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National Preparedness Month

Q & A With Our Manager of Safety, Security and Emergency Management

In recognition of National Preparedness Month, we sat down with Beth McGinnis, our manager of safety, security and emergency management, to learn more about safety and security measures at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, and to get some tips and tricks on how to adequately prepare for an emergency.

As the manager of our security, safety and emergency management department, what are your team’s primary responsibilities?

Our purpose is to provide a secure and safe environment for everyone who visits the Portland Shriners Hospital, including patients, visitors, staff, and the facility as a whole. Everything we do revolves around preventing, mitigating, and resolving threats and hazards at the hospital in a trauma-informed manner.

The hospital has a great responsibility to ensure the safety of our spaces, people and resources every day. Our security program is our first level of response, and we must be prepared and equipped to support our staff in a time of need and to connect with outside resources. Security is a team sport! We need everyone in our community to be vigilant, empathetic and mindful, so I always encourage people to say something if they see something suspicious.

What would you like patients and families to know about our security program at the Portland Shriners Hospital?

We are a service-oriented team that strives to contribute positively to the hospital experience for our patients and staff. If you ever have a concern about your personal safety while at the hospital, my door is always open. Our security officers are very approachable, and department managers are always able to refer concerns quickly. We are a certified IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety) program for health care security, and their high standards must be maintained. To ensure the effectiveness of our program, our work is grounded in industry best practices.

As a team, what are some highlights to your jobs in the security department?

First of all, we all love meeting patient families when we handle check-ins at the front desk! We also thrive on supporting safety plans for employees and patients – it feels good to know that we are directly helping someone who needs it. We work directly with staff members to ensure that they have the necessary skills to respond with de-escalation, and doing this type of training is very rewarding. We also love working with our local partners in public safety.  

Do you have any tips for our readers for keeping themselves safe and helping maintain security at the hospital?  

It’s important to remember that we’re all on the same team! When at the hospital, be a partner in supporting a healing environment by using respectful communications.

At home, it’s also incredibly important to gather essential items in case an emergency were to happen. Access a Preparedness Kit Checklist to use at home!

Lastly, for families with kids who are experiencing mobility issues or physical differences, preparing for an emergency can be a little daunting. I recommend completing an Emergency Information Form for your child, which will help ensure that necessary medical care is provided to children in the event of an emergency. View the Emergency Information Form.

Beth McGinnis

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