On October 24, 2022, a 19-year-old gunman entered the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, MO. He shot two to death and injured several others before he was shot and killed by police.
So far this year, there have been 40 school shootings resulting in injury, surpassing 2021, which saw a record-shattering 34 shootings. Traditional emergency communication systems, such as PA systems, are not enough to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff.
Schools need a better solution for their overall security plan. School security systems that include integrated security solutions with mass notifications can provide timely communication in emergencies. It will not only help to keep your staff and students safe – but can immediately alert police and fire units so they can be on the scene quicker.
As a school administrator, here’s everything you need to know about integrated security solutions with mass notifications and how they can benefit your school.
The Purpose of a Mass Notification System
Sending out a message to everyone involved in a security incident or event – be it a shooter or some other episode – can be difficult in the best circumstances. You can’t depend on cell phones because they’re sometimes restricted on school campuses. There also might be dead spots where messages can’t be sent or received.
This is why it’s crucial to have a mass notification system as part of your school security system. It can reach individuals via several different modes of communication, such as text messages, email, or phone calls. If one method doesn’t work, there are other ways to reach those that need to know.
Mass notification systems can send instructions or alerts to people in specific areas, floors, buildings, and facilities on a school campus. These alerts can be transmitted in several different ways:
- By loudspeakers
- Via voice-equipped fire alarm systems
- Public radio/TV networks
- Signs or displays
- Two-way radios
- Cell phones
Mass notification systems can provide real-time updates and instructions during emergencies. Having this type of system as part of your school’s security plan is crucial in keeping your staff and students safe in the event of an emergency. Today, school security systems that include mass notification systems are faster, smarter, and more cost-effective than ever before.
Security technology is evolving and adapting to the changing needs of security in school systems. While most schools will never face an active shooter situation, emergencies are inevitable. A mass notification system helps to provide added safety in schools.
Advances in Integrated Security Solutions with Mass Notification Capabilities
Modern technology is designed to make schools safe, so students and staff don’t have to look over their shoulders for the next emergency. The flood of new security options into the marketplace is raising the capabilities of school security systems exponentially.
Schools need a comprehensive safety plan, and it should include integrated security solutions with mass notification capabilities. There are many features that schools can implement to make students and staff safer. Some of the most critical include:
1. Real-Time Video Surveillance
The surveillance field has improved greatly in the last few years with new cameras, control systems, monitoring technology, and school security alarm systems. Video surveillance can be your first line of defense when implemented into your school’s security plan. One-size-fits-all systems may not be effective. If you have questions, it’s important to call a security expert to advise you on the best system to use.
2. Access Control
Access control systems are essential to your school’s overall security solution. In fact, between 2009 and 2020, 97% of public schools reported the use of school door security systems to control access to buildings. These systems can be set up to work with your multi-access infrastructure on an individual basis.
3. Automatic Lockdown Capabilities
Your integrated security solution can include the ability to lock down your building or a particular zone anytime, anywhere, and by numerous methods. This can be done via a remote device, including a mobile phone, computer, or even a custom-designed trigger. When integrated with a video surveillance system, you can send video feeds directly to first responders so they can react accordingly.
4. Instant Communications
The best school security systems can send notifications via multiple channels (i.e., phone, text, email). Gone are the days of solely using loudspeakers in schools to communicate information.
With an integrated security plan, you’ve got a school security system in place that can:
- Identify threats.
- Communicate threats to staff and security officials.
- Lock down the areas of campus (or the entire campus).
- Notify first responders to cut down on their response time.
Integrated security solutions with mass notification systems have been tested in real-world situations – involving active shooter emergencies and natural disasters. They are perfectly suited for schools and can be designed to work with any layout.
It’s important to talk with a security expert about your school’s needs so they can provide a solution that will work with your campus layout and population.
What Should You Consider When Developing a School Security System?
If you don’t currently have an integrated security solution at your school, it’s time to discuss your needs with a security expert. Consulting a security professional is an invaluable part of your planning.
They have experience and specialize in integrated solutions with mass notifications – and can help you devise the safest plan. Once you decide on a security solution, you must ensure your staff and students are properly trained.
Ongoing training on emergency protocols and proper use of communication systems is crucial to ensure safety. If you make changes to security processes, you need to inform your staff and students, if necessary.
You’ll also need to regularly review and update your public school security strategy. This way, you can stay current with advancements in technology and the current threats facing schools. School safety is not something you can do once and forget about. It’s an ongoing issue that’s important to everyone in the community.
Need Help Getting Started?
The safety and well-being of your staff and students is important to all of us. There are many ground-breaking features that you can implement via an integrated security system with mass notifications. These school security systems can be tailored to your specific needs.
At 2 Krew, we’re an award-winning company that’s been protecting schools, homes, and businesses for over 15 years. We are experts in customized security and surveillance solutions in the Greater Pittsburgh and Tri-State area. 2 Krew is composed of highly skilled professionals that will work tirelessly to ensure your school has access to quality security.
Contact us to discuss how having an integrated security solution with mass notifications can make your school safer.