March 27, 2020

Engineering and Security Services: Preparation is the key

When COVID-19 first started to hit overseas around five weeks ago, Colin Woodward, Director of Engineering, and his team were observant of it and started to do their planning.

“There was just something in the back of my head that said – prepare,” said Colin.

As soon as the numbers started rising and the virus began to impact Australia and Victoria, the team did some further planning and manipulation of the structures to ensure that the health service had fresh air intakes and air changes through the buildings.

“When the Executive required these things to happen, they already were done. We are making sure our environment is well maintained and sustained,” Colin said.

Earlier this week, with the rise of numbers and concerns, the Engineering team initiated the further plan, having team members at dedicated campuses stay at those campuses.

“We have engineering team members across all campuses who now stay there and report daily on any issues, with Craigieburn Centre having an engineering team member present from Monday,” he explained.

Additionally, the team has split into Team A and Team B, with Team A working from 8 am to 4.30 pm and Team B working from 3.30 pm until midnight.

“This system gives us better coverage. Part of that master planning is that that the engineering team will now go into clinical spaces only if there is a major requirement. The team is now working hard to ensure everything in our environment is working – from lighting, power, air conditioning, medical air, gases and everything that supports the environment is maintained,” he said.

The team also helped come up with a solution around having an external triage area in front of the Emergency Department (ED).

“We have two containers which will be used in front of the ED as a dedicated triage space and that will help control the environment,” Colin explained.

Colin and his team are used to solving urgent issues and dealing with crises, always staying mission focused.

“It can be a burst water main inside a theatre complex or something similar, we always need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, and multiple cases of these,” he said.

“I would like our health service to know that our engineering teams across all campuses¬† are working hard and long hours to make sure their environment is the best it can be to overcome the crisis. Prior preparation prevents poor performance,” he added.

Rimon Hannania, Security Operations Manager, said that the security team is dealing with increased workload, and their day-to-day challenges have changed.

“Some things have changed – we are for example noticing incidents of aggression going down. The staff now have an additional role to oversee the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other equipment, making sure nothing is missing from the sites,” he explained.

The internal controls at the hospital have been increased to prevent these steps. Additional security staff in the afternoon have been deployed to manage the Fever Clinic and ED entrance.

“Additionally, some doors have been locked to better manage the staff movement and access. Our number one priority at this stage is PPE theft prevention. I would like to encourage everyone to report any suspicious behaviour at the hospital for further investigation,” Rimon added.