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What is a lockdown security system?
A lockdown system is designed to secure all areas of a site in the event of a threat by automatically securing doors upon activation of a building lockdown. This helps to ensure lockdown safety. The lockdown system could be activated by a variety of trigger options, including an app, key card and laptop.
How lockdown security systems work with other security technologies
For an effective lockdown system, it needs to integrate with other security systems of a building in a lockdown event. This includes solutions such as the video security system, access control set-up and communication devices.
When a threat is detected
The building’s security cameras will enable the system operator to identify a threat. Upon detection, the operator follows lockdown plans and initiates a building lockdown by pressing the lockdown system button which automatically secures all doors. This can be activated by the building’s access control system. Leveraging integrated cloud-based security cameras and access control systems allows for a seamless process that can improve threat response time.
Lockdown security system activated
Once a door lockdown is initiated, the operator can trigger the lockdown alarm which alerts those within the building of the situation. This alert could be in the form of an audible alarm, a message through the building’s speaker system/tannoy, or via mobile device messages and/or radios.
Dealing with an ongoing threat and response
Using the building video security system, the operator can continue to monitor the threat and provide valuable information to the security team and first responders.
Choosing the right building lockdown system
As building lockdown security systems differ due to various specific site requirements, there is no universal building lockdown solution that all can adopt as part of their lockdown plans. Each lockdown safety solution is unique.
For example, a single-building lockdown security system will differ from the one which is implemented across a multi-building operation and has far more spaces and doors to manage.
The budget will also have an impact on which lockdown safety system you adopt as more feature-rich systems will require a larger investment.
Door lock types and your current security technologies can also affect your choice as these will need to integrate with your lockdown security system for it to work effectively.
Is your security team based on-site or off-site? The answer to this could determine your choice in procuring a solution that is cloud-capable and whether your team will need to manage the lockdown system remotely, for example via a mobile device.
You will also need to ensure your chosen building lockdown system meets the legal requirements of your local or state government and complies with the fire code.
Office building lockdown procedures and systems
Use case: External threat
Your office’s video security cameras and video management software alert you to a threatening group located outside of the building. The security team activates a building lockdown and follows the lockdown procedure for your office. Exterior security doors for business and other commercial uses automatically lock to prevent the threatening group from gaining access, helping to keep people inside safe.
Upon activating the lockdown button and alarm, the security team communicates the situation to those inside the office through the tannoy, radios as well as an alarm. The lockdown system can then be deactivated once it is safe to do so.
Use case: Internal threat
During a situation where the threat is inside the office building, such as an intruding ex-employee, the security team can help execute lockdown safety plans and activate the lockdown security system. This would activate the internal door lockdown device for all doors and specific rooms, helping to keep people safe as the intruder wouldn’t be able to gain access to these spaces.
Alternatively, if the fire alarm system is activated, the lockdown security system can automatically unlock all doors to allow for a safe evacuation.
School lockdown systems and procedures for safety
Use case: External threat
For schools, in the event of an external threat such as flooding, the security team can activate the school lockdown security systems which in turn initiates lockdown doors to prevent floods from breaching the school’s buildings. They also have the option to initiate a campus lockdown.
Following the lockdown procedures for schools, the lockdown alarm is communicated to those inside the school building, as well as to parents and first responders. Special attention should be paid to those who are deemed to be in a dangerous location. Once directed to a safe space, taking attendance ensures all students and faculty are accounted for. Once the flood threat has subsided the school lockdown system can be deactivated, which completes the lockdown procedures for schools.
Use case: Internal threat
When the threat is already inside the school building, for example, an intruder who has broken into the lobby area, the security cameras in the school can detect this and alert the security team. The receptionist in the lobby also notifies the security team by activating the panic button located on their desk, triggering the school lockdown security systems. Pressing the lockdown button would secure the school door locks inside the building, including the activation of classroom lockdown solutions.
With the security team now aware, they can alert those inside the building via the lockdown alarm. Once the team is confident that students, staff and visitors are safe they can work to remove the threat with the aid of law enforcement. To let law enforcement into the school or to evacuate people safely, the security operator can remotely unlock a specific classroom door with the aid of live security camera footage. Once the threat has been removed by law enforcement and the building is safe, the internal door and classroom lockdown solutions, as part of the school lockdown system, can be deactivated.
Best practices and things to consider for an effective lockdown
Review your security procedures
To remove any weaknesses, it is essential to review your emergency planning and lockdown procedures for offices and schools. By outlining thorough lockdown plans, your organization will know what to do and when to do it during an emergency situation. It’s also important to carry out lockdown drills to ensure those with responsibilities can perform their roles effectively. Some U.S. states have laws mandating such drills in schools.
As part of emergency planning and lockdown procedures, allocate roles so it is clear who is responsible for what. For example, who is responsible for triggering the door lockdown system, and who is responsible for monitoring the threat and its movement?
First responders access
How will first responders gain access to an office or school building that has its external and/or internal doors locked already? Do first responders require keys to access doors or is your access control system able to support mobile device access credentials for immediate access?
Access control system and its capabilities
For an effective lockdown and security system for schools or buildings, you must know the capabilities of your access control system. Does your automatic lockdown system allow the operator to activate a lockdown button and lockdown alarm from a control room or can users do this remotely from their mobile device? It’s also key to consider that if your building suffers from a network or electrical outage during an emergency, your access control, lockdown safety system, or school safety software still need to operate, usually via a backup battery or power source.
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