• A Proactive Approach to School Safety

  • By: Lisa Lambert, Account Executive

    It’s hard to believe school has started back up. I have a son in high school and a daughter in college whom I constantly worry about, just like many friends and family do about their loved ones. I worry about their safety in light of recent school violence incidents, which brings me to today’s topic in ways we can be proactive.

    Have you ever walked into a school without being asked for verification, or even been able to freely wander the school once inside? I know I personally have multiple times. I walk to the front entrance, push the Aiphone button (if the school has one) and am let inside. Sometimes an entrance is secure, therefore requiring me to go into the office and check-in, but not always. Many facilities verify my entrance and require a driver’s license while others don’t ask for any verification of who I am or why I am there, which is quite astounding.

    Safeguarding educational campuses can be a daunting task to undergo. We all seem to have our opinions on what will make a school campus safer, whether it’s adding security systems or implementing emergency plans and procedures. We have seen and heard multiple media briefings over what people believe should happen to assist in the security of schools. Many times, schools undergo stringent requirements and challenges that can make implementing safety measures difficult. So where should a school district or college campus begin to improve security and safety for their facilities, staff and students? I believe you should start with a security assessment. Whether you have a full assessment or one over a specific area, it is a great start to gain appropriate information to help make an informed decision and lessen vulnerabilities. Below are some safety applications school’s can incorporate:

    Access Control – Have a visitor management system, track and manage keys, capability to lockdown the facility remotely with dynamic mapping and integration to your CCTV system.

    Duress Inputs – Push a button to notify office or direct dispatch to responders in case of an emergency situations.

    CCTV Coverage – Include Remote access with a push to record application for recording on and off site back to your server or cloud-based solution. Add mapping and analytics, monitor restroom entrance, watch busy corridors, helps to eliminate unauthorized intruders, protects vehicles and grounds.

    Intercom Systems – Integrate VoIP phone system, messaging, alerts, emergency tones and mass notification integration on a scalable platform.

    GUI – Integrate your systems into one user friendly platform. CCTV, Access Control, Fire Alarm, Mobile/PC App for Emergency Alerts, etc. Allow emergency responders direct access to your systems for faster more accurate information and response time.

    Lighting – Interior and exterior lighting greatly affects a camera’s view which can cause distortion, make a color appear as a different color altogether and even distort images, poor lighting can increase the risk of incidents and vulnerabilities.

    Landscaping – Overgrown trees and shrubs can obscure visibility.  A general recommendation is to have landscaping less than 30’ in height and lower limbs removed up to 7’6” above finished grade level.

    ESCO not only offers assessments, but we can assist you from start to finish with your upcoming projects.  We can help you with design, engineering or complete turn-key solution. Whether you wish to start small and phase your integrations or complete a total safety upgrade, ESCO has multiple solutions.  We know one size doesn’t fit all.  We design solutions based upon your specific need. Feel free to contact us for more information as we are happy to assist in making your districts and campuses a safer secure environment.