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Paul Sarnese, CHPA, MSE,MAS,CAPM

Secured & Prepared Consulting

Connect with Paul Sarnese on LinkedIn

Paul Sarnese, CHPA, MSE,MAS,CAPM Owner/Founder
Secured & Prepared Consulting

Paul M. Sarnese, the accomplished owner of Secured & Prepared Consulting, is a renowned expert in healthcare safety, security, and emergency management. With notable credentials as a Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator and a Certified Associate Project Manager, Paul's dedication to excellence is evident throughout his extensive career. As the Past President of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, he has been at the forefront of shaping industry standards and best practices. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Paul was honored as the 2022 Campus Safety-Healthcare Security Director of the Year.

Paul's expertise extends beyond his professional achievements. He played a crucial role as a Technical Advisor to the Joint Commission in the development of Workplace Violence Prevention Standards, demonstrating his commitment to creating safer environments for healthcare professionals. With a comprehensive background directing safety, security, emergency management, and operations in large health systems, including his recent role as Assistant Vice President of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness for a prominent New Jersey health system, Paul has consistently demonstrated his ability to lead and manage complex initiatives.

Equipped with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Rowan University, a Master's Degree in Safety Engineering from Warren University, and a Master's in Administrative Science from Farleigh Dickinson University, Paul possesses a diverse educational foundation that complements his practical expertise. His contributions have been widely recognized through his publications in esteemed journals such as Campus Safety Magazine, govCIO Outlook, Total Security Advisor, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Journal of Emergency Nursing, Security Management Magazine, HcPro, Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, and Hospital Safety and Security Management. In 2020, Paul's significant contribution to the healthcare security, safety, and risk management professions was honored with the prestigious Russell L. Colling Literary Award from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.Driven by his passion for improving safety and security in healthcare, Paul founded Secured & Prepared Consulting, aiming to provide unrivaled expertise and solutions to healthcare organizations. With his wealth of knowledge, industry recognition, and dedication to advancing the field, Paul continues to make a lasting impact on healthcare safety, security, and emergency management. Thank you for joining us again today, Paul. As past President of the IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety) your consulting firm Secured and Prepared Consulting quite obviously has many clients and success stories in that space.

We understand; however, that you also provide services to many other types of facilities such corporate offices, houses of worship, retail, schools, and that you were recently engaged by a Hotel/Resort. It seems to us that there are many similarities regarding the day-to-day security operations of medical facilities and hotels. Care to elaborate?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, over the summer I had the pleasure of conducting a security assessment for several places of worship and a large elementary school. I was able to quickly identify risks and opportunities for improvement. I was able to assist the church and school administrators to prioritize the recommendations, develop a budget, and prepare an RFP for vendors. I also completed a really cool project. I recently completed an engagement conducting a life safety/OSHA compliance assessment for a national property development corporation that owns resorts throughout the country. The client originally had concerns about my lack of experience in the hospitality industry, but I was able to quickly explain that the hospitality industry and healthcare industry are very similar. They both have customers that depend on property owners to provide a safe and secure environment. Both industries provide overnight accommodations, food services, housekeeping, facilities, and maintenance. Both industries must comply with OSHA and state regulations and be prepared for internal and external situations that could impact operations and the safety of their customers. Both industries must educate and train their staff to respond to medical emergencies and other events. It was a great experience that re-reinforced my skill set can help others outside of the healthcare sector. When I conduct a safety assessment, I first identify the source of truth for the regulations, an example could be O.S.H.A. or state rules, that the organization must comply with. I then apply those regulations when assessing their environment. When I conduct a security assessment, I apply the same concepts of crime prevention and apply the security leading practices to assess access control, surveillance, maintenance, directives, training, lighting, security officer training and deployment, and emergency response. On September 12, 2023, a very tragic incident, indeed, took place at Inspira Medical Center, as reported by the Cherry Hill Courier-Post, where a patient somehow got a gun into the facility and then took his own life. Who better to talk to than Paul Sarnese about this very serious incident at the hospital - your comments in this article were extremely insightful and useful. Please summarize for our readers here your thoughts on this matter.

Paul Sarnese: This was absolutely a tragic event. I cannot comment on the particular details of this event, but I can tell that most hospitals throughout the U.S. have been evaluating weapon screening technologies because guns are so prevalent in the U.S., and we are seeing an increase in mass shooting events. Every hospital that I conducted either a security or a workplace violence assessment this year is now evaluating both weapon screening technologies and the use of RTLS wearable duress buttons. I have deployed people and weapons screening solutions throughout my career. The weapon screening space must be designed appropriately to ensure that client throughput and egress is not negatively impacted. I advise my clients that the chosen solution must be appropriate for the organization’s culture and the surrounding community standards. When an organization commits to investing in security or deploying weapon screening technologies or investing in wearable duress button solution, they are sending a powerful message to their employees and customers that their safety is paramount. Congratulations on your October speaking engagements:
-at the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management webinar -“Healthcare Security Technology; Success Through Location Based Information.”

