Haifa's Rambam Hospital has taken security to a new level, raising its standard to institute-wide criteria formulated by Israel, the U.S. and Britain following the al-Qaeda terrorist attack on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.
The initiative was led by the American-Israeli Fund for Cooperation in Science and Technology.
Rambam, one of five Israeli hospitals that participated in development of the criteria, is the first hospital in the world to actually operate according to the institute-level standard.
Part of the project involves a system of push-buttons that can be pressed during emergencies. Since 2005, the system has enabled users to alert the security team in case of public disruptions, violence, fire and departmental collapse.
With the upgrade, the system has been expanded to include all hospital departments and most clinics.
Within a few months, the administration said, an additional 100 buttons will be added, and plans for a central command center within the medical center will be completed as well. A rapid response routine was also developed, to be practiced daily.
According to a statement by the hospital administration, one of the reasons for the investment was also the disturbing world wide trend toward increasing violence against medical staff. “Our main goal is to provide a security solution and to improve the service provided to the medical staff during emergencies and to visitors in general,” explained Yariv Ben-David, assistant head of security at Rambam Health Care Campus (RHCC).
Funding to implement the new standard was provided by the American-Israel Fund for Cooperation in Science and Technology and the support of the Rotem Company, a project management firm that helped establish the system. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other security and medical institutions in the U.S. are closely watching the implementation of the program to assess its viability for American applications.
Immediately following the 9/11 attack, Staten Island University Hospital in New York City implemented an Israeli security system that included a special team headed by the descendant of Tel Aviv's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff.