In school environments, preparedness is key for dealing with emergencies. Most educational facilities are equipped with alarms and drills for fire safety and natural disasters, which are essential to school security plans. However, in order to protect students and faculty, the best school safety technology not only alerts officials to current problems, but also helps mitigate risk during emergencies, and acts to prevent them altogether.
Creating a proactive emergency school safety plan is the first step. School lockdown procedures and safety plans should be in place to address internal and external threats including natural disasters, rioting, active shooter, and nearby police activity. Safety and school security measures should also be ready in case the building or campus has to scale back on the number of students allowed in the school after the emergency, or if operations need to be suspended temporarily. In addition to communicating which type of emergency is occurring, leveraging technology can help schools be more prepared for emergencies.
School lockdown plans and procedures
In the event you need to lock down your school campus, it’s crucial to be able to do it quickly and efficiently. Natural disasters and active shooters in schools are the most common reasons for a lockdown, but there are other scenarios that may occur, depending on the location and security risks of the school. There are strict regulations on school lockdown devices, as outlined by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Regulations. Many floor and door-closer barricade devices offer a budget-conscious way to increase security, but can do more harm than good if used improperly. In addition to the above regulations, school lockdown devices should meet the following requirements:
Adheres to all building and fire codes so that people can still get out if needed
Can be quickly installed or activated, as every second matters in an emergency
Has an intuitive design that’s easy for anyone to use or operate
Can withstand added force without failing or breaking
Is quiet to install, so as not to draw attention in an active shooter scenario
Classroom door locks for active shooter scenarios are essential components of today’s school security systems. One option is to retrofit door locks for school lockdown. Retrofitted school lockdown door locks still use key access and allow single-motion egress, but also include a push button on the inside of the door to safely and securely lock it down. Emergency personnel can still unlock from the exterior using a key, and students can easily deactivate the lock to evacuate.
Replacing door locks for school lockdown with touchless and wireless locks that can be remotely controlled is a great way to enhance school safety. A cloud-based school security system with remote access enables administrators to trigger a lockdown plan from anywhere. Creating school lockdown procedures for different situations is a proactive safety solution, taking into account different buildings and structures that might need their own plans, such as a parking garage. You should also look for technology that includes a lockdown plan that automatically contacts emergency responders in the event of a lockdown, saving time when it matters most.
Remote activation is an important feature for school lockdown door locks, as it gives administrators better control over emergency situations while they are happening. Being able to trigger emergency school door locks, either to lockdown the building to prevent people from leaving, or to unlock specific doors to let people out or emergency responders in, improves overall safety for school campuses.
The award-winning Flexible Lockdown solution from Openpath is free for 501(c)3 organizations and educational facilities.
School security cameras for emergency response
Schools and universities should have top-of-the-line security cameras installed, and use a cloud-based video management system. Remote access to the video footage is crucial when empty schools may become a target for crime, and even improves response time during school hours. With remote access to real-time video footage, school security cameras can inform emergency personnel where they’re needed while en route to the building, so there’s less guesswork upon arrival. School security camera footage is also key to auditing processes, such as identifying the perpetrator after a break-in, or seeing who accessed a computer lab prior to a data breach.
Sensors for school shootings and break-ins
With new developments in safety technology, many school security solutions now include sensors that can detect gunshots or broken glass inside school buildings. When connected to the school’s access control and security camera systems, this is a powerful way to strengthen school lockdown procedures.
One of the worst security threats that can happen at a school is a shooting. By installing school shooting door stoppers on classrooms and faculty office doors, schools can increase safety in their buildings. While there are many options for classroom door lockdown devices, the best system is one that features an emergency deadbolt, quick activation from inside, as well as the ability to quickly unlock the door in order to evacuate.
An integrated school security system adds another layer of protection for students and staff in the event of a school shooting or other emergency. For example, when advanced door sensors detect a nearby gunshot or broken glass, the security system can automatically trigger the school door lockdown procedure, and send emergency alerts to administrators and first responders. Emergency personnel can use the school’s video surveillance to remotely monitor the situation, and pinpoint how and when it is safe to evacuate the premises.
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