October 18th, 2018

This week’s episode of This American Life, a long-running public radio program that explores a different theme each week, featured stories on mass shootings. One of the segments featured took a closer look at the lessons learned in the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last February.

The school had undergone intensive active shooter training just weeks before the event that took the lives of 17 students and teachers. As I listened to the segment, a few insights surfaced for me:

  1. One of the lessons learned from previous school shooting was the importance of locking doors and securing areas. At Sandy Hook, the gunman tried two classroom doors and found them locked. The third classroom door he tried was not. He entered that classroom.

“I will not be the third door,” teacher Melissa Falkowski told her students during the active shooter training at Stoneman Douglas.

The Guardian indoor shot detection system offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors – no bigger and no more obtrusive than smoke detectors — to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. Guardian can integrate with systems to automatically lock doors the moment a shot is detected. That quick action can limit a shooter’s movement, and also limit the movements of potential targets, keeping them out of harm’s way.

  1. Hyper realistic drills yielded worse performance, underscoring what we already know: humans don’t perform perfectly in high-stress situations. Some schools have used surprise drills featuring “gunmen” with blanks. As you might anticipate, the drills can be extremely traumatizing to faculty, staff and students.

In surprise drills with blanks, participants were so traumatized they forgot key steps like calling the police. Guardian eliminates such critical errors by automatically notifying police the moment that a shot is detected.

  1. Other alarms can add to confusion. During the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, dust from acoustical tiles hit by the first few bullets tripped the fire alarms, sending students and teachers pouring out into the hallways where they were exposed to the shooter. Emergency plans had accounted for multiple conflicting alarms – a fire alarm and an active shooter alert – with instruction to ignore a fire alarm and always pay attention to the active shooter alert. But the fire alarm was triggered instantaneously, while the active shooter alert was not.

Would the outcome have been different if acoustic shot detection had triggered an alarm for an active shooter first, rather than an alarm for a fire drill?

Interested in learning more about Guardian? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

September 17th, 2018

September is National Preparedness Month, a time when families are encouraged to make plans for how they will survive fires, floods, tornados or other disasters.

Preparedness is not just for families, however. Business, schools and other organizations also need to have preparedness plans in place.

The ongoing, widespread disaster unfolding along the Mid-Atlantic coast is a stark reminder of why disaster preparedness matters. Hurricane Florence has dropped record amounts of rain already, with more still to come, and massive flooding is anticipated from the coast up into the Appalachian Mountains.

Think we’re safe from hurricanes in the Ohio Valley? It was ten years ago this month that remnants of Hurricane Ivan reformed over Kentucky and swept up the valley and wrought a path of destruction from Arkansas to Canada, including 75 mile per hour wind gusts in Louisville and Cincinnati. The storm downed trees and knocked power out for days throughout the region.
And hurricane season is far from being over. The season will peak in October.

Beyond natural disasters, fires and active shooter events are also a threat. Planning should extend beyond the event and protecting staff, customers and property from immediate harm to business continuity. How will you continue to operate or get back up and running as quickly as possible following a disaster? Proper planning should address all everything from the initial event to complete recovery.

How robust is your preparedness plan? This checklist from the National Fire Protection Association is a great place to start assessing your efforts. The NFPA is also offering this free guide for the development, implementation, assessment, and maintenance of disaster/emergency management and continuity of operations programs on its website.

Well-designed, well-maintained and well-documented integrated systems are key to running your business day to day and recovering in the aftermath of disaster. ECT Services offers more than 30 years of experience delivering design, development and service that keep facilities operating at peak safety and efficiency. Call us today at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

August 29th, 2018

It may seem like little has changed in communities impacted by last year’s deadly spate of school shootings, but that may not be the case.

Many called for “hardening” schools against future attacks with enhanced security processes and systems, and school districts across Texas are acting on recommendations to include active shooter detection systems to school facilities.

“We are experiencing a clear trend upwards in the K-12 school market, especially in Texas,” said Christopher Swanger, Senior Vice President of Sales for Shooter Detection Services, which markets The Guardian. “Texas schools are prioritizing funds for school safety and they see the value of our zero false alert system to empower students, staff and law enforcement to respond. Would you send your children to school without fire alarms? Schools are now looking at active shooter detection in the same way.”
The Houston area witnessed its own deadly school shooting on May 18 when a student entered an art classroom and began firing. He killed eight students and two teachers and wounded thirteen others, including school security personnel.

