How Essentia Health’s new safety screening will work

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 9:32 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- While Essentia Health’s St. Mary’s Medical Center emergency department prepares to start their newest safety procedures next week, we walk you through what you can expect to change.

Right when you walk through the entrance of the emergency department, you will see a metal post mounted to the wall.

“Basically, the device is just looking for and detecting any unauthorized weapons,” said Michael Ramstack, the Senior Director of Security at Essentia Health.

The device is a metal detector, which is meant to create an added layer of protection for staff and visitors inside the hospital.

“Our goal here is to be proactive,” said Ramstack. “That’s really our intent with this.”

Ramstack says it is easy to use and only takes a few seconds.

But before you can start the security screening, you have to place all of your personal items on a shelf next to the machine for inspection.

If you do not remove any belongings that contain metal, an alarm will go off.

“Then, they’ll be required to stand on a mat that’s in front of the device,” said Ramstack.

You are then asked to turn around in a counterclockwise circle for 15 seconds.

One you are cleared; you can enter the emergency department.

“It’s a relatively quick process,” said Ramstack. “We believe the procedures we have in place will make it relatively easy and relatively quick for our patients and visitors coming into the ED.”

However, Essentia leaders say if you are caught with any weapons, like a knife, gun, or pepper spray, it will be confiscated and disposed of.

Ramstack says there will be a secondary screening process for those who are unable to perform the security screening, like patients who need immediate care or those in wheelchairs.

That secondary screening will be done using a handheld wand.

Essentia will start with this new safety measure at their emergency department next Tuesday and plans to implement it across all of their campuses in the future.

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