August 17th, 2017

Shooter Detection Systems recently announced a new technology integration between the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System and Everbridge’s leading Critical Event Management (CEM) platform.

Guardian, developed by Shooter Detection Systems, automatically identifies gunshots using acoustic technology and relays that information automatically to key systems, dramatically reducing response time.

Everbridge’s Critical Event Management (CEM) technology suite integrates situational intelligence and threat assessment, the ability to locate impacted people and assets as well as responders into one platform. The integration adds automatic gunshot detection to the data points collected for incident management, reporting and analysis.

By leveraging the Everbridge platform capabilities, Shooter Detection System’s gunshot detection alerts are sent with customized information based on the event, according to a press release. For example, a corporation can choose to send immediate location-aware Active Shooter emergency alerts to occupants of the building with shelter in place or evacuation instructions depending on the proximity of the individuals to the threat. With the Everbridge integration, a corporate enterprise may also choose to send automated alerts to executives, crisis management and security teams with additional instructions and procedures to keep all stakeholders informed as the event unfolds.

“The partnership with an industry leader in Critical Event Management like Everbridge complements our mission to align the Guardian System with innovative technology companies passionate about mitigating the active shooter threat,” said Christian Connors, Chief Executive Officer for Shooter Detection Systems, in the release. “Our offerings appeal to the same customer base of large corporate enterprises and municipal governments who are proactively addressing the active shooter threat to their organizations.”
The integration is expected to reduce response times further, and provide key personnel with critical information.

“Organizations continue to face a challenging environment when it comes to improving response times and gaining accountability of their people during active shooter incidents,” said Imad Mouline, CTO, Everbridge. “This new integration with Shooter Detection Systems represents an important step in improving communication by ensuring that the right people are notified, regardless of their location, as soon as a gunshot is detected.”

August 10th, 2017

President Trump has proposed steep cuts to the budgets of agencies charged with protecting the environment, and has pledged to roll back regulations that he sees as barriers to business growth.

Proposals include  cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by one third, and significantly reducing staff. The cuts would deeply impact enforcement at both the state and federal level, and would end the Energy Star rating program.

President Trump also withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord, an agreement between dozens of countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to slow or reverse climate change.

How have businesses responded to the proposals and changes? Rather than cheering loudly, many have pledged to continue their environmentally-friendly efforts, according to a recent post by Energy Manager Today.

According to the post, “REI, Kohls and Netflix currently source 100% of their electricity usage through renewable energy, while Google recently announced it will meet its 100% renewable energy goal this year.”

Goldman Sachs, which is anticipating a surge in renewable energy growth in Europe, recently signed an agreement to purchase power from a wind farm in Pennsylvania.

Apple also plans to build a data center in Denmark run completely on renewable energy, according to the post.

Why do businesses remain committed to renewable energy and other environmentally conscious practices, even if government regulations relax and incentives evaporate? Here are two reasons:

Consumers are watching. Consumers are typically favorable towards environmentally-friendly practices, and many actively seek out companies which share their commitment. Companies benefit when their brand is seen as “green,” both in terms of brand perception and competitive advantage.

Long-term cost efficiencies. Over the long-term, energy saving and renewable energy options actually turn out to be less expensive to operate and maintain than less green, traditional options. Business save money by optimizing lighting systems, adding smart sensors and more.

Integrated systems play a significant role in energy efficiency. Interested in learning more about integrated systems? We can help. Call (502) 632-4322 to talk to us about your needs.

August 7th, 2017

On August 21, the United States will experience a solar eclipse. The path of totality where the sun will be completely eclipsed will cut a 70-mile wide swath from Oregon in the Pacific Northwest to Charleston, SC on the Southeast Atlantic coast.

The path will cut through West Kentucky, with the city of Hopkinsville serving as the epicenter of the eclipse. The point of greatest eclipse – where the sun, moon and earth align perfectly – will take place over Hopkinsville for two minutes and forty seconds at 2:24:41 pm ET on the day of the eclipse.

The last time the U.S. experienced an eclipse of this magnitude was nearly 100 years ago, in 1918.

The eclipse will be a scientific and educational boon, and it will certainly be an economic boon to the areas in the path of totality, particularly Hopkinsville.

What will the eclipse mean in terms of the power grid? Safety and security?

States that rely heavily on solar power will see a significant impact, according to a report in Energy Manager Today. California, North Carolina, Utah and Nevada are all expected to be impacted.

