10 School Safety Technology Considerations
By Mike Lahiff
Since Columbine in 1999, there have been more than 554 victims of school shootings and 320,000 children affected by gun-related violence at school. As gun policy debates rage on, safety and security stakeholders are turning to technology to ensure the safety of students, educators, and staff of active shooters.
Schools are difficult to protect as they typically have large outdoor areas, many entrances and limited resources for reactive security technology and hiring additional security personnel. In addition, there is no panacea that can do everything. A successful physical security technology strategy must rely on multiple layers of security solutions that work together — like cameras, object detection software, and access control systems — to give first responders valuable time to respond to and stop active shooters.
To help you decide if a vendor can deliver an effective solution that protects your schools from gun-related violence, here are ten key considerations to review.
1. Make sure the technologies can actually do what they are supposed to do
Federal government accreditations are the clearest indicators of whether a technology is effectively delivering on what it promises. The gold standard is US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognition under the SAFETY Act, signed into law after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to encourage the development and adoption of technologies that could help defend against terrorism. The SAFETY Act program evaluates the effectiveness of technology through rigorous analysis of data, processes and methods, and provides levels of recognition, each with increasing liability protection for claims resulting from an act of terrorism.
2. Prioritize proactive over reactive technologies
When an active shooter is able to kill dozens before a 9-1-1 call can be made, every second counts. Reactive technologies cannot help change the course of events as they unfold—think regular door locks or unmonitored security camera footage used only during a crime investigation. Instead, opt for proactive technologies that can dynamically identify and/or prevent threats in real-time.