At Eastern DataComm, we’ve covered ways to keep your school safe from intruders in past pieces. In this blog, we’re sharing an updated look at these issues, including five approaches you can take to keep your schools connected and protected. Improve your school’s safety and communications profile by reading along and implementing these recommendations.
#1 Consider Your Whole School Safety Ecosystem
Our Eastern DataComm team is passionate about strategizing and supporting the technology systems that impact the entire school safety ecosystem. And with good reason: A holistic approach to preventing intruders includes a variety of aspects that you may not have initially considered as ‘essential’ to full safety success. The truth is that these facets, from planning, compliance, and protocol development, to practice drills and technology, are interwoven – working in unison to create a safe environment for all.
Two examples of enhancing your school safety ecosystem include (1) the creation and execution of a school safety plan and (2) the education of students and stakeholders on that plan.
Every school needs an effective safety plan for addressing a host of potential issues, including unwanted intruders, emergencies, and lockdowns resulting from identified threats like active shooter incidents. School safety plans are comprised of a variety of assets, including site assessments, threat assessments, and employee and student training.
Training educators, staff, and students in effective responses to lockdowns and other intruder threats results in a school-wide understanding of the precautionary measures and the in-circumstance behaviors that are needed to save and preserve lives. Simply put: When students and others in the building are aware of how to respond and practice such responses regularly, even if they may be frightened during a real intruder event, they will still be able to take action immediately – out of habit rather than out of panic and confusion. That, in itself, saves lives.
#2: Upgrade Outdated Technology to Enhance Emergency Response
Schools across the country are working diligently to protect students, staff, and educators each day and our team is here to help.
One of the primary ways we support our clients is to consult with them regularly – offering our insights on advancements in safety and communications technology that can benefit their unique needs. Additionally, we diagnose areas of concern in need of improvement and highlight strengths in their existing systems that can be leveraged for integration with new safety technologies. Let’s explore this example: You’ve just installed a state-of-the-art video surveillance system. But your intercom system produces less-than-optimal function resulting from years or decades of adding on speakers without an overarching strategy behind those additions. After performing a diagnostic review and confirming that your surveillance system is delivering optimal results, our recommendations for improvements focus on removing the limitations of your current intercom solution, which could be best addressed by upgrades to your VoIP and paging systems.
In many cases, learning which outdated technology is in need of an upgrade and then taking corrective action to implement an improved solution is an excellent way to protect your school’s buildings and grounds from intruders. It creates a greater likelihood of swift and effective responses during emergencies. And that’s a step in the right direction you’ll want to make sure you take.
#3: Ensure Telecommunications Devices and Systems Provide Crystal-Clear Communication
In an emergency, every second counts. And muffled voices or unclear phone conversations can mean disaster when an intruder is entering or attempting to enter your buildings or grounds.
That’s why, at Eastern DataComm, we work with our clients to ensure they’re heard loud and clear when it matters most.
VoIP phone systems are the gold standard for schools and districts in need of clear communication. And with recent legislation requiring phone systems to have certain emergency-related capabilities, it’s more important than ever to consider your voice options.
VoIP systems also provide the opportunity to integrate the phone system with emergency notification systems and other safety technology solutions. And these systems can be customized to meet the needs of your school community in ways that make daily calls and even district-wide communication easier than before.
#4 Look for Ways to Enhance Security in Your Buildings and on Your Grounds
From access control to video surveillance and even paging systems, there are a variety of ways to enhance the overall security of your schools and district. But the important consideration is what makes the most sense for your needs and goals.
For example, video surveillance, when done well, can help to keep an around-the-clock eye on your buildings and grounds. This means you can monitor for intruders and immediately react as needed.
Access control systems allow you to control door locks and equip entryways with an added layer of security against intruders. This also helps make entry in the morning and dismissal less chaotic for visitors, staff, and students.
And, as the community learns of these added layers of protection, the systems you implement become a deterrent to those considering perpetrating unwanted actions.
#5 Remove the Chance for Human Error Wherever Possible with Integrated Technology
Intruder incidents can be terrifying and devastating if not responded to quickly and correctly. That’s why our Eastern DataComm team created an integrated technology system that reduces the chance of human error by ensuring all of your safety and security technology solutions are working together.
The Lockdown and Emergency Notification System and continuous monitoring service (LENS + OPTICS) provides comprehensive message dissemination when every second counts. It integrates with your school’s paging system as well as with your school’s VoIP phone system, lights and signage, access control, and video surveillance systems. The result is a swift and effective response to intruders that can be activated at the push of a button, by entering a code on a phone, or using an app-based initiation from a smart device.
Systems like this greatly reduce the chance of human error or having an emergency message ‘lost in translation’ when stress is high and time is limited. Utilizing this technology increases the chance that everyone in your buildings and on your grounds understands that there is an active threat or urgent situation occurring and can react as policy, procedure, and drill rehearsals have dictated. From LED beacons and signboards to PC pop-up messages, to emails, texts, and automated calls to police, everything is handled fast and efficiently.
Plus, OPTICS, the system self-monitoring technology, ensures that there is always a watchful eye on the components that enable optimal performance of your LENS system. Simply put, OPTICS ensures everything in your LENS system is running as it should be.
By leveraging these technology solutions to your advantage, you can focus on what needs your attention most during an emergency.
Safer Schools Start Here
Reach out to Eastern DataComm today to schedule a customized School Safety Consultation to keep your learning community connected and protected.