The effect of the eclipse will be the equivalent of shutting down several nuclear reactors at once, according to the report. Fortunately, most customers shouldn’t have any interruptions in service. Utilities have had plenty of time to prepare and test systems, and systems have multiple redundancies built in. That, coupled with the rolling nature of the event should mean the lights remain on even when it grows dark around mid-afternoon.

Communities in the path of totality are expecting significant infrastructure implications. Hopkinsville could more than double its population for the day. All those out of town visitors will rely on apps on their smartphones to navigate and communicate. The increased traffic will surely overwhelm cell towers. In anticipation, additional temporary cell towers are being added.

Traffic is also expected to be a problem, with last minute visitors clogging I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway. The region doesn’t boast nearly enough beds to accommodate the influx of visitors, so temporary campgrounds are being set up in vacant fields and porta potties are being brought in to address sanitary concerns. Since the late August weather could be hot and steamy, cooling stations are being set up at key areas, too.

EMS responders are training, and officials are considering National Guard support as well.
The takeaway for businesses? Preparation and communication are key for remaining steady during significant events that are beyond your control. Coordination among businesses, government agencies and other partners is key.

July 25th, 2017

The dog days of summer have arrived, and with them peak energy use. Air conditioners are pumping at full blast, and energy managers are dreading next month’s power bill.

What can businesses do to conserve power and control costs? Here are a few simple tips:

 

  • Set the thermostat to 78 degrees while facilities are in use, and 80 or above when not in use.
  • Check all air filters and change as necessary. Service units regularly to make sure they are running at peak efficiency.
  • Install programmable thermostats to automatically adjust according to your desired settings.
  • Replace older equipment with newer, more energy-efficient models.
  • Check in with LG & E about possible rebates for new energy-efficient equipment. LG & E also offers a demand conservation program which may provide your business with modest monthly savings.
  • If you use an outside vendor to providing vending machines in your facility’s break room, check with them to see if the machines are Energy Star machines. If they are not, negotiate for an upgrade.
  • Replace all incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
  • Don’t forget outside lights. Put outside lights on timers or sensors, or make sure they are shut off during daylight hours.
  • Install motion sensors that automatically turn off lights when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Keep window shades/blinds drawn to block heat, or install screens or film to reflect bright sunlight.
  • Turn off and/or unplug equipment when not in use.
  • Consider flexible work arrangements where appropriate. If employees duties don’t require them to physically be in your office, why not have them work from home? Fewer workers in the office means less demand for lighting, cooling and power.
  • Maximize your landscaping to shade and shelter your building. An ocean of asphalt is not the most energy-efficient setting. A few well-placed trees can block the sun’s rays from heating up your facility.

July 20th, 2017

Security cameras see everything, even the most cringe-worthy moments we can imagine.
There are few ideas more horrifying to a lover or art or history than the destruction of a priceless, irreplaceable object. Even worse than that is the idea that a museum visitor would damage an object on display in a museum.

And worst of all? If the act is caught on video.

In recent weeks, an art installation in Los Angeles suffered an estimated $200,000 in damage when a visitor inadvertently knocked over a pedestal while crouching down to snap a selfie. The unintentional nudge set of a domino effect, which several pedestals toppling in succession and the crowns they held tumbling to the floor. The incident was caught on security video.

Simon Burch, the artist who created the installation, waxed philosophical about the mishap. “Crowns are fragile things. They are symbols of power. Perhaps it’s ironic and meaningful that they fell,” said Birch.

Museum staff at the National Watch and Clock Museum, in Columbia, Pennsylvania were less sanguine about the loss of a priceless, one of a kind modern clock which was knocked off the wall by visitors attempting to make it move.

“This is why we beg and plead with our visitors to please refrain from touching objects in museums,” said museum staffers.

The visitors did notify staff of the mishap.

In some cases, however, museum visitors are not terribly bothered that their bad behavior might destroy something that cannot be replaced.

Two children visiting an art museum in Shanghai, China gleefully ripped the wings off an installation called “Angel is Waiting” in the Shanghai Museum of Glass. Rather than removing the children from the exhibit area – they were clearly beyond rope barriers intended to keep them away from the work, two adults accompanying the children appeared to be videoing them as they slammed the work against the wall.
Need a security system to help you keep an eye on what’s valuable to you? We can help. Call us at (502) 632-4322 to learn more.

July 6th, 2017

For several deadly, terrifying moments, a place of comfort and care became a scene of death and chaos.

