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Physical Security Solutions Play a Big Role in Schools

Posted 11/18/2019 by Tracey Boucher Brown

As parents, we’re always seeking to keep our children safe. The world they’re growing up in today is unlike the one we knew. The times have changed, and so have the dangers. But with this change has also come evolving technologies and solutions that can help keep our children safe, even when we’re not there. When appropriately and strategically deployed in schools, physical security solutions could deter bullying, vandalism, acts of violence and even unhealthy and risky behaviors such as vaping (yes, there are now “vape detectors” that can detect nicotine vapor not discerned by smoke detectors).

Ultimately, implementing enhanced security is about being prepared versus having regret. And when it comes to protecting future generations, schools owe it to parents and students to ensure they’ve taken the necessary steps to create safe environments where students can focus on their education - whether K-12 or higher education.

Our partners can help schools enhance their safety capabilities while also helping them uncover incentives through vulnerability tests, which identify potential weaknesses in a school’s security. Partners should take the lead in suggesting changes or upgrades, resulting in increased opportunity for their business and increased safety in their local schools –a win-win.

Below are some solutions that should be considered to help keep schools safe.

Access Control

Fortunately, many schools have already deployed access control solutions. The ability to know and control who enters and exits a building is paramount. School officials and security can provide records of individual comings and goings, allowing them to identify and locate threats, as well as deter potentially bad actors from entering the building. Badges and keycards can also identify red flags, such as an individual who may be accessing a room that they don’t have business being in. Keycards, automatic locking doors, intercom systems and cameras can all make up an access control solution, meaning partners should assess each individual school to determine which solutions would work best.

Mass Notification Systems

In today’s digital age, we now have the ability to contact virtually everyone at a moment’s notice. Mass notification systems, whether email, SMS or a call, have offered us the ability to reach large audiences with critical information. Students, teachers and parents can be informed of approaching storms, power outages, fires or lockdowns, providing them with the information needed to make safe and knowledgeable decisions. Mass notifications can also help to stop the spread of inaccurate information or dangerous rumors – a common phenomenon during emergency situations. When implementing, we advise partners discuss requirements such as fast servers and significant memory, in order to run mass notification systems effectively.

Audio Beacons

Audio beacons are also highly effective when it comes to sharing information with relevant audiences. Similar to mass notification systems, audio beacons can reach people outside and/or spread throughout a campus. Tornado warnings or lockdown alarms ensure that large populations are made aware of potentially dangerous situations in real time. They can also be effective for spreading information to people on campus who may not be looking at their phones. Moreover, beacons can be programmed to sound if someone enters an unauthorized area, warning people of danger or letting them know they are being monitored.

Video Surveillance

Finally, and most obvious to many people, are surveillance cameras and video management software. In addition to helping deter crimes such as vandalism or theft, cameras can be critical in emergency situations. Should a school go into lockdown, the ability for law enforcement to have eyes on the inside is crucial. Cameras can also be helpful for locating students who may be missing class, or for retracing a student’s movements. Advanced facial recognition software can also be utilized to help track the movements of a school’s population and better identify any areas of concern.

While it can often be daunting for an entire school or university to implement all of these functions, it’s important that our partners work alongside schools to assess potential gaps in security and to strategically advise them. It’s all of our responsibility to insist that schools have taken the necessary steps to ensure our children’s wellbeing by implementing the appropriate physical security solutions. Talk to your ScanSource representative today about how you can help protect tomorrow’s generation.

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