  • at the National Healthcare HR Summit in Boston concerning Best Practices for Improving Hospital Safety. More info here.

  • at the International Hospital Federation World Hospital Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, discussing Leading Practices to Mitigate Violence in Healthcare. More info here.

For those unable to join you in person, would you like to summarize here the key takeaways of your presentations?

Paul Sarnese: TThe ASHRM webinar was sponsored by Midmark RTLS (Midmark Medical, Dental, Vet Equipment Manufacturer & Supplier), I presented the facts about violence in healthcare, the elements of a successful workplace violence program, new technology that can mitigate violence and how real time location systems, particularly how discreet wearable duress buttons can improve staff safety by reducing the frequency and severity of incidents.  

I was truly honored to be the keynote speaker at the National HR Summit. The audience was comprised of Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Experience Officers. They were incredibly engaged. My presentation discussed the data around violence in healthcare and its impact on the organization. Violence impacts the organization’s reputation, staff wellbeing, recruitment, retention, staff engagement, patient satisfaction, adverse events, and the bottom line. I was also able to share many of the leading practices that I have seen healthcare organizations utilize throughout the world to mitigate workplace violence.  When we, Secured and prepared consulting, are in a unique position as we conduct security or workplace violence assessments throughout the country.  This experience allows us to capture the best mitigation strategies that have been proven to increase the perception of safety and security and to reduce incidents of workplace violence.

For the third year in a row, I was asked to speak at the International Hospital Federation’s World Hospital Congress.  This year it was held in Lisbon, Portugal. I had the pleasure of meeting people from health care systems from eleven different countries. We all share the same concerns about protecting our healthcare heroes. My presentation in Lisbon shared data on violence in healthcare throughout the world and I shared the tremendous resources that are available through the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety ( IAHSS is the only organization that offers a certificate in Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention.  IAHSS has also developed industry guidelines and design guidelines to assist healthcare facilities to provide a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.
I cherish the opportunity to share my knowledge and research with other like-minded individuals and associations.  So, if you know of any upcoming conferences of associations that share the common mission of keeping their facilities, employees, and guests safe and secure, please have them reach out to me at Paul, you have published over thirty times in professional journals. Do you have any upcoming articles coming out?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, I was recently published in the Journal of Radiology Nursing. The peer reviewed article is called Safety Precautions for Radiology Nurses. Unfortunately, we are continuing to see an increase in violence in our healthcare facilities. The article provides insights on leading practices to designing and maintaining a secure space for radiology Nurses to provide their services to the patients they serve.

I was also recently published in the Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, a publication of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.  I collaborated with Carly Richman and Phyllis Worrell The article is titled, Designing Security for a Mega Alternate Care site. The article shared my experience in designing the safety, security, and emergency management plans for one the largest vaccination sites in the country.  I hope that we never have to set up mass vaccination sites again, but I realize that the chances are high that another highly infectious emerging disease will impact us again. My hope is that this article can provide a blueprint for others to follow.

I also have an article that will be coming out in February in the Journal of Healthcare Protection Management.  The article providing leading practices to design and maintain a safe and secure environment to ensure that all LGBTQ+ patients have access to quality healthcare.  The article describes the challenges that our LGBTQ+ patients face and, the unique security challenges that can present themselves to campuses providing services to the LGBTQ+ community. I was also truly honored to be a contributing author on a very significant whitepaper sponsored by the Institute for Homeland Security at Sam Houston State University. The paper is titled The Rise in Workplace violence: Addressing Healthcare’s Greatest Threat. Eric Clay, President of IAHSS lead the effort with contributions from David Corbin, Mel Cortez, Steve Edwards, Bill Marcisz, Bonnie Michelman, Kimberly Urbanek, Brian Uridge and Tony York.