An active shooter recently rampaged through a New York City hospital, wounding six and killing one before taking his own life. The shooter, a former doctor at the facility, deliberately targeted medical staff at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. He took the life of a fellow doctor, and seriously wounded several doctors and medical students.
According to Becker Hospital Review, shootings in hospital are rare, with an average of only 14 per year. Most of the shootings – 33 percent – were the result of “grudges” according to the same study.

Revenge seems to be what motivated Dr. Henry Bello, the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center shooter. The former doctor resigned under pressure from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in 2015 after being accused of sexually harassing a co-worker according to a story in the New York Times. The incident was part of pattern of troubling behavior that riddled the doctor’s life.

Workplace shootings are actually on the rise, and revenge by disgruntled former employees is often the motivation. According to the most recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The most recent records by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace shootings increased by 15 percent to 354 in 2015, the first such increase since 2012.

What should employers do to protect workers, customers and others from disgruntled former employees bent on revenge?

Pay attention to patterns of disturbing behavior. Consider tracking workers who have been suspended or terminated.

Make active shooter training a part of regular safety and emergency planning.
Consider upgrading security options to include an active shooter detection system. The Guardian shot detection system by Shooter Detection Systems automatically detects when shots are fired and responds by alerting authorities, significantly reducing response time. The system can be integrated with other systems to lock doors, send messages and more.
Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

June 28th, 2017

According to a landmark longitudinal study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) active shooters are most likely to strike in commercial establishments, which are defined in the report as malls and businesses. More than 45 percent of all active shooter incidents take place in commercial settings, according to the study.

The most notable recent commercial incident took place just over a year ago, when an active shooter killed 49 people and wounded 58 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States.

Retail and other commercial establishments are turning Shooter Detection Systems as a response to the trend. The Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System automatically detects shots fired using acoustic and infrared sensors. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately.

The Guardian system has the ability to dramatically reduce response times in active shooter situations. A recent independent live-fire study in a two million square foot facility reduced reporting and first-responder dispatch time from as much as 18 minutes to just five seconds. Warnings can also be instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. This video demonstrates the basics of the system .
Guardian’s capabilities would have been greatly helpful in the Pulse nightclub incident, where it took several moments for authorities to be alerted and sometime after to pinpoint the location of the shooter within the club.

Shooter Detection Systems is currently exhibiting at NRF Protect, the largest retail and restaurant loss prevention event in North America, on June 26 – 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Active shooters also pose a threat in educational and healthcare settings. ECT Services will be on hand at several trade shows this fall, including:

2017 Healthcare Coalition Conference, September 26 – 28, Hyatt Regency/Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. The event is planned by the Kentucky Society of Healthcare Engineers, the state chapter representing the American Society of Healthcare Engineering and Association for the Healthcare Environment.

Kentucky Association of Housing Officers Annual Conference. Dates are October 5 – 7 and the event will be hosted this year at Berea College in Berea, Ky. KAHO provides personal and professional growth opportunities for college and university housing and residence life officers.

Kentucky Plant Management Conference, October 18—19, Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington, Ky. The event is sponsored by the Kentucky School Plant Management Association, and typically draws more than 300 attendees to breakout sessions, round tables and more.

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

June 20th, 2017

There’s no question that 360 degree panoramic cameras deliver excellent coverage and rich image detail.

But those qualities come at a price, and for 360 degree video, the cost comes in the form of higher bandwidth and storage usage.

Photo credit: Axis

For many end users, finding the sweet spot between the need for coverage and quality and the desire to keep bandwidth and storage costs low has been a challenge. Axis Communications, one of ECT Services trusted partners, is meeting that challenge with the release of updates to its Zipstream compression technology.

Zipstream analyzes and optimizes the video stream in real time. The technology automatically detects low value areas like walls, lawns and vegetation, and ‘smooths’ them out, saving bandwidth and space. At the same time, the technology automatically detects important forensic details such as faces, tattoos and license plates and isolates and preserves them. A dynamic rate controller is enabled automatically when a camera is panned, tilted or zoomed. The result is a 50 percent decrease in bandwidth and storage requirements for surveillance video with no loss in frame rate or resolution.
“Storage and bandwidth make a significant part of the total cost of a surveillance system. Axis developed Zipstream to address the specific needs of the security industry. That is, to minimize these requirements without losing forensic details,” said Johan Paulsson, Chief Technology Officer at Axis Communications in a company press release. “We are happy and proud to announce that the enhancement of Zipstream now embraces both panoramic and ultra-high resolution cameras.”

