School Security Systems
Are strangers free to enter your child's school without being checked? One of them might mean trouble and you don't want to let him in. There are simple, relatively low cost ways to limit access to school and to minimize damage in the event of a criminal event.
Dont wait for bad news to hit the newspapers. School authorities and parent groups usually react to the news of high profile school violence by taking some hasty action and occasionally by purchasing some device, in the hope that it will protect againts a similar occurrence in their school. Such knee jerk reaction generally misses the mark and is often worse than no action, because it gives a false sence of security. Make preperations to keep your school out of the headlines without waiting for bad news.
Parent groups should take the initiative and press school authorities to draw up plans NOW. Create a safe environment without waiting for a crisis to trigger action. Assess potential security risks. Review in detail the physical layout and design of the school and its grounds. On the basis of the assessments and the physical data, draw up a plan to reduce the likelihood of violence and to minimize the damage, should it occur.
A Plan should include:
Awareness programs for staff, parents and students
Organizational measures (responsibilities should be assigned, teachers, other staff, parents, older children should have clear instructions on what to do, how to behave, whom to call, etc.)
Monitoring devices such as cameras and recorders near entrance offer early warnings of danger
Annunciators: Lighting or alarms activated by motion or indicating an open door or window in unauthorized times should be installed to provide early warnings
Bright lighting should be installed and activated at all times in hallways, staircases and parking lots.
Communication facilities to call for help should be located throughout the building and the grounds. These should be based on high speed connections to police and other authorities.
There should be physical barriers such as gates, locks and entrance vestibules.
Metal detectors and other detectors may be installed in high risk schools
There should be a budget to operate and to maintain the devices and a program to test all equipment periodically as well as to drill staff and others involved in the school security program.
Cameras for surveillance, are a powerful deterrent and if equipped with recording devices can provide evidence in the event of a criminal act. Simple measures such as combining a door camera with an intercom and a buzzer to open the door from the desk, can reduce risk considerably. In high risk areas additional meaures may be appropriate. Annunciators of doors or windows that are open when they shouldn't be, or to detect motion in a place where no one should be, draw attention to potential dangers.
Bright lighting is a recognized deterrent to delinquent activity, Lighting should be on at all hours that the building and grounds are in use, in all parts of the building and grounds. Very bright lighting may also be activated by motion devices and other types of sensors at other times to discourage attempts at theft or vandalism or attempts to place arms ot other illegal articles in the building for later use. Annunciators could also indicate that an opening which should ordinarily be shut is open.
Rapid communications by means of strategically located phones or panic buttons reduce the time to get the message to the police, fire fighters, medical aid and to parents. Thousand of calls can be generated in a minute by this technology as well as simultaneously activating alarms and a school public address system. By autodialing many preset numbers and dispatching a recorded message or alert to police and other authorities as well as to parents and staff, damage can be minimized when an incident actually occurs. The confidence that parents have in knowing that they will be contacted automatically when their children are at risk, contributes to better parent - school relations and to greater peace of mind.
All the above methods should go hand in hand. Technology measures alone won't solve problems of school violence, but modern security measures constitute a deterrence to would-be delinquents and criminals and can reduce delinquency and crime. A comprehensive examination of site weaknesses will help to identify which solution is most applicable at which location in the buildings and on the grounds.
There is a trade off between security methods. For instance, greater access control (i.e. physically limiting access to the buildings and the grounds) will reduce the need for surveillance inside the building; where access control is not an option, more surveillance will be required.
No one can predict which school might suffer from violence. We are constantly surprised to discover that the most unexpected event happened in the most unlikely place. Schools should take proactive measures for the safety and security of the students and staff present in the school and to protect the property against vandalism. Keep your school out of the headlines.
School pictures Magen offers communications for rapid communication with authorities and parents, sensor activated lighting, various types of detectors and non-intrusive, cameras and other monitoring devices. Let Magen help you with your security plan and advise you on the devices most suitable to your school's situation.
Contact Magen today for better protection.