Article by Steve Noseworthy
Every day millions of students develop lifelong skills by attending public and private schools all across America. Keeping the youth of this country safe as well as the faculty that supports them is essential. With the rise of mental health issues and peer on peer bullying, from classroom settings to (not easily escaped) social media platforms, and the tragic school shootings occurring all too often, the need for school security is absolutely vital to keep our educational facilities secure. So what proactive measures can be taken to ensure our school security for the future.
Emergency planning for each school is multifaceted and the equipment or technology needed is not a one size fits all solution. The implemented solution will be based on the site, location, resources and available personnel. Extensive planning as well as building risk assessments should be conducted to identify gaps in each campus setting before deploying a solution that works for the school district with the idea of not sacrificing the school’s educational mission.
Access Control Perimeter
The perimeter of the facility is a large component in designing a safe and effective security plan. If possible, the best way to keep out unwanted visitors is to funnel all personnel into one entrance. This will allow schools to best use their available resources at one entry point keeping eyes on potential warning signs or risks. Utilizing an access control system will allow schools to keep all other exterior doors locked and secured while only allowing access to the appropriate staff members. The access system can also alert necessary personnel of a specific unsecured doors at the facility in real time. Most of today’s access control systems give administrators the ability to lockdown a campus given the appropriate threat to the school. This activation will lock all exterior and necessary interior doors limiting access to individuals that are sheltered in place.
Mantrap Security Vestibule
In addition to a single entrance, the use of a mantrap with access control will provide an extra layer of security and even prevent a security breach. A mantrap is an entrance area which has two separate sets of interlocking doors. This setup will allow ease of screening visitors without giving access to the rest of the building. Visitor management systems can be implemented to scan ID’s and provide screening checks on various law enforcement lists as well as personalized notes of prior issues that individuals may have had at the school district.
Installing security cameras with limited blind spots around the campus will provide the ability to response or investigate incidents that occur day to day. Observing and managing these individual incidents with the associated video evidence may deter retaliations or backlashes in the future. Observing students in mass gathering areas or areas with lack of supervision could provide staff with possible signs of troubled individuals. Offering assistance to these individuals can help the overall health of the school campus.
Another growing feature that schools are investing in are specialized smart sensors. These sensors can detect a wide variety of common issues such as vape, THC, smoke, carbon dioxide/monoxide, etc. These sensors can also be programmed for audio analytics allowing them to detect gunshot, key word, abnormal noise level, excessive banging, etc. Tying smart sensors into your security systems will allow alerts with the specific location of the incident to necessary personnel. An appropriate action can be taken by viewing the associate camera footage of the incident.
In closing, possibly the most important item to discuss when it comes school security is response time and alerting the authorities during serious incidents. Integration of security systems will allow a more efficient investigation due to utilizing one platform to access different components such as access control, cameras and specialized sensors. Partnering with local first responders and given them access to the security system remotely will allow them to view cameras and alerts. This will provide first responders much more knowledge of the situation as well as the approximate location of the affected area.
Students everywhere deserve a proactive approach to safety rather than a reactive one. Reach out to Oliver Fire Protective and Security to get the ball rolling today with the best recommendations for your campus!