Safety Always, Everywhere

How Mary Greeley paramedics ensure security at the medical center.

When it comes to safety, Mary Greeley’s Mobile Intensive Care Services (MICS) staff have a role that goes beyond emergency response.

MICS paramedics and EMTs also serve as the hospital’s security team, ensuring patients, visitors and staff are safe while on the medical center campus.

In the early 1980s, staff were tasked with checking locks as a way to stay busy when they weren’t out on ambulance calls.

“Back then there were key stations throughout the hospital,” recalls Rick Stowell, a former paramedic who worked at Mary Greeley from 1982 to 2015. “You would walk around to the key stations, checking the locks and then would punch a card after you checked them. This was how others could verify that you had checked the locks since there were no security cameras back then.”


As modern life has gotten more complex and safety focused, so has Mary Greeley. MICS is now housed in a squad room that with monitors providing views from various security cameras located around the hospital.

In 2018, MICS spearheaded several security measures, including:

  • The west patient tower entrance is now locked 24/7 and is available to employees via badge access. This helps ensure the safety of the patients and the staff in the West Tower. (Oncology patients and visitors are provided temporary passes.)
  • People can enter the hospital from the outside anytime at the Emergency Department (ED), but the doors that allow people access to the ED itself are locked 24/7. Additional security cameras were also recently placed in the ED.
  • The ED can, at times, be a high stress environment, especially on nights and weekends. MICS has partnered with the ISU Police Department, which is now providing a uniformed officer on site during evening hours Wednesday-Saturday.
  • The hospital’s North Addition entrance is locked from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Because of the vulnerability of patients, Birthways and Pediatrics are locked departments that require people to be buzzed in. Israel Family Hospice House has a similar policy.

MICS personnel and other medical center staff go through training to learn strategies to appropriately handle combative patients and visitors. MICS staff also go through active shoot training.

While safety at Mary Greeley is a primary focus, MICS staff also keep people in our community safe. They are a fixture at every home Iowa State football game, as well as men’s and women’s basketball games. They provide medical support for other large scale events in the community, such as Iowa Games.