Windsor Regional installs weapons detectors in ERs
October 24, 2023
WINDSOR, Ont. – Weapons detectors were installed in the emergency rooms at both Windsor Regional Hospital campuses in mid-October and just a few days later, they had already discovered items that are not welcome at the hospital. “We have found a couple of knives have been confiscated,” president and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital David Musyj told CTV News. “We also found some other items that could be used for inappropriate uses.”
The decision to implement the technology follows incidences of weapons brought into the emergency department, including four separate incidents in the past year involving guns and knives. These are incidents WRH was made aware of because the weapon was discovered following the patient’s entry and does not include any concealed weapons WRH was not aware of over the same period.
ER visitors don’t have to empty their pockets when entering because the Evolv Detector System uses sensor technology along with artificial intelligence to disclose any items that may be viewed as a threat.
“If something is legal we will save it for the individual,” Musyj said. “When they leave the department we will give it back to them.”
However, if it’s an item that is deemed illegal proper measures will be taken. Musyj says the items were brought into the hospital without malicious intent.
The machines were deemed necessary for the protection of hospital staff and visitors following four separate incidents in the past year involving guns and knives.
“It’s a different security posture around the world and unfortunately that’s the reality of the day,” said CTV News chief safety expert Chris Lewis, who was surprised Windsor Regional Hospital was the first in Canada to implement this type of security system and believes other hospitals will follow suit.
“Going into courthouses, going into government buildings, it’s all changed so it only makes sense that hospitals follow that.”
Musyj says the detector has multiple layers of sensitivity and they’ll be working to find the right sensitivity.
“I would rather have a false positive identification than possibly [having something] in the department that got through the machine,” he said.
Musyj wants visitors to be aware of what they bring to the hospital to ensure fast passage.
“Leave them at home. Leave them in your vehicle,” he said. “Leave them somewhere else but don’t come into the hospital with them. Again, the hospital is a setting to heal people in a safe manner.”
Earlier in October, WRH deployed the Evolv Weapons Detection System, which uses powerful sensor technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to provide safer, more accurate threat detection at unprecedented volume and speed.
This system designed by Evolv Technology, a leader in AI-based weapons detection security screening, allows staff, patients, and visitors to proceed through the ED entrance without always having to open bags or empty pockets. The AI technology distinguishes between items that might be a threat, such as a gun or a knife, and most everyday items individuals might be carrying.
This is unique in that typical metal detection screening systems at workplaces, hospitals, schools, airports, sports stadiums, and other venues require the individual to remove most metal objects prior to screening.
This was an important factor in the decision for WRH to move forward with the Evolv Technology product as it permits swift identification of threats without interrupting and delaying the entrance of patients seeking medical attention.
People who are pregnant, have implanted medical devices, or use mobility devices (i.e. canes, walkers, and wheelchairs) can pass through the system safely and this technology does not use face recognition at all. The decision to proceed with the technology was made with the support of the JHSC and after consultation with the Windsor Police Service, and represents a significant, proactive step in protecting any individual working at WRH, being cared for at WRH, or visiting WRH.
“The Emergency Department is a pivotal component of our hospital, often witnessing heightened emotions and urgent cases. By integrating the Evolv Detector System, we’re ensuring an added layer of security, thus enhancing the sense of safety for everyone present,” states Musyj. The technology also ensures individual privacy, operating without storing or misusing personal data. Signage will be in place at the entrances of both Emergency Departments (Ouellette and Met Campus) informing those entering about the presence of the technology.
Following a review of the technology, WRH will consider using it in other high-traffic areas of its hospital campuses.