Page 80 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 80

"The audit process often reveals gaps in a school’s safety plan and room for improvement, and an opportunity to adopt additional technology and resources."
By Danielle Myers
What Schools Need to Know
Follow this guide for evaluating, implementing a security plan to decrease shooter response times
Shooting Response
As schools resume across the country this fall, safety and security is top of mind for parents, faculty and administrators alike. Traditionally, as security alerts arise, schools address individual needs rather than formulating a cohesive safety and security plan with technology to reinforce it. This can cause a siloed approach to safety, and gaps in safety plans. The following is a systematic guide for evalu- ating, implementing and running a comprehensive, security plan for maximum safety.
Integrating Your Systems
Most school systems use a variety of technologies that typically have separate jobs, such as access control, security cameras, and commu- nications. These are all important tools, but when siloed don’t create a cohesive safety solution, rather, they only address a small set of safety concerns, such as addressing mass communication needs but not addressing point of entry vulnerability.
Instead, schools should examine ways they can actively prevent, detect and triage security threats, such as mass shootings in real- time. This starts with a safety audit of all policies, procedures and
technology currently in place to combat emergency situations, like an active shooter situation. The audit process often reveals gaps in a school’s safety plan and room for improvement, and an opportunity to adopt additional technology and resources.
Additionally, schools should combine these systems under a single platform to create an integrated safety solution. Implementing situa- tional awareness and response technology is a more proactive solu- tion for schools, as it unifies all of their security and safety systems onto one platform to improve communication, workflow and opera- tions especially in an emergency situation. Time is of the essence in critical situations and using technology to reduce the amount of time the information takes to get to the proper people can save lives.
For example, schools may upgrade their cameras and access control systems, but most do not have the ability to access the live feed in order to alert staff about an incident unfolding in the building that is caught on camera. This reactive approach results in a communication break- down. Implementing an automated alerting platform can turn alarms from stand-alone systems, into detailed alerts for delivery to commu- nication endpoints. This means school administrators, teachers, and other onsite personnel can receive real-time information about possi-
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