STE Innovation Award Gold Medalist: The Hardened Hospital

How historic St. Elizabeth’s transformed six-plus years of work and seven zones of technology into the backbone of an innovative security system


Zone 2 is the secure corridor using the Andover Continuum Access Control System from Schneider Electric, Critical Systems Division. Also covering personal protection are Senstar Flare RF wireless duress transmitters and receivers for the coverage of Zones 1 and 2 and virtually all facilities under patient control. The personal alarm system is able to locate personal duress transmitters with an indoor accuracy on the correct floor within 20 feet of the true location, and on the outside of the buildings, within 50 feet on all sides of the exterior walls. The alarm system must annunciate within three seconds of the activation of an alarm with better than 97-percent accuracy.

Zone 3 encompasses the building’s exterior envelope and includes further access controls including full-height stainless turnstiles and ADA access devices from Boon Edam. A full exchange-based electronic intercom system by TOA was provided for security use to provide private channel communications and full security compliance. Security Zone 3 also includes X-ray machines by L3; and metal detection meeting the FAA “Three Gun Rule,” and National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standard 0601-00 with stainless multi-zone floor standing detectors and handheld detectors by CEIA USA.

CCTV is used in a deliberate security manner and consists of Pelco’s Integral Technologies, digital video Sentry Enterprise recorders, and server management systems using Bosch cameras.

Zone 4 includes liberal use of CCTV on the roof and on the exterior grounds along with specified security lighting, including high pressure sodium wall packs, floors, street lights and roadway luminaires — all by General Electric. Specifications required a minimum of 2 footcandles (FC) at ground level with a max:min ratio not exceeding 5 FC.

Zone 5 consists of a “soft fence” — DeTekion’s taut-wire detection system. Appearing as a physical fence, its “wires” are actually tensioned to allow actuation of alarms by slackening or stretching the tendons of the individual sensing cables. Alarms are received on separate system computers and registered on the access control system while CCTV integration provides alarm video and event storage.

Zone 6 consists of an arched 15-foot fence using First Defence posts. Buried into the ground to prevent tunneling, the fabric is topped with 3/8 inch non-climbable fencing. The mesh is 14-gauge and is difficult to cut with normal hand tools. The fence framework has a high-yield strength of 50,000 psi with the posts meeting ASTM F1083 and complying with rated wind gusts of almost 100 mph. Gate operators in Zone 6 consist of Southern Steel operators with maximum security 9100A locks.

Zone 7 — the final zone — consists of a contraband fence using fence fabric extended to a 22 ft. height. This fence was requested by Dr. Henneberry, who had personal experience at former institutions with weapons and contraband breaching the secure perimeter. This effort provides practical resistance to weapons, drugs or other paraphernalia from crossing into the highly secure patient zones.

Extensive use of fiber transceivers by IFS, AFI and Black Box and fiber optic cabling by Corning was used as communication media for all external communications, which was significant. Digital communications were required for taut-wire monitoring, as well as fiber optic perimeter intrusion detection on the hard fence which is double-looped on the hard perimeter fence. All communications for alarm, monitoring, CCTV and controlled access are established on multiple graphical user workstations throughout the facility.

As digital video recorders are usually extremely sensitive to power shifts and especially loss of power, extensive use of localized APC uninterruptible power supplies are used throughout the project.

Every system within the seven security zones is integrated to establish a unified Command, Control and Communications hierarchy and for implementing new security and life safety strategies.

The Code Approval Process

With original specifications produced in May 2005, a revamping of the specs occurred in June 2006 due to delay in construction funding. While this was a straightforward process, the code approval process during construction from 2006 to April 2010 required substantial consulting engineering services, again performed by PSE. There were design reviews and permitting, functional code review of systems and equipment, fire safety planning, fire/incident evacuation planning with both mass evacuation and shelter-in-place meeting NFPA and IBC I-3, Condition IV requirements. By 2009, evacuation maps and training were also in the planning process.