Patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center emergency room in Visalia will be checked for weapons before being taken back for treatment.
A security guard does the checking using a metal detection wand.
There’s an exception: Anyone with a serious medical emergency who needs immediate attention will be allowed to bypass security and be screened later.
The new policy also applies to family members accompanying the patient, said Dan Allain, director of emergency and critical care.
The purpose of the policy, which started Monday, is to make the emergency department safer for staff and patients.
Allain said that no violent incidents have occurred at the emergency room, but the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut and other high profile incidents nationally prompted the hospital to evaluate security.
Anyone found with guns, knives or other weapons will be asked to take them out of the hospital. That includes those who have a concealed weapons permit.
About 90,000 patients come into the emergency department yearly.