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Posts Tagged ‘Security’

Are veterans at risk of becoming mass shooters?

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.

Time is of the essence in school shootings

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.

Will processor chip vulnerabilities weaken your integrated building systems?

Shortly after the New Year, news broke world wide of potential weaknesses in the hardware that drives nearly every device on the planet from computers to smart phones. “Update everything now” dominated the news cycles for several days.

Now that the conversation has calmed a bit, facilities managers may be wondering, “What exactly was that all about, and how might it impact my integrated systems?” Here’s a high level explanation:

Last summer, researchers with Google and several universities discovered a new way hackers might be able to work their way around modern processors to gain access passwords and other sensitive information. One type of exploit was patchable, and patches were quickly developed and deployed.

The other approach is not so easily patchable, and will require a redesign of processors themselves. That will require years of research and work.
So, where does that leave the rest of the world? The situation may not be quite as dire or threatening as it seems. Keep in mind, these exploits were discovered by researchers. They are extremely novel approaches and will require a high level of expertise to develop attacks. To date, there’s no evidence that any attacks have been made using these weaknesses. Make no mistake, however, hackers are likely hard at work trying to figure out how to exploit these vulnerabilities, but right now security experts remain one step ahead with patches and other fixes.

Patches have already been pushed out, and longer term fixes will likely be ready by mid-year.

So what should you do in the meantime? The best thing to do is to make sure to implement all system updates in a timely fashion.

For our part, we have been vigorously researching the problem to determine if our customers’ integrated building systems will be impacted. Our goal is to bring you solid information and solutions that securely function and provide value.  We currently have no indication that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data, and we will continue to closely follow this situation.

ECT Services is dedicated to the safety and security of our customers.   As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates.   In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us at (800) 567-1180. Thank you.

Marshall County school shooting hits close to home

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.

Can flu pose a security risk to your facility?

Flu activity is now widespread across much of the country, and hitting hard in the Ohio Valley. The strain going around this year seems to be particularly vicious and not included in the flu shot.

If it hasn’t already made its way through your staff, it probably will soon. Team members will be out sick or caring for sick family members. While having a team member out can be a challenge in terms of workload and project deadlines for the rest of the team, can it also pose a security risk?

Without proper planning and redundancies, yes. Being short staffed can lead to weaknesses in processes as overburdened staff members scramble to fill in gaps, especially if they are unfamiliar with systems or don’t have access to systems.

Here are some ideas for reducing the risk:

– Prevent the spread of the flu. The strongest weapon to combat the flu is simple hygiene. Make sure bathrooms are well stocked with handwashing supplies and cleaned and disinfected regularly. Post reminders in bathrooms and breakrooms about handwashing. Cleaning crews should also regularly wipe down light switch plates, door handles, counter tops, phones and any other surfaces that are touched frequently.

– Give clear guidance that those who are experiencing symptoms – fever, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea – should stay home. Support that by giving adequate sick days or allowing work to be made up later. Keeping sick workers out of the office is key to keeping the rest of the staff well.

– Cross train and document key roles. Make sure roles and basic duties are documented, and buddy up team members to cross train one another. Use regular staff meetings to give updates on key projects and issues so everyone has some familiarity with what other team members are doing, and can step in at a moment’s notice. Make it a practice to run emergency drills and review policies and procedures regularly, so staff members are always prepared.

– Where possible, allow work from home. If flu starts making its way through your staff, it might be best to allow team members to work from home to reduce their chances of being exposed. Consider flexible work policies when possible.


Security starts in the construction phase.

Strong security includes good integrated systems – video, indoor gunshot detection, alerts – backed up by well-thought out policies.

Those are great and crucial elements, but have you considered your physical space?

Good security planning starts in the construction of design phase. Some elements to consider:

Getting in, getting out. Are primary entrances and exits for each building located where employees have easy access to secure from the inside? In an emergency, employees should be able to quickly access doors and secure them from the inside.

What about secondary entrances and exits? Employees should also have access to secondary exits that lead into more secure interior spaces in the event of an emergency.

Safe rooms. Does your facility have one secure room large enough to accommodate several staff and guests in an emergency? Walls should be reinforced so bullets can’t pass through. Door frames and doors should be strong enough to take a battering and not cave in or break open.

Reliable communications. Safe rooms and other key areas should be equipped with landline phones that can be used for emergency calls. While mobile phones are ubiquitous, they might not be able to get a strong enough signal in some places to reach out in the event of an emergency.

