Are Your Schools Safe?

Are Your Schools Safe? – By David Noel, P.E.

I was fortunate to have been in a school environment from elementary through college that was devoid of any natural disaster or human-caused violence.  In fact, I am willing to bet that the adults and administrators never discussed any scenarios beyond making sure the doors were locked at night to prevent minor vandalism or theft.

Today’s school environment is completely different unfortunately.  As a parent to a 6-year old daughter and working in the security industry, a day doesn’t go by where I don’t think about her safety.  Fortunately, we now have a wide array of technology at our disposal to utilize for helping create a more secure environment for our children.

CES offers multiple services and systems to help with preventative measures and provide immediate response in the case of an unfortunate incidence.

Some of the preventative measures and systems include:

  • Fire alarm system test and inspections powered by BuildingReports’ digital reporting and unique bar code technology. CES can provide accurate and comprehensive inspections that are fully documented in compliance with regulatory standards.
  • CCTV System can provide monitoring of all interior and exterior entrances along with highly traveled common areas. Cameras alone can provide a visual deterrent.  With today’s IP based camera systems, video can be accessed remotely, providing critical live images aiding in the immediate response to an incident.
  • Access Control systems that restrict entry to a building or space can help with monitoring who, when and where individuals have traveled throughout your facility. The system can be network-based which allows remote access, providing an individual count of people present in a building to first responders.
  • CES can provide a free security threat analysis of your building to help establish priorities and provide estimates in addressing any potential deficiencies.

Some of the immediate response measures and systems include:

  • Emergency/Mass Notification System can provide instant alerts, voice and text messaging to administrators, first responders and students allowing immediate response and help to maintain order among the chaos.
  • Intercom/Paging Systems can provide instant overhead communication with call back features allowing direct communication with people to assess the severity of an incident or providing directions to an area of refuge.
  • Alarm Monitoring equipment provided by CES and services by EMERgency24. Proper monitoring of your systems to ensure they are functioning properly, along with immediate notification of authorized personnel and first responders, is critical in providing the necessary levels of response to an incident.

No one can fully prevent an incident from ever happening, however, CES can be an effective partner in providing systems that establish an environment in which children and adults can feel safer walking through those school doors every day.

Questions to ask of your current systems:

  1. Are my current system(s) old/outdated?
  2. Am I taking full advantage of the most current technology out there?
  3. Do I have multiple manufacturers installed among multiple facilities?
  4. Do I have a test and inspect schedule in place for all of my systems?
  5. Can I integrate any of my systems together on a common platform?
  6. Do I have a maintenance plan in place to service my equipment?

We would enjoy hearing from you! We’ve made this Blog interactive to promote discussion and engagement from readers. Please feel free to ask questions or offer additional information; we are ready to engage with answers.

Additionally, we have video footage available on our You Tube site showing some of the systems mentioned here in action! Please also visit us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

10 thoughts on “Are Your Schools Safe?”

    1. Access Control is great start George but monitoring via camera systems is imperative imo.
      Protocols and training for all events(fire, bomb threats, active shooter, to name a few) from staff to students is also something that is important to the total safety of a school.
      What questions should parents ask of those writing safety protocols in elementary to high school?

      1. Illinois State Board of Education (http://www.isbe.net/safety/guide.htm) mandates annual review of Emergency & Crisis response plans, however, a task force on school safety leaves it up to the discretion of school districts, consultants, and district architects of record to review the document (Adoption of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 428 and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) as Reference Publications for School Security Designs) and determine what requirements the school or school district prefers to implement.
        These resources would provide an excellent guideline in questioning administrators and assisting in writing those safety protocols.

    2. Unfortunately there are several schools with little to none as far as security goes. The mentality that it will never happen here is prevelent in many school districts.

      1. It would be nice if states enacted statutes requiring minimum school security standards. I would love to see the safety of our children be a pro-active priority and not a re-active response.

  1. Being able to communicate with all predetermined personnel is critical in any emergency. All schools, industrial, institutions, venues, even residences should have a strategy “just in case”. I probably am just as guilty as anyone in believing it won’t happen to me. As far as questions are concerned. What is your plan if ……… happens? How you fill in the blank changes everything.

    1. It is a somber situation to discuss indeed, but maybe we need to ask not “if” but “when” it happens to initiate discussion and implement solutions for prevention and responses.

  2. A Life Safety Communication System that can integrate with others to provide immediate notification of threats is extremely important. The ability to get the message out with ease from multiple sources in the shortest amount of time is critical to save lives.

    1. Integration is key as seconds count in response to an emergency and eliminating multiple steps in initiating alerts and responses is crucial. Today’s technology can allow for a single input to call multiple sources.

  3. With many older schools, many times the design of where the office is located is a big issue for security. A vistor has to walk thru part of the school passing classrooms to get the main office. Even in newer schools the architect might not have been thinking about security when laying out how the office is designed and which doors get locked, so many times I see the outer doors locked which is ok but, the office to the school door is the crucial door being locked. A person with the intent of causing harm will not be displaying a weapon outside, but look and act like any other parent until in the office area. If the office to school door is open, once the intruder is in they have access to the school. If the doors are locked it is hard to hit the release button and open the door at the same time, if nothing else buying the rest of the school more time to react to the incident.

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