2012 Security 500 Leader Profiles
Alan Robinson, Director, Protection, Security Service, Emergency Management
“All the greatestplans and ideas in the world do not matter if you do not have a well-prepared team in place to identify risks, respond to events and have the right attitude toward helping others. We have that great team and that is the key to our security program’s success,” says Alan Robinson, Director, Protection, Security Service, Emergency Management for Atlantic Health System.
With more than nine million square feet of physical plant and campuses spread across New Jersey at four major acute facilities and other sub-acute locations, (including a rehabilitation center used by the New York Jets football team), the challenges are many. His team includes more than 100 security officers, investigators, fire safety, emergency management and contract law enforcement officers. “We build ten foot fences and then they give us twelve foot problems,” says Robinson.
He considers all hazards from the high volumes of visitors to weather to terror. “Our challenges can be simplified into words like brand or compliance, but protecting the brand and being compliant require an aggressive level of training and preparedness to identify and eliminate risks as much as possible as well as to respond to events effectively when they do occur,” says Robinson.
“We are in a very fluid and unpredictable environment that moves at a high speed. We prepare for enterprise risk management and security through training. We constantly look at what we do well and what we do not do so well. Second, we study other hospitals in the U.S. to learn about their best practices and adopt what works. Third, we prepare for every contingency from power outages to active shooters,” explains Robinson.
Workplace violence is rampant in the healthcare profession and at the top of his critical issues list. “The numbers say it all. Seventy percent of the workers in this industry are female and the number one cause of death for females at work is homicide. “I start every day with these statistics. We treat workplace violence the same way the hospital treats infections; they have to be controlled and eliminated. We look hard at the metrics,” says Robinson. Atlantic Health’s workplace violence incidents are equal to the national average in healthcare as they face the same issues with patient interaction as other facilities.
Their success is in two key areas. Through training on self defense, self escape, protecting oneself and avoiding harm, they have reduced the impact of those incidents on high-risk staff e.g., nurses, behavioral health and developmental disabilities. Therefore, they do not have a meaningful percentage of employees on workers compensation or on sick leave as a result of workplace violence. Second, employee surveys, including whether they feel safe and secure at work, are consistently positive.
“By training and preparing our employees for the risk of workplace violence, they feel empowered and secure in the workplace. We also have a significant program supporting them from closed circuit television cameras, panic alarms and facial recognition to uniformed and plain clothes officers throughout the facilities,” explains Robinson.
Emergency management, especially terror, is their second critical issue. “Will there be another 9/11? How will terrorists meet or exceed those attacks? One way is to go after our children and an attack on a children’s hospital is a viable threat. Anything that hurts children brings the shock and awe of 9/11,” explains Robinson. Atlantic Health System has conducted drills with the Israeli Defense Force to test their emergency plans and risk strategies. They also met with their trauma doctors and conducted an exercise on what a real terror experience would involve. “We changed our facilities, processes and training as a result of those meetings. They were incredibly educational and valuable for us,” notes Robinson.
The organization also focuses on preventing infant abduction. “You can give out stats all day, but security is anecdotal. Hospital security is a brand issue and infant abduction is a brand killer in our industry. We have trained and retrained the nursing and security staff,” explains Robinson. “We tell our employees that if they don’t take security seriously, no one else will either. We not only need to have security processes and training, we need to apply them consistently as an organization,” he explains.
The company CEO expects that all of stakeholders, including patients, employees, volunteers, student and visitors who visit an Atlantic Health facility will be safe and secure. “Every CEO needs to remember that security is not a silo. It is embedded in every aspect of healthcare delivery and it must be integrated into all of the operations in the organization to best reduce risk and improve security,” says Robinson.
When not working he is devoted to teaching parents and children how to avoid being victims of child predators. Devoted to physical fitness and combative martial arts, he is a third degree black belt. He is very proud of his two sons, who are a West Point graduate and Army Ranger and a law student at Seton Hall University. Robinson most enjoys the different challenges every day. “Challenges make you better at what you do,” he shares.
If he were not a CSO, he would work full time teaching others how to protect children from being sexually exploited by child predators.
• Revenue/Budget: Confidential
• Security Budget: Confidential
• Critical Issues:
– Patient-Based Workplace Violence
– Regulatory Compliance/Offsite Facilities
– Open Visitation/Overnight Stays
• Asset Protection/Loss Prevention
• Brand/Product Protection
• Business Continuity
• Corporate Security
• Disaster Recovery
• Emergency Management/Crisis Management
• Fire Safety
• Physical Security/Facilities
• Regulatory Compliance
• Workforce/Executive/Personnel Protection