Two new Axis compact fixed mini dome ‘fisheye’ network cameras, AXIS M3047-P and AXIS M3048-P, take advantage of the enhanced Zipstream technology to deliver 360-degree coverage on a budget.

AXIS M3047-P, with a 6-megapixel sensor, and AXIS M3048-P, with a 12-megapixel sensor, both deliver full frame rate video, according to the release.

Zipstream also works with Axis’ fixed and fixed dome, PTZ, thermal and explosion-protected cameras as well as door stations.

June 7th, 2017

For Marisa Eckberg, it was just a typical day in the office.


Until suddenly, it wasn’t.

Eckberg, an associate with a Dallas-area staffing company, was onboarding new employees when the president of her company interrupted her work to deliver alarming news. Shots had been fired in their high-rise office building, and they needed to respond quickly to keep themselves and their new class of recruits safe.
Despite her fear, Eckberg calmly took action. She began directing the employees into a dark supply room, and directed them to close, lock, and barricade the door with a filing cabinet. She instructed them to turn the lights off and remain silent and set phones to “do not disturb.”
How did Eckberg remain calm, and know exactly what to do? Just six weeks before, she attended Active Shooter training hosted by her staffing company. She learned the “run, hide, fight” protocol, and knew her office’s emergency procedures and her responsibilities as a leader to keep her employees safe.
“It was definitely a scary situation, and one I would never want anyone to have to go through, but had my company not conducted active shooter training just a few weeks prior, I would have been that much more terrified and unable to offer any kind of help to those around me,” said Eckberg in a blog post recounting the experience.
It might be tempting not to take safety and emergency training seriously, but in a crisis such training is crucial. What can you do to ensure safety and emergency training is an important part of your organizational culture? Start with the following steps:
Review your safety and emergency training policies and procedures, and make sure they are complete and up to date. Include procedures for fires, natural disasters and other common emergencies. Review policies at least annually.
Schedule safety and emergency training regularly and require attendance for every employee and regular volunteer. Move beyond classroom presentations to drills where participants walk through procedures.
Inspect safety and emergency systems regularly. Fire detection and suppression systems, video surveillance systems, alarm systems and all other systems require routine maintenance and inspection to ensure they are functioning properly. Be sure you’ve documented any changes or updates to systems, too, and ensure they are working properly.
Look for gaps in safety and emergency systems and considering adding additional capabilities. Gunshot detection systems are a fairly new entry to the market. Much as a smoke or fire detection system automatically alerts building occupants to potential danger, gunshot detection systems automatically alert and respond to shots fired in a facility.
Learn more about our Guardian active shooter detection systems at an upcoming Live Fire event.

June 5th, 2017

Active shooters have struck in any number of public places. Schools, malls, concert venues, night clubs and offices have all been attacked. With each new attack, law enforcement and first responders learn a little more about the awful imagination of active shooters, and look for ways to anticipate, foil and mitigate future instances. Active shooter drills have become a common preparation tool in the kits of local agencies.

 


Perhaps one of the more unusual drills we’ve heard about was staged this week aboard a ferry boat on Puget Sound in Washington state.
Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, Customs and Border Protection, Washington State Ferry, Washington State Patrol, King County Sheriff’s Office and Everett Police Department teamed up to stage an active shooter drill aboard the newly-commissioned Washington State Ferry Chimacum.
Captain Thomas E. Bliss of the Northwest Maritime Academy was recruited to role play the part of a passenger in the drill, and he shared his account here.
Against the picturesque backdrop of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, Bliss and others scrambled to find cover on the vessel, hiding from “bad actors.”
His experiences led him to make several observations, all of which apply on sea or dry land.
Pay attention to those around you. It’s easy to be distracted by job duties, technology or any number of other things, but it’s important to be aware of other people around you. Be aware of any unusual dress or behavior that may indicate that person is concealing a weapon or may be moving into a specific position.
Engage with others. If someone is acting strangely, don’t just let it pass. Those acting with bad intentions count on slipping by unnoticed, and being noticed and engaged may be enough to discourage them.
If you see something, say something. If you notice an unattended bag, don’t just let it pass. “Pay attention to your inner voice,” says Bliss.
Has your organization planned an active shooter drill? Check out this tips for planning and staging an effective drill.