The paper discusses the scale and impact of workplace violence in the US and provides the best practices to prevent and mitigate violence. This is a very comprehensive document that can be used to develop a successful workplace violence program. Thanks again for joining us today, Paul, is there anything else you would like to cover today?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, I have the pleasure of spending a lot of time in Maine conducting workplace violence assessments and supporting our clients. The recent mass shooting really hit home. Unfortunately, we are experiencing more mass shooting events throughout the U.S. The recent tragedies have forced many facility leaders to reflect on their current level of preparedness. I pray that no one ever experiences an active shooter event. There are no requirements for employers to prepare their employees for an active  shooter event, but I believe all employers have a responsibility to train their employees how to recognize the pre-incident indicators and how to respond to an active shooter event.  Employers must choose which model of response that they will teach and then ensure that all employees receive education upon hire and then annually. Many employers have not conducted exercises for fear that the event can cause undue trauma to the staff. When done correctly, active shooter exercises provide an experience and create muscle memory. I am a big proponent for conducting exercises and I have conducted over one hundred active shooter exercises over the last fifteen years. The exercise does not include the use of simulated gunshots and allows for the testing of the plan and employee response.  The fact is that in an emergency, we will respond based on our training and experience. If any of your readers are interested in training their staff and conducting exercise, please have them reach out to me at

We also invite you to read our previous interview with Paul Sarnese. Thank you for joining us today, Paul. It an honor to speak with the Past President of the IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety). Your experience and capabilities in Healthcare Security are second to none. Before discussing your firm, Secured and Prepared Consulting in greater detail, please tell us more about your background.

Paul Sarnese: I began my career as a security officer at a hospital in Camden, New Jersey.  I quickly fell in love with two things-one, the security profession and two, my wife Kim who also worked at the hospital. I believe in being a servant to others and a servant leader to those in your charge. I love the feeling and satisfaction that comes with serving others and creating an atmosphere where people feel welcomed and safe. I had the pleasure of working with great mentors who encouraged me to invest time and energy in my education and knowledge.

I also love to teach, and I have been honored to speak at national and international conferences on subjects like workplace violence and active shooter training and emergency exercise management.  I was truly humbled when I was chosen as the 2022 Campus Safety-Healthcare Security Director of the Year and in the same year I was also chosen as a finalist for the Outstanding Security Performance Awards sponsored by the American Society for Industrial Security.

My passion is reducing workplace violence in healthcare, and I was honored to be chosen to participate as a Technical Advisor to the Joint Commission in developing the new Workplace Violence Prevention Standards.
I worked in the healthcare industry for over 35 years and held numerous leadership positions directing and managing safety, security, emergency management and operations in large health systems. Before I transitioned to full-time consulting, I was the Assistant Vice President of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness for large health system in New Jersey. We read with great interest on your site, “At our healthcare safety and security consulting firm, our mission is to empower healthcare organizations to thrive in a secure and resilient environment. We are dedicated to providing exceptional consulting services, innovative solutions, and expert guidance that help our clients achieve compliance, enhance preparedness, and mitigate risks. By fostering a culture of safety and security, we strive to protect the well-being of healthcare staff, patients, and assets, enabling organizations to focus on their core mission of delivering quality care. With our unwavering commitment to excellence and a client-centered approach, we are driven to be the trusted partner that healthcare organizations rely on for their safety and security needs. Our firm is a trusted industry leader with over 30 years of experience”.  Care to elaborate about this mission statement for your firm?

Paul Sarnese: We take a unique approach to helping healthcare organizations identify and correct vulnerabilities in their workplace violence prevention (WPV) programs. I say unique because as we know, WPV is not just a security issue. We know that if you want to make your team not only feel safer, but be safer, at work then you must assess the sum of the whole. You must complete a physical environment/security assessment, but you also must recognize the other contributing factors such as the organization’s infrastructure, the WPV program, and the clinical components.  We not only identify the opportunities, but we provide proven strategies to address the issues. We typically provide reports to the Senior Leaders, Managers and sometimes even the Board of Directors. Our relationship with our clients lasts well beyond the completion of our engagement. We strive to be the company that you call when you have a question or need safety, security, emergency management and regulatory compliance support.

That is where we come in. If you are a leader and you want to tell your team how important their safety is to you, then call us. There is nothing more powerful than telling your team that you care so much about their safety that you brought in a nurse and a security expert to evaluate your WPV program to improve their safety. Your team provides a wide range of comprehensive services and solutions tailored to address the unique challenges of each client such as: Workplace Violence Assessments, Security Program Development, Security Assessments, OSHA Support, Training, Litigation Support/ Expert Witness Services, Temporary Leadership Support, and even Merger and Acquisition Due Diligence. Please give us an overview of the services provided by Secured & Prepared Consulting.

