Paul Sarnese CHPA, MSE, MAS, CAPM Talks About Safety and Security at Hospitals, Hotels, Houses-of-Worship and Schools

Paul Sarnese, CHPA, MSE, MAS, CAPM, Owner/Founder Secured & Prepared Consulting

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We are honored to speak today with Paul Sarnese, Owner/Founder, Secured & Prepared Consulting, regarding safety and security at healthcare facilities, hotels, Houses-of-Worship and schools.”

— Martin Eli, Publisher

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, November 13, 2023 / — Thank you for joining us again today, Paul. As past President of the IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety) your consulting firm Secured and Prepared Consulting ( quite obviously has many clients and success stories in that space.

We understand; however, that you also provide services to many other types of facilities such corporate offices, houses of worship, retail, schools, and that you were recently engaged by a Hotel/Resort. It seems to us that there are many similarities regarding the day-to-day security operations of medical facilities and hotels. Care to elaborate?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, over the summer I had the pleasure of conducting a security assessment for several places of worship and a large elementary school. I was able to quickly identify risks and opportunities for improvement. I was able to assist the church and school administrators to prioritize the recommendations, develop a budget, and prepare an RFP for vendors. I also completed a really cool project. I recently completed an engagement conducting a life safety/OSHA compliance assessment for a national property development corporation that owns resorts throughout the country. The client originally had concerns about my lack of experience in the hospitality industry, but I was able to quickly explain that the hospitality industry and healthcare industry are very similar. They both have customers that depend on property owners to provide a safe and secure environment. Both industries provide overnight accommodations, food services, housekeeping, facilities, and maintenance. Both industries must comply with OSHA and state regulations and be prepared for internal and external situations that could impact operations and the safety of their customers. Both industries must educate and train their staff to respond to medical emergencies and other events. It was a great experience that re-reinforced my skill set can help others outside of the healthcare sector. When I conduct a safety assessment, I first identify the source of truth for the regulations, an example could be O.S.H.A. or state rules, that the organization must comply with. I then apply those regulations when assessing their environment. When I conduct a security assessment, I apply the same concepts of crime prevention and apply the security leading practices to assess access control, surveillance, maintenance, directives, training, lighting, security officer training and deployment, and emergency response. On September 12, 2023, a very tragic incident, indeed, took place at Inspira Medical Center, as reported by the Cherry Hill Courier-Post ( where a patient somehow got a gun into the facility and then took his own life. Who better to talk to than Paul Sarnese about this very serious incident at the hospital – your comments in this article were extremely insightful and useful. Please summarize for our readers here your thoughts on this matter.

Paul Sarnese: This was absolutely a tragic event. I cannot comment on the particular details of this event, but I can tell that most hospitals throughout the U.S. have been evaluating weapon screening technologies because guns are so prevalent in the U.S., and we are seeing an increase in mass shooting events. Every hospital that I conducted either a security or a workplace violence assessment this year is now evaluating both weapon screening technologies and the use of RTLS wearable duress buttons. I have deployed people and weapons screening solutions throughout my career. The weapon screening space must be designed appropriately to ensure that client throughput and egress is not negatively impacted. I advise my clients that the chosen solution must be appropriate for the organization’s culture and the surrounding community standards. When an organization commits to investing in security or deploying weapon screening technologies or investing in wearable duress button solution, they are sending a powerful message to their employees and customers that their safety is paramount. Congratulations on your October speaking engagements:
-at the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management webinar -“Healthcare Security Technology; Success Through Location Based Information.”
 at the National Healthcare HR Summit in Boston concerning Best Practices for Improving Hospital Safety. More info here (

 at the International Hospital Federation World Hospital Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, discussing Leading Practices to Mitigate Violence in Healthcare. More info here (

For those unable to join you in person, would you like to summarize here the key takeaways of your presentations?

Paul Sarnese: The ASHRM webinar was sponsored by Midmark RTLS (Midmark Medical, Dental, Vet Equipment Manufacturer & Supplier) ( , I presented the facts about violence in healthcare, the elements of a successful workplace violence program, new technology that can mitigate violence and how real time location systems, particularly how discreet wearable duress buttons can improve staff safety by reducing the frequency and severity of incidents.

I was truly honored to be the keynote speaker at the National HR Summit. The audience was comprised of Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Experience Officers. They were incredibly engaged. My presentation discussed the data around violence in healthcare and its impact on the organization. Violence impacts the organization’s reputation, staff wellbeing, recruitment, retention, staff engagement, patient satisfaction, adverse events, and the bottom line. I was also able to share many of the leading practices that I have seen healthcare organizations utilize throughout the world to mitigate workplace violence. When we, Secured and prepared consulting, are in a unique position as we conduct security or workplace violence assessments throughout the country. This experience allows us to capture the best mitigation strategies that have been proven to increase the perception of safety and security and to reduce incidents of workplace violence.

For the third year in a row, I was asked to speak at the International Hospital Federation’s World Hospital Congress. This year it was held in Lisbon, Portugal. I had the pleasure of meeting people from health care systems from eleven different countries. We all share the same concerns about protecting our healthcare heroes. My presentation in Lisbon shared data on violence in healthcare throughout the world and I shared the tremendous resources that are available through the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety ( IAHSS ( is the only organization that offers a certificate in Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention. IAHSS has also developed industry guidelines and design guidelines to assist healthcare facilities to provide a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.

