10 Ways to Create Safer School Entrances

Visitor management, video surveillance, staff training and more, are key components of K-12 security.

4.Train Staff

“The staff training piece is really critical,” says Lord. “To me, instituting technology to make a building safer is only as good as how you use it.” In other words, you can have technology in place, but if you don’t have a plan or established protocol for emergencies, that technology is useless. Staff needs to be trained on how to use the tech and what it can do to help them. They also need to know how to react to specific threats.

For example, in Grace’s district all staff and students are required to understand the four most critical emergency response protocols: secured perimeter, lockdown, evacuation and room clear. Secured perimeter refers to a threat outside the building, while the other protocols are methods for dealing with a threat inside the building. Each Littleton school also has an incident command team that trains for various hazards.

In addition to higher level planning, Grace says part of training is as basic as determining which staff members have buzz-in duty at the main entrance and making sure they understand what to do in various situations.

5. Install a Buzz-in Entry System

This goes back to good visitor management practices. A buzz-in system can simply be a doorbell that prompts a staff member to physically come to the door to open it. It could be a call box that allows for audio communication, or it can be a system that combines audiovisual technology that lets staff see video of a visitor seeking entry into the building. The most important step here is locking the door and creating some sort of screening process.

6. Install Video Surveillance

When implementing a video surveillance system, Lord recommends going with an IP-based solution.

“The reason why I say that is technology is moving very rapidly now in that arena so starting with that basis allows you…to grow as that technology grows,” he explains.

Many IP megapixel cameras are now able to be installed cost-effectively and may even be cheaper than older analog systems depending upon the cable and infrastructure that already exists in your building. When looking into a video surveillance solution, ask yourself these questions:
What do I want to accomplish?
What is my end goal?
Why do I want to put this system in?

Then, make sure your integrator or consultant designs a solution that is unique to the needs of your district. The technology should be tailored specifically for your day-to-day environment.

7. Install Key Card Entry

Key card access isn’t just safer than a traditional lock and key system, it’s cost-effective too. If an ID card is lost or stolen, the school only needs to deactivate the card and issue a new one. No one who gets ahold of that old card will be able to access the building. If a teacher loses a key, locks have to be changed and keys need to be reissued to all staff members, which comes at a hefty price.

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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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