Just two weeks after, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a report which included a recommendation that Texas schools install active shooter alarm systems as part of structural improvements aimed at “hardening” schools.

While calls for hardening schools stokes fears that schools would become less welcoming fortresses, active shooter alert systems are a relatively unobtrusive option.

The Guardian indoor shot detection offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors – no bigger and no more obtrusive than smoke detectors — to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. The highly-accurate automated response eliminates reliance on human response during high-pressure, stressful and physically dangerous situations.

Guardian can also integrate with a variety of other systems to show live video feed and floor mapping during an event, so shooters can be accurately tracked even from off site. Door locks can be triggered that trap a shooter in a particular area.

Guardian also can be integrated with communication systems to send out mass notifications via social media, audio systems, computer monitors, telephones, mobile devices and fire alarms systems.
This video demonstrates the basics of the system. Interested in learning more? Please click here.

May 29th, 2018

Paige Curry wasn’t even surprised when a gunman made his way into her Santa Fe High School outside Dallas, Texas on May 18 and took the lives of ten people.
In the aftermath of the latest school shooting, a reporter asked the young teen if she was surprised that such a thing could happen at her school.
With a rueful laugh, Curry said she wasn’t.

“It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too,” said Curry.

It’s easy to see shy she feels that way.

Recent analysis in the Washington Post revealed that 2018 has been deadlier for students than for members of the military.

As of May 18, 31 people have died this year in school shooting incidents while 29 U.S military members have died in combat and non-combat incidents.

While it is important to keep the numbers in perspective – there are far more school children than there are service members, and service members are far more likely to be killed while serving – the analysis shouldn’t be overlooked. This year has been more deadly than previous years, and it’s understandable that students would feel at risk.
According to the Post, “the number of deaths and school shooting incidents through May 18 are each higher this year than at any point since 2000. There have been three times as many deaths in school shootings so far this year than in the second-most deadly year through May 18, 2005.”

Integrated security systems are key to quickly detecting and responding to threats. The Guardian indoor shot detection offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. The highly-accurate automated response eliminates reliance on human response during high-pressure, stressful and physically dangerous situations.

Guardian also integrates with a variety of other systems to show live video feed and floor mapping during an event, so shooters can be accurately tracked even from off site. Door locks can be triggered that trap a shooter in a particular area.
Guardian also can be integrated with communication systems to send out mass notifications via social media, audio systems, computer monitors, telephones, mobile devices and fire alarms systems.

This video demonstrates the basics of the system.
Interested in learning more? Please click here.

March 16th, 2018

The latest mass shooting – this one at a veterans’ home in California – touches on the usual concerns around workplace violence and violence in medical facilities.

This incident, however, raises a new concern: are veterans a risk for committing violence?

The shooter in the incident in Yountville, California was a veteran who had been part of the home’s program for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While his motives are currently unknown, he had recently been dismissed from the program. He returned to the facility armed, and took the lives of three staff members before taking his own.

While people with ties to the military have been involved in recent high-profile shootings, including the perpetrator in the mass shooting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport last January, and the shooter in the Sutherland Springs church shooting last September, statistics do not show an increased risk for veterans.
According to this report in the San Diego Union Tribune, several studies and data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics show no evidence that military veterans are more prone to lethal violence than others.

Even so, in the search for answers in the wake of traumatic events like mass shootings, some might seize on link together common factors such as military service to construct a narrative. In the case of veterans with PTSD, data doesn’t support the narrative that they are more likely to act out violently toward others.

How can facilities managers protect themselves, their employees and the people they serve? Some tips:

• Take any and all threats seriously. Communicate threats from former staff members, customers, clients and any others to the proper authorities.

• Develop policies and procedures that guide staff members on the steps to take in the event of an active shooter. Drill regularly.

• Design facilities with security in mind. Whether designing for initial construction or retrofitting an existing facility, ECT Services can help create spaces that are safer, more energy efficient and seamlessly connected.

Contact us at (800) 567-1180 today for a consultation.

March 1st, 2018

Six minutes.

Six minutes is all it took for the shooter to take the lives of seventeen students and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th.