I cherish the opportunity to share my knowledge and research with other like-minded individuals and associations. So, if you know of any upcoming conferences of associations that share the common mission of keeping their facilities, employees, and guests safe and secure, please have them reach out to me at [email protected]. Paul, you have published over thirty times in professional journals. Do you have any upcoming articles coming out?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, I was recently published in the Journal of Radiology Nursing. The peer reviewed article is called Safety Precautions for Radiology Nurses. Unfortunately, we are continuing to see an increase in violence in our healthcare facilities. The article provides insights on leading practices to designing and maintaining a secure space for radiology Nurses to provide their services to the patients they serve.

I was also recently published in the Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, a publication of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety. I collaborated with

Carly Richman (


Phyllis Worrell (

The article is titled, Designing Security for a Mega Alternate Care site. The article shared my experience in designing the safety, security, and emergency management plans for one the largest vaccination sites in the country. I hope that we never have to set up mass vaccination sites again, but I realize that the chances are high that another highly infectious emerging disease will impact us again. My hope is that this article can provide a blueprint for others to follow.

I also have an article that will be coming out in February in the Journal of Healthcare Protection Management. The article providing leading practices to design and maintain a safe and secure environment to ensure that all LGBTQ+ patients have access to quality healthcare. The article describes the challenges that our LGBTQ+ patients face and, the unique security challenges that can present themselves to campuses providing services to the LGBTQ+ community. I was also truly honored to be a contributing author on a very significant whitepaper sponsored by the Institute for Homeland Security at Sam Houston State University. The paper is titled The Rise in Workplace violence: Addressing Healthcare’s Greatest Threat.

Eric Clay (
President of IAHSS lead the effort with contributions from

David Corbin ( ,

Mel Cortez (

Steve Edwards (

Bill Marcisz ( ,

Bonnie Michelman ( ,

Kimberly Urbanek (

Brian Uridge (


Tony York ( .

The paper discusses the scale and impact of workplace violence in the US and provides the best practices to prevent and mitigate violence. This is a very comprehensive document that can be used to develop a successful workplace violence program. Thanks again for joining us today, Paul, is there anything else you would like to cover today?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, I have the pleasure of spending a lot of time in Maine conducting workplace violence assessments and supporting our clients. The recent mass shooting really hit home. Unfortunately, we are experiencing more mass shooting events throughout the U.S. The recent tragedies have forced many facility leaders to reflect on their current level of preparedness. I pray that no one ever experiences an active shooter event. There are no requirements for employers to prepare their employees for an active shooter event, but I believe all employers have a responsibility to train their employees how to recognize the pre-incident indicators and how to respond to an active shooter event. Employers must choose which model of response that they will teach and then ensure that all employees receive education upon hire and then annually. Many employers have not conducted exercises for fear that the event can cause undue trauma to the staff. When done correctly, active shooter exercises provide an experience and create muscle memory. I am a big proponent for conducting exercises and I have conducted over one hundred active shooter exercises over the last fifteen years. The exercise does not include the use of simulated gunshots and allows for the testing of the plan and employee response. The fact is that in an emergency, we will respond based on our training and experience.

If any of your readers are interested in training their staff and conducting exercise, please have them reach out to me at [email protected].


Paul M. Sarnese, the accomplished owner of Secured & Prepared Consulting, is a renowned expert in healthcare safety, security, and emergency management. With notable credentials as a Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator and a Certified Associate Project Manager, Paul’s dedication to excellence is evident throughout his extensive career. As the Past President of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, he has been at the forefront of shaping industry standards and best practices. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Paul was honored as the 2022 Campus Safety-Healthcare Security Director of the Year.

Paul’s expertise extends beyond his professional achievements. He played a crucial role as a Technical Advisor to the Joint Commission in the development of Workplace Violence Prevention Standards, demonstrating his commitment to creating safer environments for healthcare professionals. With a comprehensive background directing safety, security, emergency management, and operations in large health systems, including his recent role as Assistant Vice President of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness for a prominent New Jersey health system, Paul has consistently demonstrated his ability to lead and manage complex initiatives.

Equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rowan University, a Master’s Degree in Safety Engineering from Warren University, and a Master’s in Administrative Science from Farleigh Dickinson University, Paul possesses a diverse educational foundation that complements his practical expertise. His contributions have been widely recognized through his publications in esteemed journals such as Campus Safety Magazine, govCIO Outlook, Total Security Advisor, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Journal of Emergency Nursing, Security Management Magazine, HcPro, Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, and Hospital Safety and Security Management. In 2020, Paul’s significant contribution to the healthcare security, safety, and risk management professions was honored with the prestigious Russell L. Colling Literary Award from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety. Driven by his passion for improving safety and security in healthcare, Paul founded Secured & Prepared Consulting, aiming to provide unrivaled expertise and solutions to healthcare organizations. With his wealth of knowledge, industry recognition, and dedication to advancing the field, Paul continues to make a lasting impact on healthcare safety, security, and emergency management.

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Martin Eli, Publisher
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Article originally published on as Paul Sarnese CHPA, MSE, MAS, CAPM Talks About Safety and Security at Hospitals, Hotels, Houses-of-Worship and Schools