When evaluating your school security system, keep in mind that most systems are reactive; alarms go off and people begin running for safety only after shots are fired. The best security systems are proactive, preventing or identifying potential threats before danger strikes. But you have to strike a healthy balance. Children need to feel safe but not be in a state of fear due to overly-restrictive measures. People’s privacy and dignity need to be respected while ensuring their safety.
Start with a Vulnerability Assessment
First ask yourself questions: What are the sources of threats on our campus? Consider students, teachers, disgruntled employees, visitors. Are you in an urban or rural setting? How would threat-actors enter your campus and how long would it take for first responders to arrive in case of an emergency?
Next, do a thorough evaluation of your campus, both the exterior (parking lots, playgrounds, playing fields, etc.) and interior. What are the points of entry? What sort of security or protocols are in place?
Examine current systems, procedures, and protocols. Evaluate for weaknesses in the system, blind spots or hiding places, insufficient lighting, lack of compliance to procedures by staff, and the age and functionality of existing technology.
To help you do a thorough vulnerability assessment, use one of the many resources available online or enlist the help of your local emergency responders or a vulnerability consultant. However, make sure the consultant is not associated with a particular company or product in order to ensure complete impartiality in the advice he or she gives you.
Aspects of Your School Security System
To “target harden” your location – that is, to make your location a very difficult target so that the potential bad actor decides it’s not worth the effort – up-to-date, properly functioning technology is your first line of defense. But it’s not enough by itself. School security requires a multi-pronged approach:
Physical security measures on campus: Sufficient lighting in parking lots and around the exterior of buildings; removal of bushes that may block the view of security cameras or supply hiding places for bad-actors; obstacles that deter easy entrance or easy getaway; locks or bars on windows; security doors with limited access; perimeter security and after-hours security
Technology: Intrusion detection systems; security cameras at every point of access and in hallways; a gun detection system such as ZeroEyes which detects visible guns immediately, instantly alerts key staff and first responders, and tracks the shooter through the campus so security personnel can easily find and neutralize the threat
Lockdown system: The ability to remotely lock down various wings in the event of the need to shelter in place and isolate a threat
Communications: Technology (such as ZeroEyes) to immediately contact first responders in the event of a threat; protocols for contacting teachers, students, and parents in the event of danger
Protocols, procedures, and training: Clearly defined procedures for following safety rules; Emergency Response Plans that have been practiced by staff and students in conjunction with local first responders
Staying Ahead of the Bad Guys
A threat-actor only needs to find one entry point, one weak link. That’s why it’s critically important to examine every aspect of a thorough security system evaluation and strengthen every possible weakness. Shooters and most other attackers are looking for fairly easy targets. The harder you make it for them, the less likely they are to attack.
At the same time, you want to create a comfortable environment in which your students and staff can work and learn. Some security systems are too invasive, such as facial recognition systems and overly-intrusive scanning systems that can cause emotional harm to young minds and possibly raise privacy concerns. So balance is the key.
At ZeroEyes, our mission is to make schools and other institutions safe by providing the highest quality, state-of-the-art gun-detection system that respects people’s privacy while working proactively to warn you and local first responders before the first shot is fired. With this proactive approach, you’re able to safeguard your people faster and security arrives quicker. Our system also tells law enforcement where the perpetrator is so they can quickly resolve the situation. And since our system installs easily on your existing security cameras, ZeroEyes is budget-friendly and quickly installed. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you keep your students safe.