As the head of security at a K-12 school or college, you’ve been tasked by the principal, college president, or school board to create the safest possible campus for faculty and students alike. To fully protect students, teachers, and staff, you need to be well-versed in the latest and most effective campus security technologies. Here are six best practices to follow when setting up alarm monitoring systems, video surveillance, access control, and other crucial elements of your campus security.
Best Practice #1: Facilitate the Dispatch of Emergency Responders
The importance of campus security and access to emergency responders cannot be overstated: between 2000 and 2017, roughly 15% of active shooter incidents in the United States occurred in schools. However well-equipped your campus security force, there will be circumstances when the rapid response of municipal emergency personnel such as police, firefighters, and EMTs is crucial to resolving a crisis.
In these circumstances, an alarm monitoring option is essential for expediting communications with local 911 operators. Some alarm monitoring solutions offer action patterns to post step-by-step instructions for your school’s security personnel, facilitating the transmission of emergency details to your nearest 911 dispatch center. When integrated on-screen with the alarm details and activity log, such instructions ensure that your campus security team is providing the pertinent data to 911. In turn, the 911 call center can immediately send the proper complement of emergency personnel to your campus.
Best Practice #2: Virtualize Alarm Monitoring
The days of a single alarm monitoring station in a fixed location are long over. To respond swiftly to threats in today’s fast-paced world, you need an alarm monitoring system that’s securely accessible from anywhere via an internet browser or a mobile device.
Choose a solution that is fully adaptable to remote monitoring through the cloud as easily as it is on-premises. With remote monitoring, you can keep your campus security team connected virtually — enabling them to detect, assess, and respond to potential security threats from multiple locations. Campus security can act in concert, even when working from several different posts.
Best Practice #3: Minimize Operator Training Time
Under a typically tight school budget, you can’t afford extensive training times or repeated training updates for campus security system operators. An alarm monitoring solution with powerful features such as streamlined displays can automatically highlight the most important data for your operators’ attention.
Straightforward data entry forms minimize operator error. Fully customizable alarm event schedules easily accommodate after-school activities like concerts and sports practice, so your operators can respond effortlessly to planned schedule changes. Look for software that gives you the capabilities you need to protect your campus with the simplicity that will get your operations center up and running with minimal operator orientation.
Best Practice #4: Decrease False Alarms Automatically
Losing valuable time dealing with false alarms can be one of the most frustrating elements of alarm monitoring. Every time a member of campus security is dispatched to address a spurious alarm, you run the risk of having inadequate staff on hand to deal with a real crisis. By monitoring your video surveillance feed in real-time and using video verification technology, you can optimize your surveillance setup and minimize time wasted on false alarms.
If your campus security team is already dealing with a known disaster or a disruptive weather event, it’s even more crucial that your staff stay focused. Consider preparing for emergency situations by choosing a system which offers a form of Disaster Mode, allowing alarms that occur inside of a given disaster area to be cordoned off, keeping your team ready to respond to the most urgent alarms.
Best Practice #5: Strengthen Campus Security With Connected Access Control
Proximity badges, card readers, keypads, and other access control devices are a boon to campus security regulation, automatically granting access to cleared students, staff, and faculty while systematically denying access to those without valid credentials. To ensure that your campus security team can respond quickly to access system glitches or attempts to breach your security perimeter, you must be informed about access control issues as soon as they occur.
Alarm monitoring best practices include connecting your access control software to your central alarm monitoring and using your alarm monitoring software to transmit any access control alarms. In this way, you can grant access to staff or students as needed, while addressing vulnerabilities in the access control system.
Best Practice #6: Evaluate Your Alarm Monitoring According to Your Unique Needs
Designing an effective campus security system is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your school’s campus and culture are distinctive, and so are your security needs. The alarm monitoring system that works well for a public elementary school in a bustling metropolis might be ill-suited to a private university on a remote, rural campus.
Special security considerations can arise from factors such as physical plant age, campus size, and enrollment. Further, school systems often contend with dwindling budgets, making it impractical to switch platforms or buy new hardware every time the system requirements of your security software package change. Look for features that keep your campus security on the cutting edge:
- Industry-compliant C++ design
- Stable, rapid processing powered by 64-bit architecture
- Browser-based interface accessible on any platform or internet-connected device
An effective campus security system ensures that your access control, video surveillance, and emergency dispatch capabilities work seamlessly with your alarm monitoring to maintain the safety and security of everyone on your campus — all while staying within the limits of your budget.
With a plethora of available alarm monitoring and campus security options, the choices may seem overwhelming. Start with a thorough assessment of your school’s particular security requirements. Consider solutions from several different vendors. Take advantage of offers for free security system demonstrations and consultations so you have the opportunity to explore all your options. Bold Group offers multiple solutions with options that can be tailored to meet the needs of various campus sizes. To find out more about our solutions and services or schedule a demo, contact us today.