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Posts Tagged ‘Preparedness’

Active Shooter Drills and Trauma

An active shooter drill for staff members at an elementary school in Indiana drew fire recently when it was revealed that teachers were shot with Airsoft guns as part of the training.

Members of local law enforcement who were conducting the training shot four teachers “execution style” in the course of the training. The shots raised welts and drew blood on some of the teachers.

The Indiana State Teachers’ Union decried the training tactics and called for changes, but the White County Sheriff’s Office defended the approach.

“The training was meant to be realistic — to show what happens if you don’t act,” Sheriff Bill Brooks said following the training.

But is there actually a knowledge gap for teachers? Do they not know what may happen if they fail to act in a real, live active shooter event? That’s doubtful, given ample evidence. Nearly every significant active mass shooting event at a school has included teachers and staff members rushing to protect children. Teachers fully understand the need to act, and act quickly.

Inflicting unnecessary trauma on teachers, staff and children during training events may actually be a greater risk to safety in the long term, and the learning environment in the short term.

A recent story that appeared on MarketWatch claims that no studies exist that demonstrate that more realistic active shooter training is more effective.

A segment produced on an episode of This American Life last year suggested that realistic active shooter drills may actually negatively impact preparation. Participants in drills were so traumatized that they forgot critical response steps, such as calling police.

Drills and actual active shooter events both reveal the same thing: trauma negatively impacts humans’ ability to consistently respond in a way that is both timely and effective. While drills and training are still important, they are not likely to overcome that.

Instead of putting all of the onus to respond on teachers, staff and students, a better approach may be to integrate systems that automatically detect and respond to gun shots, much like fire detection systems automatically detect and respond to the threat of fire.  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, limiting a shooter’s movement and/or keeping potential targets out of harm’s way.

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

What have we learned since Sandy Hook?

Last week marked the six-year anniversary of the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults.

There were school shootings before the Sandy Hook event, and there have been school shootings after. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group formed in the wake of Sandy Hook, there have been 89 incidents involving gun fire at schools in the last year alone. But Sandy Hook represents a cultural touchstone in some sense, and is often cited in debates over how to solve the problem of mass shootings.

But what lessons have we learned since Sandy Hook?

Campus Safety Magazine identifies seven lessons from Sandy Hook. Among the most striking is the necessity to act quickly in the event of an active shooter situation.

Quickly implementing lockdown procedures undoubtedly saved the lives of many at Sandy Hook. Twenty of the victims where killed in or near two unlocked rooms. In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. last year, 22 people were shot in the first 69 seconds of the incident. Speed is crucial, yet difficult to achieve in high-stress situations.

In crisis simulation exercises conducted by Campus Safety Magazine, school personnel miscalculated the time they would have to lock the door. It took between 30 and 40 seconds to find keys and lock doors in many cases, and up to a minute in others.

Part of the delay may be attributable to being able to quickly and accurately assess the threat.

Shot detection systems like Guardian remove the uncertainty and reduce time to act by automatically and accurately detecting gunfire and initiating response. Guardian uses acoustic and infrared sensors to detect gunfire. 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.

Guardian can also be integrated with other systems, such as communication systems, to immediately alert authorities, staff and other key stakeholders the second a shot is detected.

Schools are recognizing the value of Guardian. For instance, schools in independent districts across Texas have chosen to install Guardian as part of a comprehensive school safety approach aimed at “hardening” schools unobtrusively.

Interested in learning more? Sign up here for our next Live Fire demonstration.

September is National Preparedness Month

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.

Axis provides big league security for the Little League World Series venue

With the weather warming up and the Kentucky Derby in the books, many are turning their attention to America’s favorite sport: baseball!

Little league fields across the country are humming with activity, and while the vast majority of the kids playing just dream of making the catch or scoring the winning run, some legitimately have their sights set a little higher.

In mid-August, talented teams of 10-12 year olds will take the field Williamsport, Penn. for the Little League World Series. For ten days, hundreds of thousands of players, coaches, parents, grandparents, fans and dignitaries from around the world will converge upon the small town of 6,500 to watch the action live.

But who will be keeping an eye on them?

