The State Hospital

The State Hospital, Carstairs, Lanark ML11 8RP
Phone: 01555 840293 Fax: 01555 840024 email:

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Public Safety


In this section:


Contingency planning

The likelihood of any event affecting public safety is low.  Security is a key aspect of the service provided by the Hospital and forms an integral part of the clinical care provided. Contingency planning forms our security arrangements and involves multi-agency exercises being held every three years with partner organisations such as the police, fire and ambulance service.  Additionally, a review of policy, practice and physical security takes place every year by an expert in physical security.

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General queries or concerns

If you have any general queries or concerns relating to security or safety, please call our main switchboard on telephone number 01555 840293 and ask to be put through to a Security Manager.

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Information during an incident

If we are experiencing an incident, we will be in regular contact with the local media.   You should listen to your local radio station for regular updates.   National television may also provide coverage. We will provide regular information via a recorded message.  Just call the Incident Helpline on 01555 840762 for the latest information. Please do not call our main switchboard as we need to keep these lines free.

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About the siren

A Guide for the Local Community

The siren is used to alert and warn both the local community and staff in the event of a patient being unaccounted for. The siren is activated for three reasons only: (1) to warn of a patient being unaccounted for; (2) to signal the ‘all clear’ which means there is no risk to the public; and (3) for testing purposes.

The different sounds of the siren

The siren may be sounded in two different ways:

  • A patient being unaccounted for. 

In the event of this, the siren will sound continuously for eight minutes to alert and warn people in the surrounding area.  By the time you hear the siren, we will already have put our contingency plans into place in partnership with Police Scotland.

  • The “all clear” and Testing.

All Clear - If there has been an activation because of an incident then at some point afterwards the "all clear" will be sounded. The siren will sound three 30-second blasts. This means that the siren will sound for 30 seconds, then go off for 30 seconds - and this will happen three times.

Testing – On the third Thursday of every month, at 1.00pm, the ‘all clear’ signal will sound to test the system. This is the three 30-second blasts.  If we need to test the siren at any other time, we will announce this on local radio and on our Website under the section 'Latest News & Public Notices'. Tests always use the ‘all clear’ signal.

The location of the sirens

There are nine sirens in total; one of these is based within the Hospital grounds, and the other eight are located throughout the local community at Braehead, Carnwath, Carnwath West End, Carstairs Junction, Carstairs Village, Forth, Lanark and Ravenstruther.

What you should do when the siren is activated?

In the event of the siren being activated, we advise that the following steps be taken to ensure your safety.  This will help reassure us that you are safe and will reduce the overall risk and alarm caused:

  • If you are in your house, please remain there.  Lock all your doors and close your windows.  You may also wish to account for family members.
  • If possible, make contact with any elderly neighbours by telephone.  Hearing your friendly voice will help reassure them and will give you the opportunity to explain what they should and should not do.

Please do not

  • Answer the door to anyone you don’t know or recognise.
  • Attempt to approach anyone.
  • Stop and give a lift to anyone you don’t recognise in the event that you are driving when you hear the siren.

Working in partnership

Throughout the incident, we will be working very closely with Police Scotland who will be directly responsible for the effective command, control and co-ordination of the emergency response.  You may notice a large Police presence in the area and much activity. For security and safety reasons, some local roads may be closed.

Keeping you updated

The public are urged to listen to their local radio station for updates.   National television may also provide coverage. Regular information will also be provided via a recorded message.  The public can call the Incident Helpline on 01555 840762 for the latest information. They should not call The State Hospital’s main switchboard during an incident as these lines need to be kept free.

Patient sighting

A full description of the patient, including clothing being worn, will be made available to the Police.  If you have any information with regards to a possible sighting of this patient, you should call the Police immediately using the 999 emergency number.  Under no circumstances should any member of the public approach this individual.

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