written by Chuck Day, Director of Security & Communications at Village On The Isle
One question that comes up often when asked what I do for a living is, “WHY DO THEY NEED A SECURITY DEPARTMENT IN A Continuing Care Retirement Community?” First of all, I explain that the Security Department and Communications Department work closely together. We currently have a total of 16 employees in both departments, which include full, part-time and pool positions. They all work together to keep retired residents in our Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing facility safe & sound.
The Communications Department consists of five staffers that are assigned strictly to the Communications area and have the awesome responsibility of monitoring video cameras, answering the telephones and professionally servicing each call to obtain the best results for each caller. This multi-line phone system receives calls from outside the complex along with other employees and all residents that need assistance. This may not seem too hard but the phone system is quite busy. It also has an extra safety item built into it… if a resident needs assistance in an emergency and they are able to knock their phone off the hook, the operator must be able to recognize this and dispatch assistance to that resident. They also monitor the in-house nurse call system. This system is campus wide and they are responsible for dispatching assistance to the location of the alarm. The operators also monitor the fire alarm system and are responsible for dispatching personnel in a timely manner. As you can see, a lot of effort goes into making sure our retirees are safe.
Just to give you a little idea of the volume of calls they handle, in 2011 we received and dispatched to the nursing staff 13,799 nurse call lights, 9682 phone calls requesting a nurse or CNA and 3003 phone off-the-hook situations. These numbers do not include all the outside phone calls, in-house calls, visitors and vendors entering the building or calls for work orders to maintenance and housekeeping.
The Security Department, which consists of 11 full-time, part-time and pool personnel, also does a great job at Village On The Isle. They realize that their primary job is to provide safety for the retired residents, guests and employees along with their property and the property of Village On The Isle. They are also charged with assisting the residents, guest and other employees in whatever manner needed. They conduct routine patrols of the interior of the buildings, the exterior grounds including parking lots, storage areas, etc. They are the ones turning lights on and off when needed, opening Independent Living apartments when the residents forget their keys, assisting residents with packages and small maintenance repairs when housekeeping and maintenance are not on the premises. These security positions are staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. They assist emergency medical technicians on property by ensuring they are getting to the location in which they are needed without delay. They respond to wander guard alarms, monitor the parking areas, issue tickets for parking violations, direct traffic for special details and they all need to possess the skills to relieve the operators for breaks and occasional shift coverage at the communications desk. If apartment or mailbox keys are lost, they are trained to make replacement keys. If a resident is having problems with a telephone or answering machine, they make their best effort to correct the situation. They also respond to and investigate missing property, log found property and have been known to investigate unusual persons or circumstances.
So to answer the original question, “Is there a need for Security in a retirement community?” The answer is…YES! In addition to their regular routine rounds and patrols and assigned duties, they have also responded to more than 10,000 additional assists and assignments. We are all proud and thankful for both of these departments!