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OmnilertMar 27, 2024 4:35:42 PM7 min read

AI Visual Gun Detection Helps Keep Healthcare Workers and Patients Safe from Active Shooters and Gun Violence

According to an insurance industry report, active shooter incidents in hospitals have been on a steady rise for the past two decades, to the point where they are now a monthly occurrence in hospitals nationwide. That same report points to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study showing that healthcare and human service workers are five times as likely to be attacked or assaulted on the job when compared to other occupations. This is an alarming trend that is going to require layers of technology to protect the lives of the medical professionals who are saving other people’s lives every day.

How AI Gun Detection Can Protect Healthcare Workers and Their Patients

AI visual gun detection technology has been keeping hundreds of schools, healthcare facilities, universities, retail stores, commercial buildings, and other facilities safe from active shooters. In the healthcare industry in particular, this technology can deliver significant advantages due to the high-volume of traffic and the often-expansive campus around hospitals, clinics and other medical offices. To understand how this vital layer of technology can be used, let’s take a look at where the most common locations for hospital shootings are taking place. 

  • Emergency Department
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Parking Lot
  • Patient Rooms
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

In every one of these locations, AI visual gun detection can make a difference in the event of an active shooter. In less than a second, the system can visually detect a weapon and once verified, it can initiate an extensive and automatic response such as lock doors, call police, set the facility on lock down, alert people in the facility and more. In fact, some AI gun detection technologies, such as Omnilert Gun Detect, can also provide situational intelligence on the shooter’s location at any given time to provide valuable information to first responders as well as those in harm’s way. And while the above list of locations applies to a hospital, it is easy to see how AI visual gun detection can also help protect smaller clinics and medical providers who also have lobbies, hallways, patient rooms, and exterior parking lots and garages.

Another benefit of AI visual gun detection technology is that it can be easily integrated with existing cameras. If you think about all the cameras installed in and around a healthcare facility, it’s easy to see that this technology offers protection that expands beyond just the walls of a facility. For example:

  • Outdoor cameras – When installed in cameras outside a healthcare facility, AI visual gun detection can identify weapons before the shooter has entered a building. This means that doors can be automatically locked to block the entrance to the shooter and police and onsite security can be summoned to stop the threat from doing harm either in the parking lot, parking garage or another area of the facility.
  • Indoor cameras – If a gunman gains access to a facility, history has shown that they often brandish their weapon while walking through a hallway or stairwell. While hospitals are not allowed to have cameras in patient rooms due to privacy laws, they typically do have cameras in lobbies, entrances, exits, stairwells, and hallways. As soon as a shooter shows their weapon in any of these areas where a camera is equipped with AI gun detection technology, the system sends an alert immediately to a designated security team. One unique feature of Omnilert’s gun detection solution is that this alert comes with both an image and video clip of the potential shooter to provide more clarity and context for first responders. Once the threat has been verified, all it takes is a click of a button to initiate an immediate response to stop the shooter before they make their way further in the healthcare facility.  


Situational Intelligence is Key in Large Facilities

Let’s face it, most hospitals and other healthcare facilities are large and often feature winding hallways and multiple wings. If a gunman gains access to the interior of a facility, it could be difficult to locate them when first responders arrive. And considering that a typical active shooter incident lasts less than 5 minutes, every second counts. That is where real-time situational intelligence becomes a game changer – and it can be the difference in whether lives are lost or saved. As mentioned above, some of the active shooter solutions on the market can provide this capability, which can deliver real time insights on the shooter and their location throughout the entire event. This means that:

  • First responders will arrive with valuable information on the shooter – what they look like, what gun they have and where they were last seen. This allows first responders to rush immediately to the location the shooter– as opposed to not having any idea which floor, hallway or building the gunman may be in.
  • Knowing where a shooter is at any given time can also enable first responders to provide evacuation routes to people inside the hospital who are not in harm's way. For example, if the shooter is in the southern part of a building, first responders can help those in the northern part of the building safely leave the building.


The Future of Healthcare Safety


32% of healthcare professionals believe the odds of an active shooter incident occurring at their facility is high or very high. With the adoption of AI visual gun detection, these medical professionals can now have the peace of mind knowing that the place they work is being monitored 7 days a week for any weapon inside and outside the facility. This monitor is not human (it’s AI) which means it will never get tired or distracted and it can monitor as many cameras as a hospital has, all simultaneously. When you add this layer of security to the infrastructure already in place at hospitals, this represents the future of healthcare safety where the ones entrusted with saving our lives every day can do so in a safe environment for themselves and their patients.