Paul Sarnese: We help organizations to identify opportunities for improvement to strengthen their workplace violence, safety, security, emergency management and accreditation compliance programs. Every organization has unique needs and risks. We tailor our assessment and program development activities to meet the client’s needs. An acute care hospital has different workflows and risks than a long-term care facility, which is different in a behavioral health facility which is different than a school or church. We have decades of experience in navigating the rules and regulations of accrediting and health and safety enforcement organizations. Because of our experience and backgrounds, we can provide valuable insight for attorneys to support their cases and their clients. Your team at Secured & Prepared Consulting, is most impressive as well, Paul, as it includes healthcare professionals with real world experience in healthcare settings – we don’t always see that. Please tell us more.

Paul Sarnese: Our team of experienced professionals has real life experience in healthcare. We have all worked for very large and complex healthcare organizations that provide pre-hospital, hospital, long term care, outpatient, and homecare/community services. Because of our experience, we know how to navigate the culture of organizations, to build strong relationships, and to create a collaborative approach to solving the challenges that we face. Our team has created very successful departments and programs that included: workplace violence programs, security programs, accreditation readiness programs, Environment of Care programs, drug diversion programs, safe patient handling programs, patient observation program, identification and management of aggressive behavior training, suicide risk prevention programs, and emergency preparedness programs and exercise development. We created many programs that have been recognized as “best in class” and “leading practices” that have been emulated by other healthcare facilities throughout the world. Some examples include our violence prevention program, K9 program, the design and capabilities of a corporate security operations center, a people and weapons screening process, the deployment of amnesty boxes, the use of public view monitors, providing security escorts for homecare staff and community workers, the deployment of a mobile app to provide emergency management information to all employees, and the deployment of personal duress system for all staff members who work in the community. Congratulations, Paul, on recently being featured in Chief Healthcare Executive where you discussed how hospitals can improve safety by talking to the employees. That seems to make perfect sense to us. Please share with our readers your thoughts on this?

Paul Sarnese: Thank you, it is always an honor to be able to connect with leaders and problem solve together. My thoughts are that contrary to popular belief, workplace violence in healthcare is not merely a security issue. Workplace violence is far more complex and systemic and can’t be corrected by looking at security alone. That is what makes our approach so special. We assess all the components of the system, we look at security, we evaluate the core infrastructure, we have a nurse on the team that evaluates clinical WPV risk, and we capture the voice of the customer in a way that most don’t because of our approach. Many organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars on physical security solutions that do not contribute to staff feeling safe. By capturing the voice of the customers, we can help organizations prioritize their activities and allocation of resources. Any recent projects you would like to talk about or testimonials you care to mention?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, thank you for asking. We recently completed a WPV assessment for a large healthcare system on the east coast. This was a huge win for both the local sites and the health system. The local sites had the opportunity to have an individualized assessment, while the system had the opportunity to identify infrastructure needs and develop a standardized approach.

The feedback that we received was amazing. First, I can’t even begin to tell you what a powerful message you are sending to your team when you hire a team like ours to come in and do an assessment with the intention of improving their safety. There were countless times where staff would literally well up with tears and say thank you, I am so happy that the organization is making this a priority. Second, we constantly heard, “wow, this assessment is far exceeding any my expectations…” That is 100% attributed to our approach. Again we are doing this different than everyone else, we are not merely assessing security, our team is diverse as we intentionally bring a security expert and a Quality, Accreditation, Risk nurse to complete the evaluation because we recognize the complexity of the issues were are addressing. Lastly, we provide support after the assessment is complete. We report out to local senior leaders, as well as corporate senior leaders, followed by aiding in strategy implementation as needed. The headlines continue to be very troubling and scary. Violence is, unfortunately, on the rise where we live, work, shop, pray, visit our doctors, and send our kids to school.  What are your thoughts Paul regarding “best practices” that should be in place to help mitigate risk and keep people as safe as possible.

Paul Sarnese: First and foremost, organizations must evaluate their WPV program and infrastructure. Do you have a committee? If so, how is it functioning, who does it report to, what data are you collecting etc. Second, the organization must evaluate the security systems they have in place. As I mentioned above, WPV is not a security issue, however security is a significant part of the foundation and is a key to the organization’s success. Lastly, the organization must evaluate the clinical components of the WPV program as well as obtain the voice of the customer.

