Emergency School Lockdown and Access Control

  • Jan. 26, 2018

Lock Down Procedures Make For Safer Work and Education Facilities

Preparing for an emergency situation is a top priority for any individual who is responsible for the safety of a large group of people, but is particularly relevant to those who have a school in their care. The statistics don't lie: the need for proper access control, safety standards and perfect emergency lockdown procedures is not optional.

Fortunately, good planning can go a long way in maintaining safety in educational and other facilities: when policies, measures and physical systems are put in place, any facility can effectively minimize exposure and save lives when violence arises.

Access Control Systems are the best way to accomplish this for most facilities, but decision makers should take the advice of their implementation team and also keep a few factors in mind when making decisions.

The first step in prevention

The first step in prevention is to keep out those people who should not be allowed in the facility for any reason. Electronic access control systems can provide greater security than physical fences and gates, while also cutting off access privileges for those who no longer need access to a location.

Lockdown

If a weapon-carrying individual with valid access credential gains entrance, electronic access control systems can allow for an immediate lockdown; automatically or through human actions such as clicking a mouse or punching a code on a keypad.

There is more than one type of lockdown that a facility can implement, depending on the situation; Global Lock, Lock Out and lock Down, which deserve a deeper discussion.

Trigger Conditions

Sophisticated systems use “triggers” within the access control software to change the behavior of the doors to a more secure state. When someone with authorization to control and manage the system is notified of an incident,  and quickly takes the appropriate action, they can act quickly through a simple trigger, such as the click of a button. Other examples include:

  • Strategically placed panic or duress buttons
  • a special code on strategically placed keypads
  • a special designated panic card
  • a series of card presentations to the reader within a short time frame
  • More examples

 

In addition to making strategic choices about how an access control system should respond in the case of various lockdown stages, it is also beneficial to  choose which doors lockdown. In most cases, organizations choose all doors, but there are some reasons to exempt some doors such they retain their programmed state when a lockdown procedure is executed.

Experts also suggest the the system have the capability to designate certain credentials as override cards; that is the cards function normally to gain access even if the system has been locked down. Such cards can be given to emergency responders, such as law enforcement or fire personnel. The can then freely open doors where necessary, capture an individual, offer protection, and give notification when crisis has ended. Some systems can automatically send out an SMS text and/or email to law enforcement or anyone else who should be notified immediately.

Instant Lockdown

Any facility that needs the ability to protect the people inside, especially education facilities, need strict emergency and lockdown protocols prepared.  For lockdown procedures to be effective, the proper technology needs to be available to support it, and the proper training provided to employees to assist.

Some of the best commercially available access control systems have the ability to do this via a number of ways such as the click of mouse or through a human interface to the system's hardware. Organizations should choose a system that offers the flexibility and options they need to meet their individual requirements, as well as making sure local law enforcement are part of the solution.

For more details, see Keri's white paper published on the subject of Lockdown procedures.

Social Share