In light of tragic events such as shootings at schools and movie theaters, many of our customers have asked us how to keep their hospitals, schools, and places of business safe in the event of such an unforeseen emergency. For large facilities, we recommend an emergency lockdown system, which is directly linked to your access control system.
As with any emergency preparedness plan, the first step is prevention. Oftentimes access control systems, when properly designed and managed, provide better security than physical fences and gates. They prevent unauthorized people from entering a facility and allow IT managers, store managers, and whoever else has the authority the ability to immediately cut off access to anyone who no longer works, studies, or otherwise belongs on the premises (read more about that here). In addition, electronic access control systems keep a record of who came and went, which provides critical information if an incident requires investigation.
An access control system is a great way to prevent unauthorized people from entering a building, but what if they do get in? There is another feature of access control systems called a lock down button. It can be accessed via the access control system and allows a facility to stop or significantly decrease the damage caused by a gunman in the following ways:
- Global Lock: all doors automatically lock, but there are still people with authorized cards that can access certain areas. People can still exit the building.
- Lockout: all doors lock and authorized cards no longer work, but people can still exit the building.
- Lockdown: all doors lock, cards no longer work, and exiting is not permitted unless there is a door with a crash bar.
For additional security and flexibility, it is possible to configure the system to exclude certain doors from locking and provide specific people/cards with the ability to override the lockout/lockdown, such as law enforcement personnel.
There are several ways to set up the system to “trigger”:
- Panic buttons: a panic button can be placed in each hospital room, classroom, office, hallway, etc., thus allowing anyone to push them.
- Access codes: the system can be set up so that a certain access code triggers a lockdown. All employees can then be made aware of the code so that they can punch it in if necessary.
- Access cards: scanning the same access card twice within a 5 second period is another way to set up the system.
Installing a system such as an access control lockdown system is a good idea for any facility that requires a high level of security or where there are a high number of employees, customers, students, or patients. Places such as hospitals, schools, daycare centers, or large office buildings could really benefit from such a system. If you are interested in having something like this installed at your facility, contact us today at: 714.777.6132.