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Posts Tagged ‘Security’

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 (502) 632-4322 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 (502) 632-4322 for more information about Axis products.

Could an ‘Airborne’ Bluetooth attack put your facility at risk?

A new attack aimed at every computer, mobile device, smart TV or other IoT device running on Android, Linux, Windows, and pre-version 10 of iOS operating systems could open up your systems and facilities to number of significant vulnerabilities.

The newly-identified “BlueBorne” vector “allows attackers to take control of devices, access corporate data and networks, penetrate secure ‘air-gapped’ networks, and spread malware laterally to adjacent devices, according to digital security experts at Armis.

Unlike other malicious digital attacks, BlueBorne requires no action on the part of the user to work. It’s an “airborne” attack that spreads through Bluetooth connections. Users don’t have to click a link, download an app, or take any other action to spread the attack. It simply spreads itself.

Once BlueBorne gains access to a device, the device can be exploited for espionage, theft, ransom or DDoS attacks.

Considering the rapid growth of IoT connected devices, and the prevalence of the use of mobile devices to control everything from building access to critical systems, both IT and facility managers should rightly be concerned.

But according to HID, users of its products have limited exposure to risk. Its HID iClass SE readers are unaffected by BlueBorne.

Mobile devices that interact with their readers could be at risk of infection, however. To reduce risk and avoid infection, all mobile device users who interact with HID readers should be instructed to download the latest security updates for their device, and make sure they are kept up to date. All devices which run on iOS 9.3.5 or lower smart devices are affected, as are all Bluetooth-capable Android devices with that have not yet been updated to the latest Android security update released by Google in September.

Another route for concerned Android users would be to disable Bluetooth and rely on Near Field Communication (NFC) to access facilities.

For concerns about other types of systems that rely on Bluetooth or interact with Bluetooth-connected devices, contact the manufacturer of those products for specific details. You can also contact our IT team at (502) 632-4322 for system design information and guidance.

Teacher’s preparation leads to lives saved.

A teacher played a key role in putting an end to a school shooting.


When a student at Mattoon High School in rural eastern Illinois opened fire in the cafeteria, Angela McQueen sprang into action, subduing the shooter and preventing him from wounding or injuring others. As a result of the physical education teacher’s quick action, just one student was injured by bullets and no one was killed.

Authorities pointed to training as contributing to McQueen’s successful takedown of the shooter.

“Lives were saved by the quick response of a teacher here,” Mattoon police Chief Jeff Branson said at press conference Wednesday evening, as reported in the Champaign, Illinois News-Gazette. “She had been trained, obviously, but in these scenarios, you just don’t know what happens until it happens.”

Training for emergency situations like active shooters or natural disasters may seem dull, repetitive or entirely unnecessary, but it is the key to success for response and risk reduction. An associate at a Dallas staffing firm realized the importance of her recent training when an active shooter went on a rampage in her office building, and she had to keep herself and several new employees safe.

What can your organization learn from the latest school shooting?

Don’t take training for granted. Make sure every member of your team is trained to respond in the case of any type of emergency – active shooter, fire, weather event, etc. It’s not enough to simply hand out a manual or give a PowerPoint presentation. Training should include active participation including role playing, walking through escape and shelter in place routes, and more.

Regularly review policies and procedures. Look for gaps in plans, and fill those gaps wherever possible. Take into account key learnings from other live situations, research, recommendations from other organizations and more.
Review safety systems regularly. Maintain current systems, and consider adding new ones.

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.

Trooper responds to Active Shooter Call

Getting that call is every parent’s worst nightmare: “There’s an active shooter at your child’s school.”


Imagine dropping everything you are doing, racing to your child’s school, pulling up in shock to a see of blue lights washing over the landscape, and trying to sort through the chaos to get to your child.

Now imagine a slight variation on that scenario. Instead of getting a call, you hear the call from a dispatcher over your two-way radio. You drop everything you are doing, race to your child’s school, and pull up in shock, the blue lights from your cruiser washing over the landscape.

What if you were a law enforcement officer, and you were called to respond to an active shooter incident at your child’s school? What if it was your job not only to sort through the chaos and get to your child, but to help other parents and officials make sense of the chaos, and communicate effectively?

That appears to have been the case in one of the latest school shootings. One student was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting at Freeman High School in Freeman, Wash., on Sept. 13.

Trooper Jeff Sevigny, the state patrol’s public information officer for much of Eastern Washington, was among those called to respond to the scene.
“Worst day in my LE career.  To respond to your own kids school for active shooter.  Prayers for everyone involved. #FreemanHS” Sevigney tweeted using his handle, @wspd4pio.

Sevigney has not offered further comment since the tweet.
Trauma from active shooter events isn’t limited to those who are physical victims of the violence. The psychological impacts run deep, for those who witnessed the violence, to friends and family members, to first responders.

