John Mosebar of Aiphone discusses how commercial integrators can help enhance K-12 school security.
There are several other cost-effective security tools that can be valuable in case of a security breech. Audio intercoms throughout the school allow classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, offices and athletic facilities to simultaneously receive instructions regarding a lock-in-place or an evacuation situation.
Brightly-lit emergency towers can be located in parking lots, around stadiums and in other remote campus areas to allow for immediate contact with security personnel.
Panic buttons can be worn by teachers as pendants and/or located in concealed areas throughout a campus to summon an SRO or first responder in case of an emergency.
Making it all work
Integrators should also be prepared to help schools create the policies and procedures needed to ensure the security function performs as intended. Even the best plans can fail if a staff member props open the door to the kitchen.
Security specialists should help create written security manuals that outline responsibilities for all campus members, including students. Also they should assist with the planning of regular drills to allow staff and students to practice responses to different types of emergencies. The best and most realistic drills are unannounced. First responders should be encouraged to participate.
Referring to the all-risks assessment, integrators should help locate a nearby, safe evacuation area where parents know they will be able to gain information and pick up their children following various types of emergencies.
Again, these best practices are being implemented virtually daily at schools across the country. But they are not intended to be limiting. Surveillance cameras and access control systems also have their places on a K-12 campus. However, with funding an issue in virtually every district, money needs to be spent wisely, with each investment providing a tangible return in heightened security.
Through experienced guidance, an integrator can play a major role in helping protect lives and property on any K-12 campus.
(John Mosebar serves as vice president of marketing for Aiphone Corp. He is a 33-year veteran of the company, a leading manufacturer of security video intercoms. For more information about Aiphone, click here.)