California mental hospital lanyard alarm system poses strangulation risk

Lisle Bloomer/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo of the Napa State Hospital's main sign. Workers in the criminal patient ward will be required to wear alarm-equipped lanyards beginning Tuesday.

A California mental hospital where a psychiatric technician was strangled nearly two years ago is rolling out alarm-equipped lanyards.

But Napa State Hospital workers say the lanyards pose a risk of strangulation.

The new alarm devices going into service on Tuesday will be worn by workers in the area where criminal patients are held.

The Los Angeles Times says the devices transmit constant signals on the location of each employee and receive data so that workers can reach one another in emergencies.

The lanyard has a breakaway feature when there's 10 pounds of force.

But employees say a savvy attacker can still use the length of lanyard as a garrote.

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