The International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) announces the release of a new industry guideline titled “Gang Awareness and Activities”. The guideline was initially developed by the IAHSS Council on Guidelines who then sought out and incorporated feedback from the IAHSS membership.

Tom Smith, Chair of the IAHSS Council on Guidelines, stated, “This guideline continues to support our efforts to provide members with tools to reduce the potential for, and mitigate incidents of, violence in healthcare facilities." Earlier this year, The Joint Commission (TJC) published Sentinel Event Alert 59: Physical and verbal violence against health care workers. The content of the IAHSS "Gang Awareness and Activities” guideline will add to and support TJC’s most recent Sentinel Event Alert and assist healthcare organizations as they develop proactive policies and practices to address violent and threatening situations involving our patients, visitors, and staff. 

The guideline opens with the statement that “Gang activity can negatively impact the safe operation of a healthcare facility (HCF).  The threat and risks posed by gangs in the community should be identified, monitored and proactive measures implemented to reduce harmful impact.” The guideline then provides specific elements for identifying and mitigating the potential impact of gang activity in healthcare facilities. 

The IAHSS Council on Guidelines is comprised of volunteer IAHSS members who are seasoned healthcare security professionals and leaders. Each year the Council on Guidelines develops new industry guidelines and reviews existing guidelines on a three-year cycle. All IAHSS guidelines are available electronically to IAHSS members via the IAHSS website. Hardcopies of the guidelines booklet are published annually and available for sale in the IAHSS online store. The new guideline, “Violent Patient / Patient Visitor Management”, can be accessed by the public for a limited time at