Years after the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut, first reponders were still struggling to come to grips with the grief and horror of that day. 

While ample resources are available to help equip first responders administer psychological first aid, resources aimed at helping first responders recover is harder to find.

First responders who are struggling with sleep problems, difficulty focusing, recurring thoughts, anxiety, numbness, or abuse of substances should seek out help from a professional counselor trained to treat trauma.

Convergence of security and communications

Security systems and communications systems used to be two entirely different propositions.


Security teams were responsible for evaluating and procuring video cameras, ID badge systems and the like for their particular use cases. They oversaw the installation and use of those systems, and owned any associated data.

Communications systems were typically owned by IT teams. They evaluated and procure phone and conferencing systems for their particular use cases; oversaw the installation and use, and owned any associated data from those systems.

Security and communications systems operated differently, with no connection, often on entirely different networks.

All that is changing. The move away from analog systems to digital was the first step towards converging security and communications systems. The next step is figuring out how to make disparate IT and security systems work together and exchange data.
Through its DevConnect program, Avaya, a segment leader in communications systems, has opened the door to convergence a little more. The program empowers partners to create, verify and market Avaya-enabled solutions. DevConnect offers access to almost all SDKs offered by Avaya products, as well as technical education, tutorials and sample applications, forums, and in some cases, technical developer support on the use of Avaya APIs.

Axis, an ETC Services partner and market leader in security systems, is an active participant in Avaya’s DevConnect program. Through the partnership, they’ve developed integrations between their Network Door Stations and Avaya systems. Axis Network Door stations combine communication, video surveillance and remote entry control into a single device, and allows users to identify visitors and grant them access to a facility from a single platform, from anywhere in the world.

Perhaps more powerfully, converging the security and communications systems means data can be combined. Security data that was once entirely separate can now be integrated with other data streams and used for other business purposes, extending the value.

For more on how Avaya and Axis are partnering together, listen to this episode from the Avaya DevConnect 8 & Out podcast.

Employers have an obligation to keep employees safe.

Employers have an obligation to keep their employees safe. They must mitigate or eliminate risks to health and safety as much as is reasonably possible.

From providing ergonomically adapted equipment to fixing damaged facilities to ensuring fire suppression and escape systems are working properly, good employers invest significantly in resources that keep their employees safe.

But have most employers considered their obligation to keep employees safe from active shooters?

It’s a question raised by OSHA, and one that attorneys are eager to answer, too, as this advertisement illustrates.

Active shooter events that take place in a school, and office building, a mall, a nightclub, or a place of worship are all taking place inside someone’s workplace. And whether the event is part of an international terrorist plot or it is the overflow domestic violence, it’s traumatizing to all who are involved.

“Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees,” says section 5A1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. That includes protecting workers against workplace violence. Employers are now at risk of being fined by OSHA if they have failed to provide adequate training and protection against active shooter events.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s analysis of a study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 80 percent of the 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013 took place in a workplace.
“Of the 132 worksite shootings, 73 incidents (45.6 percent) took place at businesses, 39 (24.4 percent) at schools, 16 (10 percent) at government sites, and four at health care facilities (2.5 percent),” according to the SHRM.

A total of 210 people were killed and an additional 272 were wounded in worksite shootings, according to the study.

What can employers do to reduce risk and keep employees safe from an active shooter?
1. Assess current policies and procedures, and make updates as necessary.
2. Include training in how to identify risk factors for workplace violence.
3. Educate your employees on your emergency response policies, and practice, practice, practice.
4. Add shooter detection systems. Just as employers include fire suppression and alarm systems, they should consider shooter detection systems to facilities.
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 (502) 632-4322.

Active shooters are a liability risk

If an active shooter targets your facility, will your insurance policy protect you against claims from victims?

It’s hard to tell.

Current insurance policies aren’t clear, and neither is case law. That leaves open the possibility that if an active shooter causes harm in your facility, you could be open to a lawsuit from victims, and your insurance provider might push back against covering you.
As a result, some carriers are now offering stand along active shooter policies, according to a post on InsuranceJournal.com.

One program cited in the article includes liability coverage for “lawsuits arising from harm caused by attacks using deadly weapons.” The program also features risk assessment and crisis management services, as well as event responders and post-event counseling services.
Insurers originally began by offering the coverage to educational institutions, but now the coverage is offered to all types, including hospitals, sporting venues, retailers, religious organizations and more.

Business and organizations should also consider including fully integrated shooter detection systems alongside other safety and comfort systems like fire detection and suppression systems and HVAC systems.

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.

The instantaneous response significantly cuts response time and reduces the opportunity for human error.

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 (502) 632-4322.

Shooter Detection Systems now integrates with Everbridge

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.”