Protecting Hospital Visitors

A moveable system keeps the barrier up to enhance more secure access

When a Mercedes-Benz SUV plowed into another unsuspecting vehicle and shot through the lobby of the emergency room in Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital’s last June, four people were injured and one died. Not all were staff and patients. Jane Bailey was at Piedmont that day waiting on a friend whom she had taken to the ER and ended up spending 30 days in rehabilitation receiving treatment for the injuries she sustained in the incident.

Next came the inevitable legal pursuits. Could the attorney file a claim against the driver, and the hospital, over the results of this crash? Had the hospital reviewed the safety of vehicles at the hospital? Should it have installed security posts or barriers that would better protect people?

"An emergency room is a high-traffic area," Jane Lamberti, who is an attorney with The Cochran Firm, who represents Bailey, told the court. "You are going to have people who are driving up that may be ill or confused. It's foreseeable that they're going to lose control of the car. At the same time, you have patients and pedestrians going in and out of the emergency room. You know this situation is going to be there and you must take steps to protect the pedestrians and the patients."

A Variety of Bollards to Meet any Circumstance

Bollards are aesthetically pleasing and will allow pedestrians to move between them in non-roadway applications. Bollard systems operate individually or in groups. Moveable bollards, which can go up and down, are used for intermediate level security applications. Buyers can specify ornamental steel trim attached directly to the bollard or select cast aluminum sleeves, which slip right over the crash tube.

In most cases, designers create bollard systems to keep the bollard in the "up position" to stop vehicles from entering and lower the bollard to let cars and trucks through. When designing such systems, also consider whether to use a passive or active system. An active moveable system keeps the barrier in the up position but must be deactivated to permit access. Active systems are preferable to ones that must be initiated to prevent access because they are more secure.

Bollard systems operate individually or in groups up to 10, and are used for intermediate level security applications. Individual bollards are up to 12.75 inches in diameter, up to 35 inches high and are usually mounted on 3-5 foot centers. They are tested to stop and destroy an attacking vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds moving at 65 miles per hour or a 20,000-pound vehicle moving at 46 miles per hour.

Fixed post bollards are available to secure the sides of roadways with the same crash rating and appearance as their moveable cousins. With them, facility managers can easily install bollards on shallow substrates, including those that are not level or have turns.

Versus cement barriers such as posts and pots, many campuses prefer fixed post bollards for several reasons. When hit, cement posts and pots can explode, literally spreading shrapnel throughout the crowd, potentially creating numerous injuries.

Shallow foundation bollards can be installed within sidewalks or on top of concrete deck truss bridges as well as conform to the inclines and turns of a locale. They also meet the 1-meter clearance regulations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Portable Bollards

Individual portable bollards provide vehicle barricades in applications such as heavily travelled walkways and roadways or any area that a vehicle can get through. They can also be used as substitutes until permanent bollard systems get installed.

Ten portable bollards can be linked together with a cable system and placed on a road's surface to create immediate protection for a span of 40 feet. No other installation procedures, excavations or subsurface preparations are required. Certified testing demonstrates that a portable bollard will stop and disable a 15,000 pound vehicle traveling at 50 mph, resulting in an ASTM M50, P3 rating. The portable bollard marks a new standard in crowd protection containing and stopping 1.2 million foot pounds of attacking truck.

The portable bollard array requires no foundation or site preparation and can be used for permanent or temporary vehicle control. The bollards can be set up on any stable surface such as concrete, asphalt, compacted soil or vegetation.

The temporary bollards can be used to close off streets, entrances or wide expanses such as access to pedestrian areas or even airport runways. They can be installed in conjunction with portable barricades to fill in any gaps to protect people and critical infrastructures at public events such as parades, festivals, sporting weekends and any place that vehicles could attack transitory events. The combination of the portable barriers with the new portable bollards provides fast controlled vehicle access without the time and labor of installation.

Do not deploy non-certified bollards. Without adequate testing, there is no assurance that the barrier will resist the threat. Testing is normally by an independent testing company or government agency, such as the State Department and the military. Comprehensive reports of test results are issued and are available from the testing agency or manufacturer.

Why a Campus Needs Temporary Barriers

Placing bollards and barriers wherever possible attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically. The afore-mentioned temporary barriers are often used to protect facilities while permanent ones are being built. Plus they've even been effective for the long-term where physical conditions preclude permanent solutions.

Their most common use, though, is for when vehicle access is required temporarily. Parking for the football game, a grand opening for the new wing, freshman matriculation day and open houses are temporary events needing only a temporary solution. These barriers can be deployed quickly and effectively, even in places where it's impossible to excavate for a permanent foundation.

Moveable self-contained barricades can be towed into position to control vehicle access within 15 minutes to answer the need of organizations that quickly require a temporary barricade system to address a specific threat or secure a facility during special events. They were created for military checkpoints in Afghanistan and Iraq to provide another level of force protection. Three lengths -12, 16 and 20 feet – have been built over the years.

These mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers carry a M50 rating, stopping and disabling a 15,000-pound vehicle moving at 50 mph. No excavation or sub-surface preparation is required. Once towed into position, the portable barricade uses DC-powered hydraulic pumps to unpack and raise and lower itself off its wheels. There is no hand cranking. Wheels are stored along the sides and the vehicle ramps fold out, completing the implementation. To move the barrier from that spot to another, the procedures are just reversed.

From a purchasing standpoint, it can be easier to buy portable bollards and barricades than permanent solutions. The latter are oftentimes placed into an organization’s real assets budget because they are permanently installed into the ground, becoming part of the property. Such budgets can often create complex purchasing scenarios. However, purchasing portable bollards and barricades is no different than buying protective vests for personnel or new sets of wrenches for the maintenance department.

Bollards and Temporary Barriers Improve the Looks of Hospital Facilities

One final area that should not be overlooked is aesthetics. With today's smart designs, it's no longer necessary to choose between form and function. You can have them both. Designers are creating secure environments with more compatible and aesthetically pleasing architectural elements.

With bollards you can create the look you want. Ranging from faceted, fluted, tapered, rings and ripples, colors, pillars, to shields, emblems and logos, bollards are aesthetically pleasing and versatile. You can specify ornamental steel trim attached directly to the bollard or select cast aluminum sleeves, which slip right over the crash tube. Bollards can be galvanized for corrosion resistance, fitted with an internal warning light for increased visibility and engineered to suit high traffic volume. If damaged, simply slip off the old and slip on the new.

Decorative bollards come in different series – traditional, silhouette, sculptured and others. Levels of protection all meet or exceed U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State certifications. They can even hold the highest ratings ever given to bollard systems.

Protect People and Your Hospital

There is a solution to people getting injured by vehicles on your campus as well as protected the hospital from unnecessary legal strife. A wide range of bollard models are available to stop such worries at your medical center.

This article originally appeared in the May / June 2021 issue of Campus Security Today.


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