Axis cameras will provide security teams with insights into all that’s going on across the 72-acre complex, which includes 2 stadiums, the World of Little League® Museum, parking, concessions, retail shops, sponsor booths, dormitories and other facilities. Strategically mounted AXIS Q60 PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) Network Cameras will allow teams to keep a pulse on crowds and zoom in on any activity of special note. Even activities that take place away from the glaring, bright lights of the outfield will be in sharp view; Axis Lightfinder technology enables the cameras to produce high resolution, colored images in almost complete darkness. Thermal camera and radar capabilities also enhance security around the complex’s perimeter.

Axis delivers these capabilities on a budget, too. Little League International is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the experience as affordable as possible for families to attend. There’s no entrance fee for the games, so there’s no gate to underwrite the security budget. Even so, Axis capabilities are efficient enough to provide maximum coverage and extend the reach of security teams. The cameras are integrated seamlessly with network and access control systems, maximizing coverage and efficiency.

Interested in learning more about how Axis can provide efficient, effective, integrated security solutions for your venue, too? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Safety training doesn’t matter, until suddenly it does

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


Until suddenly, it wasn’t.

Eckberg, an associate with a Dallas-area HR Managed Services company, was conducting training for a client when the president of that client 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 team members 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 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. She was able to utilize those in her client’s building.

“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.

Now is the time to plan an active shooter preparedness drill

Has your organization staged an active shooter preparedness drill? If the answer is no, you are not alone.


According to a recent story in HR Daily Advisor, most companies have not. Despite strong perceptions that an active shooter incident is a top threat, 79 percent of those surveyed don’t fee adequately prepared for such a scenario, and 61 percent have never conducted an active shooter preparedness drill.
In additional, 44 percent don’t have a plan to communicate and escalate alerts.
Need to get your active shooter preparedness efforts off the ground? Take these steps:
Bring stakeholders to the table
Stakeholders will vary based on context, but consider including facility managers, security personnel, local law enforcement and other first responders, employees with significant contact with the public. Each will bring a different, valuable perspective.
Research resources
The Department of Homeland Security has developed education materials including a video, pamphlets and posters aimed at educating the public about what to do in an active shooter situation. Click here for details.
Assessment and education is also available from ECT Services. Contact James Burton at 502.632.4322 or email sales@ectservices.com.
Enhance systems
Consider adding an active shooter detection system to your facility. The award-winning Guardian Shooter Detection System significantly reduces response time by automatically detecting when shots are fired, then instantly reporting the activity to authorities and alerting people in the area.
Interested in learning more? Register for a Live Fire Event to see the system in action.
Get it in writing
Just as will all other emergency policies and procedures, your plan should be written, distributed to all appropriate personnel, and reviewed and updated regularly.
Practice makes perfect
Coordinate with local law enforcement and first responders to conduct an active shooter drill. Communicate to participants and the public when and where the drill will take place, and what they can expect. Surprises drills can set off panic and lead to public safety issues.

Five Steps for Tornado Season Preparation

Just a few short years ago, a tornado outbreak cut a wide swath through the Ohio Valley. The outbreak – the second deadliest March outbreak on record – left a path of destruction across Kentucky, Indiana and much of the southeastern United States.

The tornado leveled homes, businesses, churches and schools. The outbreak began early and picked up steam throughout the day, slamming into Henryville, Ind. just as schools were dismissing for the day.

Is your facility prepared for a tornado? Tornado season is at its peak from March to May, so now is the time to review plans. Check out these preparation steps, courtesy of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration:

Identify a safe shelter. Basements are best, but if no underground shelter area is available, identify an interior room on the lowest level of your facility. Avoid large, open spaces such as auditoriums or cafeterias.

Equip the shelter area. Secure a first aid kit in the designated shelter area. Consider adding a weather radio to the kit, too.

Establish an alarm system. Test the system regularly, and be sure staff members recognize the alarm.

Prepare to get an accurate headcount. How will you account for all the people in your facility? Keep updated lists and logs of staff, visitors and anyone else that might be in your facility on any given day. Designate a staff person to take charge of those lists in an emergency. Know who is in your shelter area, and who is not accounted for in an emergency.

Practice, practice, practice. Hold training drills throughout the year, and identify areas for improvement.

For more information, check out this preparedness guide developed by NOAA, FEMA and the American Red Cross.