Organizations certainly can do the evaluation themselves, however I would tell you that most organizations do not have the expertise and or resources to complete a thorough assessment. The internal assessment often lacks objectivity because familiarity tends to dim the vision, and the internal assessment does not portray to the team that the organization is as committed as an external evaluation.  Therefore, best practice really is to hire an external resource, obtain a comprehensive assessment of the sum of all the parts that contribute to WPV, and then follow through on creating strategic objectives that will improve your team’s sense of safety as well as their actual safety. In short, I am saying, let us do what we are the best at, which is identifying your opportunities and providing strategic solutions. And allow your operational leaders the opportunity to do what they are the best in the world at, operationalizing the plan. While healthcare security is, of course, your main focus, do you provide services to other types of facilities: houses of worship, schools, retail, corporate offices, for example?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, we have provided services to large health systems, rural hospitals, critical access facilities, long term care facilities, pediatric hospitals, behavioral health facilities, outpatient centers, ambulatory surgical centers, home health, hospice, corporate locations, warehouses, school systems, colleges, and places of worship. We live in a litigious society for sure. Please tell us Paul about Expert Analysis And Testimony Services you provide.

Paul Sarnese: Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen and there are victims who suffer injury or worse at work or while receiving a service.  We have assisted many attorneys in preparing for their cases. Because of our experience and depth of knowledge, we can quickly determine the source of truth for the regulation, guideline, or industry standards that the case may be judged against. We also assist in the review of documents, interrogatories, and depositions to assist the attorneys in developing the line of questions and case strategy.  We have provided clinical expertise on cases involving assaults on staff, patient suicides, and resident elopements, as well as cases involving claims of inadequate or negligent security. We seem to be seeing a trend Paul, of security consultants, who have historically been on the “physical security” side, broadening their offerings into cybersecurity as well.  It seems to be quite logical as all systems and platforms need to be in sync with each other to maximize security.  Your thoughts on this, Paul ?

Paul Sarnese: Absolutely agree, I truly believe that we will continue to see more convergence of physical security and IT security. Security practitioners must involve and collaborate with IT to get things done.  Security practitioners must understand how to operate within the organizations IT new product, change management and purchasing processes. I always recommend that my clients establish a monthly cadence of meetings between physical security and IT security. This ensures that both departments are aware of upcoming projects, network requirements, potential vulnerabilities and risk as well as sharing the latest technology trends.  We work with several independent experts that can provide cybersecurity, Technical Surveillance Counter Measures and Privacy Protection Audits. I have had the pleasure of participating in several audits and find it fascinating. Any mentors that you might want to mention here, Paul, people that helped and supported you on your journey?

Paul Sarnese: Thank you for asking, yes there are many mentors that have influenced my career path. Dr. James Espinosa, MD, shared the passion for mitigating violence in the emergency department and inspired me to conduct research and publish my findings to assist other organizations to improve their safety, security and emergency management programs.  Russell F. Jones, PhD, CHPA,CPP | LinkedIn inspired me and supported me throughout my career. He instilled the notion of always paying it forward and mentoring young professionals to give back to our profession and industry.  Edwin Steinmetz | LinkedIn sparked my interest in security technology and taught me about the current and future technologies being used to secure facilities and the IT infrastructure and systems.  Mitch Gesinger, MSN, RN, CJCP, CPHQ | LinkedIn has been instrumental in teaching me the process of conducting  compliance audits and the logistics required to successfully manage large complex consulting engagements. Phyllis Worrell | LinkedIn ignited my interested in emergency management and taught me how to create response plans, emergency exercises and manage events by utilizing the incident command system.  Drew Neckar, MBA, CPP, CHPA, CPD, CTM | LinkedIn ;William Marcisz, JD CPP CHPA | LinkedIn; and Felix P. Nater. CSC | LinkedIn have been instrumental in my transition into full time consulting by providing guidance and support. Are there any upcoming speaking engagements or events you would like to mention?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, on September 15, I will be speaking with John Demming, CPP, CHPA | LinkedIn at a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine webinar entitled, Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Security: Better Protection Through Technology | Johns Hopkins Events (

In October, I will be speaking at the National Healthcare HR Summit in Boston concerning Best Practices for Improving Hospital Safety. and later in October at the International Hospital Federation World Hospital Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, discussing Leading Practices to Mitigate Violence in Healthcare. Thanks again for joining us today, Paul, we look forward to more updates from you about your activities during the year. Is there anything else you would like to mention today?

Paul Sarnese: Yes, thank you for this great opportunity to discuss the services that we offer. Unfortunately, many organizations have not appropriately invested the time, energy and resources needed into their organization’s workplace violence prevention, safety, security or emergency management programs. The result of this lack of investment creates issues with recruiting, staff retention, staff engagement and satisfaction, costly settlements and non-compliance with rules and regulations. We, Secured and Prepared Consulting, can help by identifying the opportunities and providing cost effective proven strategies to reduce the risks to the organization.