According to a timeline of events published by the Sun Sentinel, the accused killer entered the building at 2:21 p.m. and began firing. By 2:28, he had blended in with other students and exited the building.

As soon as the shooter began firing, the school went into a Code Red lockdown, which should have locked hallway doors and prevented his progress. But he had pulled the fire alarm, which overrode the door locks.

Even while taking cover in classrooms, teachers and students were frantically trying to call 911. For some, calls would not go through because there’s no cell phone service in those classrooms. Networks were also quickly overwhelmed, as is often the case in emergency events.

In the midst of the chaos surrounding mass shooting events, rapid response is crucial. According to a 2013 United States Department of Justice report, shooter situations last an average of 12.5 minutes, and it typically takes law enforcement an average of 18 minutes to respond. Shortening response time could save lives.

The Guardian indoor shot detection offered by Shooter Detection Services drops response time to as little as just five seconds. How? By using acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. The highly-accurate automated response eliminates reliance on human response during high-pressure, stressful and physically dangerous situations.
Guardian also integrates with a variety of other systems to show live video feed and floor mapping during an event, so shooters can be accurately tracked even from off site. Door locks can be triggered that trap a shooter in a particular area.

Guardian also can be integrated with communication systems to send out mass notifications via social media, audio systems, computer monitors, telephones, mobile devices and fire alarms systems.

ECT Services is pleased to offer the Guardian gunshot detection system developed by Shooter Detection Systems.

This video demonstrates the basics of the system.
Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

February 2nd, 2018

Were it not for the location, perhaps we wouldn’t have even paid much attention to it.

But last week’s school shooting in Marshall County, Kentucky was close to home. Two students were killed, and more than a dozen injured when a student opened fire with a handgun in the school’s commons area.

It was the eleventh school shooting of the year. And since then, another has hit the news waves. That remarkable statistic is even more remarkable given the fact that the end of January was nearly a week away when the shooting took place, and most schools across the country didn’t get started until several days into January, and many schools across the Southeast were out for several days due to inclement weather.

On average, the United States has around a school shooting a week, and there have been more than 300 school shootings since 2013, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.

Political solutions don’t seem to be in the offing, though one Kentucky lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow school districts to employ marshals with concealed carry permits to patrol school grounds. In the event of an active shooter situation, the lawmaker hopes a marshal would be able to subdue the shooter by returning fire.

In response to the Marshall County shooting, some other Kentucky schools have held active shooter drills, reminding students and teachers to “run, hide, or fight.” Active shooter drills are now as much a part of safety training as tornado and fire drills.

Just as tornado and fire alarms are standard protection systems in schools, perhaps it’s time to consider shot detection systems as the standard, too.
Shooter Detection System’s Guardian uses acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots inside a facility. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. Warnings are also instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. Guardian gunshot detection can also be integrated with a number of other systems, including text alerts, incident management dashboards and building systems like door locks and video surveillance.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian active shooter detection system? Register now for one of our Live Fire events to see a live demonstration, or call us at (800) 567-1180. Our next event if February 28th. Please join us to learn more information.

January 2nd, 2018

Without question, the United States holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in mass shootings. As we grapple with answers as to why mass shootings take place more frequently here than in other parts of the world, a new insight has emerged: the link between domestic violence and mass shootings.

The shooter who opened fire during a worship service in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last fall, killing more than two dozen men, women and children, had a history of domestic violence. So did the shooters in recent mass shootings in Las Vegas, San Bernardino and Orlando. In fact, domestic violence was involved in 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety.

What can businesses and other public institutions do to reduce risks associated with domestic violence? Here are a few ideas:

Establish policies and supports. Providing employees who are victims of domestic violence with safety and job security is a strong first step. Employees who fear losing their jobs due to dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence may be reluctant to disclose their situation. That lack of awareness may leave a workplace vulnerable to threats. Craft policies that protect victims of domestic violence by helping them change work hours or locations, by providing them with escorts to parking areas, and more. Be aware that courts and some state laws recognize victims of domestic violence as protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reasonable accommodations must be made for them.

At the same time, consider offering an employee assistance program that would afford employees access to counseling and other services. Make it safe for those who are at risk of lashing out to seek help.
Keep lines of communication open, but discreet. Instruct supervisors and managers to only disclose information on a need to know basis, and map those disclosures out as part of your policy development. For instance, security teams will need to be aware if protective orders have been issued.