Keeping an eye on things. Video camera placement is key. For all facilities, cameras should be trained on entrances and exits, high traffic areas and parking areas. For retail facilities, cameras might be positioned to keep an eye on merchandise and cash registers. Manufacturers and warehouses might need to keep an eye on loading docks. All camera placement should be well-thought out and well-documented in facility schematics.

Make space for the home team, and a traveling team, too. If on-site monitoring and security is in your plans, make sure the team is placed appropriately within the space. But don’t forget to include provisions for off-site, remote monitoring, too.

Need help designing and documenting your new build’s security features? We can help. Call us at (800) 567-1180 to discuss your goals.

Could domestic violence policies reduce workplace violence risks?

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.

Preparation, quick thinking save school kids from gunman

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.

Showtime documentary series details the impacts of mass shootings

Mass shootings have become such a phenomenon in the United States that they now have their own television series.

Showtime launched a new documentary series “Active Shooter: America Under Fire” this fall. The show airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern. The producers include documentary veterans Eli Holzman (“Undercover Boss”), Aaron Saidman (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”) and Star Price (“Penn & Teller: Bull—t!”).
The series pieces together archival footage, interviews and more to explore significant mass shooting events through the eyes of first responders and survivors.

The show was inspired when producers heard about the experiences of a 911 operator haunted by the 2013 shooting spree in Santa Monica, California, Saidman told a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel.

“Eli and I looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, this is an epidemic that is affecting people we never think about, and it’s affecting them in these cruel and immeasurable ways,’ ” he said in a recent interview with the paper. “The series is a way to consider these people as relatable human beings who have suffered a horrible tragedy — not just statistics.”

Mass shootings have left deep and lasting scars on first responders.
“As a first responder’s spouse, your biggest fear was, ‘Are they going to come home?’ ” Jessica Realin, wife of a former Orlando police officer who responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You never realize the fear of, ‘Well, they came home, but they’re not the same person anymore.’ ”

The producers hope the series sparks constructive conversation around ways to reduce gun violence in the United States.

“Something has to be done,” Price told the Review-Journal. “We don’t suggest that we have all the answers, but we have to start talking about this and being open about what the issues are, and how all of us as a country can come together to try to stop this from happening.”

Episodes feature mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Santa Monica, California; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and Columbine, Colorado.

All signs indicate series producers will continue to have subjects for future episodes. Just two days after the series premiered, an active shooter opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

At least it is for now.

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker project, there have been 369 mass shootings so far in 2017.

Until we can figure out how to prevent the problem of mass shooter incidents, the next best thing we can do is protect people from mass shooter incidents. One way to do that is through rapid, effective shot detection.

The Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System uses acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect shots fired and initiates response, including alerting authorities and those in the vicinity. Guardian integrates with other systems to trigger alerts, lock doors and more. Guardian reduces emergency response time significantly.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System? Call (800) 567-1180 or register now for a Live Fire event to see a demonstration of Guardian’s capabilities.

Is “reducing false alarms” on your radar?

… It’s on Axis’ radar, too.

The network video leader recently rolled out a new offering: motion-detecting radar.

The Axis D2050-VE uses radar technology to minimize false alarms triggered by spiders, small animals, shadows and light reflections. Once motion is detected, the device can trigger camera recording and/or activate a horn or lights to deter unauthorized access to property or a facility. The radar can be used alongside cameras with video motion detection, and can be used to track movement with PTZ cameras.

Reducing false alarms is key to good security. Not only are false alarms annoying, they impact operational readiness. Repeated false alarms fatigue personnel, and can make it possible for more credible threats to be disregarded.

“Radar closes a gap as it offers good area coverage, detects movement with high accuracy, and reduces false alarms,” explained Andres Vigren, Global Product Manager, Axis Communications, in a press release. “Compared to simple motion detectors, AXIS D2050-VE provides additional information of detected objects which allows for auto tracking with Axis PTZ cameras. Customers can now easily add proven radar technology to their existing or new surveillance systems to protect their premises.”

The radar detector was designed to be used in medium industrial installations. While its effectiveness is maximized when part of a complete surveillance system, it can also be used as a standalone tool. It integrates with other Axis products, including cameras and management software, and is also compatible with other systems thanks to its open interface design.

The Axis D2050-VE Network Radar Detector is wall mounted detector and designed for outdoor use. It offers detection coverage of 120 degrees and 164 feet, and is powered by Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+). The Axis D2050-VE has IP66, IK08 and NEMA 4X ratings for tough environments, and can be operated in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 60°C (-40 to 140°F), well within the typical temperature range for the Ohio Valley.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team at (800) 567-1180 for more information about Axis products.