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Industry Insights

Article recap: For school shootings, first response should be emergency communications systems

September 30, 2013
Author: Tess Nacelewicz
Source: Security Systems News

YARMOUTH, Maine—The nation’s schools need to be armed—with emergency communication systems.

That’s the message from fire alarm dealers interviewed by Security Systems News after a gunman massacred 20 students and six staff at a Connecticut elementary school late in 2012. And to best protect students and staff, the dealers told SSN, schools also need to have an action plan that addresses such important questions as: Who are the true first responders in school emergencies?

“When we look at the first responders in our schools, unfortunately in a case like this it’s never the EMTs, it’s never the police department. It’s the 27-year-old teacher between the gunman and the students. It’s the principal in the office,” said Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, a Silent Knight-Farenhyt dealer based in Waunakee, Wis. “And they have very little training, if any, in how to respond to a situation like this, and they have zero tools.”

Colleges and universities typically have some sort of emergency communication system, also referred to as a mass notification system. But ECS is less common at elementary, middle and high schools, despite the fact that it can serve a vital role in emergency situations, the dealers said.

“ECS goes a long way,” Rierson said. “It’s not the only solution, but it is a very good tool to alert everybody. You push one button on that system and all of a sudden you’re playing a ‘shooter on campus’ message and automating the process of either locking or unlocking doors.”

Read the rest of the article here.