Offer workplace violence and active shooter drills as part of your overall disaster preparedness planning. Use the Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol as the basis for your planning.

Include integrated security systems solutions. The Guardian system automatically detects and reports shots fired indoors, and will notify authorities and alert stakeholders immediately and accurately. Automatic detection and alerts shave precious minutes off response times.

Want to know more? Call (800) 567-1180 now to learn more about our upcoming Live Fire demonstrations.

November 30th, 2017

Just before Thanksgiving, after killing his wife and two neighbors, a man in Northern California with a long history of violence and mental illness set out to make a bad day much, much worse.

The shooter set out for nearby Rancho Tehama Elementary School, apparently intent on continuing his killing spree. When he arrived at the school, he found doors locked and his entry blocked. He repeatedly tried to enter one classroom door, but could not get through. He shot in frustration at walls and windows, but was unable to gain access to the children and teachers locked away inside. Stray bullets seriously injured one student, but a hundred others were saved.

How was a more serious crisis averted? Authorities are crediting the quick actions of teachers, janitors and administrators.

As soon as they heard gunfire in the distance, school staff initiated a lockdown and alerted authorities. They hustled children under desks and worked to keep them calm.

The safety procedures weren’t dreamed up in the spur of the moment. According to this NPR report , nearly all schools have active shooter safety plans, and nearly two-thirds of school districts regularly conduct active shooter drills.

It’s easy to see why drills are necessary. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, there have been 160 more school shootings.

Schools are vulnerable, but they are far from the only places vulnerable to mass shootings. This year alone, there have been 318 mass shootings in the U.S. in places ranging from businesses to outdoor festivals to churches.

What used to be nearly unthinkable now happens with numbing regularity. What should you do to prepare for an active shooter event in your facility? Here are a few simple steps:

Have a written plan in place, and communicate it. At the very least, draft procedures for an active shooter event and review with staff. Using the Run Hide Fight model, identify escape and shelter in place strategies, and review with staff.
Conduct regular safety drills. Just as with other emergencies such as tornadoes or fire, practice response with your team. Preparedness is key.

Consider adding shooter detection systems to your building systems. The Guardian system from Shooter Detection Systems automatically detects gunshots and can instantly notify authorities and trigger other responses, including text alerts, video and door locks. Quick automated actions cut down response times and save lives. This video demonstrates the basics of the system.

Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

November 29th, 2017

Shooter Detection Systems continues to gain recognition from security experts for its Guardian Indoor Active Shooter system.

SDS was honored with the award for Best Gunshot Detection Solution in the American Security Today 2017 ASTORS Homeland Security Awards at the ISC East show earlier this month. The ASTORS awards program honors security vendors, law enforcement and government agencies for homeland security efforts. ISC East is the largest security vending show in the northeast.

Shooter Detection System’s Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System uses acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots inside a facility. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. The instantaneous response significantly cuts response time and reduces the opportunity for human error.

Warnings can also be sent out instantly to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. The system can also be integrated with a number of other systems, including text alerts, incident management dashboards and building systems like door locks and video surveillance.

Judges cited several key factors in their decision to recognize the Guardian system with an ASTORS award. Among the reasons was the system’s speed and reliability. Guardian accurately pinpoints the location of an active shooter and sends alerts to authorities and other key stakeholders in less than a second. Not only is the system fast, it’s incredibly accurate. Across dozens of applications in a variety of settings, the system has yet to issue a single false alarm in over 17 million hours of installed time.

Judges also cited SDS’s strong footprint in the market. Guardian is the most widely installed indoor gunshot detection solution available. It’s installed in corporate offices, schools, government buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, utilities, retail and entertainment venues and transportation hubs. The variety of applications and strong performance in each indicate the strength and quality of the system.

Guardian’s strong integration with other systems was also a factor. Guardian integrates with video, access control, mass notification, alarm, public address, emergency lighting, radio and mobile systems, providing 360 degree coverage in the event of an active shooter situation.

Guardian is also the only indoor active shooter system to be awarded the SAFETY Act certified by the Department of Homeland Security.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian active shooter detection system? Register now for one of our Live Fire events to see a live demonstration, or call us at (800) 567-1180.