Managing your crisis efficiently: the H1N1 example

November 20, 2015

During the 2009-2010 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic, healthcare facilities in Quebec overflowed with people seeking the vaccine. Medical staff was to proceed to vaccination according to strict governmental guidelines on age groups, health status and other factors. This situation lengthened the triage process, greatly affecting customer service.

Challenges of a crisis

Healthcare centres experienced a flow of approximately 150+ people every hour, sometimes more depending on the news cycle about the disease. They needed to increase security to properly manage and assist this constant flow of patients. Indeed, frustrations caused by the delays often translated into verbally or physically aggressive behaviour towards medical staff and equipment but also between patients.

As key support, security guards handled a variety of responsibilities:

  • ensure the safety of the staff and vaccines onsite at all times;

  • manage and monitor the flow of people going through the facilities;

  • enforce governmental procedures;

  • restrict access to authorized, screened people;

  • intervene in case of disruption;

  • answer patients’ questions and direct them to the right service.


Reliable skills in a changing environment

Whether they involve a patient, a visitor or an employee, all sorts of events can happen in healthcare facilities. Even more during a pandemic. People are more nervous, and the atmosphere can worsen in very little time. In order to manage unexpected situations effectively, security professionals have to know:

  • triage and evacuation procedures;

  • protocols related to color-coded emergency responses;

  • preventive and remedial measures;

  • visible signs of physical distress, irritation, fear or panic

  • crowd control;

  • parking lot and traffic management.


The GardaWorld expertise

To help its clients cope with this crisis, GardaWorld provided:

  • specific training in crisis management including parking lot management, crowd control and A(H1N1) pandemic basic knowledge;

  • highly trained and proactive security guards who had that training;

  • account managers available around the clock, 24/7;

  • mobile patrols and alarm response units at all times;

  • continuous monitoring from five GardaWorld control centres;

  • guaranteed staffing within two hours;

  • effective recruitment process which on-boarded 300 security professionals in two weeks:

    • stem from a large database of potential employees;

    • supported by a dedicated and organized Human Resources managing recruiting needs;

    • fast security screening with the police department (Sûreté du Québec) thanks to established working relationships – new security permits were granted within 24h.


Through our decentralized account management structure and our internal expertise, GardaWorld offers a turnkey solution customized to our clients’ needs according to their industry segment.


Contact our experts, Leighanne Wilson in Ontario & Maritimes and Scott Young in Western Canada, to learn more about how GardaWorld can help your team focus on the care of patients.