Security measures in the veterinary clinic

February 14, 2019
Wayne Usiak, AIA, NCARB
Wayne Usiak, AIA, NCARB

Wayne Usiak, AIA, is a senior partner of Wayne Usiak and Associates/BDA Architecture P.C. The firm has completed more than 500 small-, mixed-, and large-animal practices. Among the facilities are three Veterinary Economics Hospital of the Year Award winners. Usiak is a member of the Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board.

Protect your practice inside and out with these steps.

Your staff and physical building are key assets of your practice, so you'll want to take every action to ensure their safety. We asked veterinary architect and HospitalDesign360 conference speaker Wayne Usiak, AIA, what measures he puts in place when designing a clinic.

Keep an eye in the sky

In addition to providing evidence as to what happened after the fact, security cameras also act as a preventative. Usiak says the mere presence of surveillance hardware will deter those with bad intentions away from your practice.

Light it up

Ever notice that most buildings are bathed in light after hours? It's not on accident.

"Exterior lighting is absolutely the best thing you can do to discourage anything from happening," Usiak says.

Another win for deterrence.

Security angles

Video cameras and panic buttons: Designing with security in mind.

Enhance security with video surveillance in your veterinary clinic design or renovation.

Does a lack of security at your veterinary clinic make you an easy target for violence?

Cordon it off

One more for the exterior: Consider fencing in the employee parking lot. Installing a gate will enhance the lot's security by prohibiting access to those with no business in the area.

Lock it up

With the increase of 24-hour and emergency clinics, additional layers of security should be considered for when the practice isn't empty. For instance, what do you do if someone is approaching the hospital at 3 a.m. ... without a pet?

"We will provide vestibule entrances where after hours ... the second set of doors is controlled by the receptionist with an electric lock," Usiak says.

Don't panic (unless you need to)

In a time marked by random violence, it doesn't hurt to have every contingency covered. This is why Usiak recommends clinics to have invulnerable "safe rooms." These spaces are characterized by deadbolt locks and telephone access to contact authorities, he says.

Watch the video for more.

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