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Lawrence General Hospital staff will be better prepared to avoid and respond to violent incidents with the help of new funding.

The NiSource Charitable Foundation recently awarded the hospital a $17,500 grant to support a training program the hospital recently began offering to its approximately 2,000 employees.

The Awareness-Vigilance-Defense-Escape training sessions, which are being presented to different groups of staff each month by the hospital’s security team, offer guidelines to the employees on how to prevent workplace violence and how to de-escalate violent incidents when they occur, according to hospital spokesman Ben French.

He said the training program got underway last year but the grant will help offset the costs, which include purchasing materials, staff time, and training the security staff to lead the sessions. The grant also will help pay for training the hospital is providing its EMTs and paramedics in driving an ambulance in busy traffic.

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“Workplace violence prevention and overall safety are top priorities at Lawrence General Hospital,” Kelley MacLean Clark, the hospital’s chief development officer, said in a statement. The philanthropic arm of Columbia Gas’s parent company, NiSource, the foundation provides funding and encourages volunteer support for nonprofits in communities where NiSource employees live and work.

Eversource Energy recently announced it was purchasing Columbia Gas’s gas assets in Massachusetts from NiSource, but French said the acquisition did not affect the grant, which predated it.


John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.