declined 17.5 percent from calendar year 2014 to calendar year 2015.


To raise awareness about safety and security measures, Pierro and his team will continue to contribute information for articles in BWH Bulletin’s Safety & Security Corner, where 11 articles have been published to date, and to BWH Clinical & Research News.

To keep patients, employees and visitors throughout the hospital updated about safety and security, the Community Connects screens throughout the campus continuously display information on safety and security.

An e-mail inbox has been established for non-urgent safety and security questions, and more than 38 questions have been received and answered so far. In the months ahead, events – including a Town Hall, round table discussions and a Security Fair – are being planned to give members of the BWHC community additional opportunities to ask questions, make suggestions and hear updates on our comprehensive approach to safety and security.