On Tuesday, Feb. 13, school security experts discussed best practices at the Electronic Security Association (ESA) Leadership Summit. While ESA could not have anticipated the tragic shooting in Florida would occur within 24 hours of the roundtable, the organization wanted to share these expert insights to help schools respond accordingly in the wake of this threat. Cobb County, GA Fire Marshal approves NTS Course as NICET Equivalent
Electronic Security Association Provides Insight for Schools Seeking Increased Security Measures
Don’t Panic, Take a Deep Breath, Put a Master Plan in Place that Meets the Unique Needs of Your Schools and Community
IRVING, Texas (Feb. 16, 2018) — On Tuesday, Feb. 13, school security experts discussed best practices at the Electronic Security Association (ESA) Leadership Summit. While ESA could not have anticipated the tragic shooting in Florida would occur within 24 hours of the roundtable, the organization wanted to share these expert insights to help schools respond accordingly in the wake of this threat.
• In the aftermath of a tragedy, communities across the country often react by adding additional security measures – no matter how costly. Instead, experts suggest taking a deep breath, and putting a master plan in place that will meet the individual needs of your schools. More money alone will not provide better security.
• Early detection and mass notification is key. Once a shooter has access, every second counts – and those seconds can save lives. A system should be designed to carve out those seconds to help mitigate a shooter’s ability to inflict harm.
• Investigate if your schools can communicate directly with first responders. The seconds saved by bypassing a 911 call center can save lives.
• Develop an active shooter plan – and practice it as you would a fire drill. It may be scary for students – but unfortunately it is a reality for which schools need to be prepared. Include local public safety authorities in plan development.
• If you have elementary, middle and high schools grouped on nearby campuses, consider locating a police division within that area.
• Consistency is critical. School systems often move around personnel. If the security system is consistent, a teacher can sit at a new desk in a new school and even though they have never been there before, they will know where the panic button is and how to use it.
• Secure, controlled check-point access is also critical. Most schools are now designed with a “man trap” or vestibule that can help verify the person entering the school and isolate a potential threat.
• Ensure you have high-quality video surveillance throughout the property. It is much easier to identify a threat through high resolution video rather than a grainy image.
• Consider a bank of video monitors that are continuously manned to see what is happening throughout the school and school property at all times. Allow first responders access to help them act quickly and efficiently.
• Before installing or upgrading a system, talk to experts who have experience with your type of schools. Get references and visit schools where they have installed similar systems.
• Know your budget and create a comprehensive master plan. Even if you have a limited budget, you can utilize experts to help develop and build out your plan in phases. You need to make sure, however, that Phase I, which is the initial install, can support Phase II, and so on.
• In terms of emerging technologies, video analytics are getting better and less expensive. Schools can deploy a license plate recognition system to clearly identify a vehicle that does not belong.
Most importantly, understand that technology cannot detect and deter threats alone nor can people do it alone. The best plan occurs when both work together.
ESA has prepared a comprehensive report to provide useful information to school boards, administrators, and community leaders. DOWNLOAD NOW
Established in 1948, ESA is the largest trade association in the United States representing the electronic life safety and security industry. Member companies install, integrate and monitor intrusion and fire detection, video surveillance and electronic access control systems for commercial, residential, industrial and governmental clients. In cooperation with an alliance of chapter associations, ESA provides technical and management training, government advocacy and delivers information, advice, tools, and services that members use to grow their businesses and prosper. Together, ESA member companies employ more than 500,000 industry professionals and serve more than 34 million residential and commercial clients.www.ESAweb.org
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