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Listen Up! 7 Ways Sound Detection Delivers

Special sound detection devices are useful and expanding in their applications these days to cover everything from the usual glass breaking to gunshots, graffiti spray, drones, and more.

It’s always good to scope out opportunities to further assist your school, university or hospital campus in improving its security and life-safety technology. I’ve noticed some new and interesting sound detection devices (SSDD) on the market. Let’s take a look at the many products and services that are available so you can decide what might best apply to your campus’ particular needs.

Acoustical Glass Break Detection (AGBD) – This is probably one of the most popular SSDD applications. These devices typically listen for a combination of low frequency or infrasonic sounds from the flexing of the glass, and higher, crisp sounds from the actual breaking of the glass. Listening only for these unique sound pairings helps prevent these devices from being falsely tripped by other similar environmental sounds. When installing AGBD, be certain to hire a qualified and experienced technician to do the work. As with all security devices, failure to properly install and test can be deadly. UL 639 and UL 681 are relevant standards to follow.

Drone Detection – The big buzz these days is drones. As we’ve seen in the news, they are coming to a neighborhood near you. Well it seems that these RC helicopter type drones, quadrotors, etc., emit unique sound patterns that – yes, you guessed it – can be detected. One example is a newly formed company called DroneShield. According to the manufacturer, the device will listen for drones (see photo), scan its database for common drone acoustic signatures and ignore other common sounds such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Some interesting applications include detecting paparazzi cameras for your high-profile visitors, drones dropping guns into prison courtyards, illegal aerial video recordings in various public and private venues, and trespassing alerts for drones straying in airport space. 

Gunshot Detection – The sound of gunfire has a unique signature. Solutions such as the Red Alertt Gunshot Alarm System can assist in the rapid detection and location of gunfire when there are shootings in public places like schools, universities and malls and report this information to security and local law enforcement. These fully automated systems are also being used to quickly locate gunfire across an entire city or county.

Graffiti Detection – Did you know that the United States spends more than $25 billion annually on graffiti abatement? Elmdene, a division of Potter, long known for sound detection technologies, has a new system called the Merlin Graffiti Detector. When placed high on exterior walls, this specialized listening device is able to detect aerosol can activity up to 25 feet in a 120° detection zone. It can interface standard alarm panels with its relay contacts. Police relish the opportunity with a silent alarm to catch graffiti “taggers” in the act.

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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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