Schools need to re-evaluate its security measures. The Bureau of Justice Statistics 2013 report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports that in 2012, 12 to 18 year old students experienced about 1.4 million nonfatal school victimization, with 749,200 violent cases and 615,600 cases of theft. For 2009 to 2010 alone, 85% of public schools have reported that one or more crime incidents took place at school, estimating a number of 1.9 million crimes reported.
One of the solutions of schools to prevent these crimes and incidents from happening in their own grounds is by installing security systems. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report entitled, “The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools” which provides basic guidelines for school administrators and law enforcers to collaborate and make informed decisions on which security technology to use to further create a safe school environment for everyone. And the schools are serious about these, especially in the light of recent school tragedies that took place. The National Association of School Psychologists found out on their research on school security that tighter security measures are being implemented in public schools, even though there are no visible threats in their school grounds.
School administrators are taking the big step in making security a primary concern in order to avoid being included in the growing list of school tragedies. It is time for key officials to consider implementing these school security systems in order to protect each person in school, and maintain its purpose of being a place that fosters students’ learning capabilities.
Proper Location of Cameras is a Must
It is not enough to just install a security camera inside a school. Often times, school cameras are located in areas that don’t need coverage at all. The key to effectively use surveillance cameras is to place it strategically in areas where there are high risks for security threats to closely monitor every movement that is currently happening. Ken Trump of the National School Safety and Security Services shares that school administrators must first conduct a school assessment to be able to pinpoint problems that are being addressed by utilizing surveillance cameras. This includes risks, vulnerabilities, security threats, and other school issues that they aim to minimize through surveillance. Doing this helps avoid the mistake of installing security cameras in the wrong places and missing the objective of proper usage of cameras—to reduce theft, vandalism and cases of school violence.
In order to prevent school violence and for closely monitoring of students and other personnel in school grounds, it is best to install wired surveillance cameras that can be used both indoors and outdoors to record day-to-day school activities in primary areas of the school, whether inside the classroom or in the playground. Make sure that the camera has a high quality recording and wide range for coverage so that clear and crisp images are recorded should there be a need to review past footages to solve a school incident. Schools must also have security cameras in their school offices to safeguard the welfare of its employees. These visible security cameras help decrease anonymity and it increases transparency inside the school grounds.
Fire Alerts to Safeguard Schools
Schools are also vulnerable to fires. The U.S. Fire Administration’s Topical Fire Research Series in 2007 reported that the leading cause of school fires are suspicious or incendiary (32%), followed by cooking (29%) and heating (9%). The report further points out that the fires usually start in bathrooms, particularly in trash cans since it allows kids to set a fire without any adult supervision. In 2007-2011 alone, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Analysis and Research Division noted that American fire departments have responded to an annual rate of about 5,690 school fire incidents. Different school administrators have responded to these fire incidents by increasing fire safety education through school personnel and students, as well as using technological innovations such as fire alarm systems.
But certain problems have been reported in using fire alarms in schools. In Texas for example, a school fire alarm operated normally when a fire was set intentionally by juveniles in the middle of the night. The problem was that the system was not monitored externally; hence, no one noticed the fire until someone driving by the school saw the smoke coming from the school building and called for help. On the other hand, Boston Public Schools have routine trouble with their main fire alarm panel, and other fire protection systems are already outdated. To top these problems, the 2011 Campus Safety magazine’s Fire Survey reported that false alarms are the second-ranking campus fire protection concerns of 53% of its respondents.
Securing schools from fires requires a complete fire alarm system. A 2-wire horn strobe is necessary to be used with your fire alarm systems and accompanying sensors in order to notify everyone for evacuation should a fire incident arise. Through its 88db sound alarm and adjustable strobe light intensity, this fire alarm notification appliance is sure to keep everyone safe from fire incidents. This item is also compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for visible signalling devices and are UL 1971 listed, since the signalling methods also include the hearing impaired. It can be mounted on the school’s main walls by using its universal mounting plate which has a preliminary snap-in feature to hold it for screw attachment. Always conduct a regular check and maintenance for this horn strobe to make sure that it is in perfect condition for it to work properly if there’s a fire emergency.
Secure Personnel to Protect Kids
Teachers are the second parents of kids in schools, and they have the responsibility of not just teaching them but also making sure that every student is safe and secured inside school premises. But they also serve as targets of perpetrators that plan to attack school grounds. Recently, a school robbery in 726. S. Main St. Salinas, California happened while the teacher and student were closing the school’s observatory. Three men robbed the student of his phone and laptop while the teacher suffered cuts to his face. In Murrysville, Pittsburgh, at least 24 people have been victims of a stabbing incident at the Franklin Regional High School that occurred in its crowded hallway, with the security guard calling in for help around 7:13 a.m on April 2, 2014. The 16-year-old suspect, Alex Harribal was then arrested.
School authorities have been beefing up their security measures by equipping teachers and school personnel of panic buttons that can spell out the difference between losing and saving one’s life in front of a violent incident. Principal Edward Vittardi of the St. Albert the Great Elementary School in North Royalton, Ohio have given his school staff panic buttons which were acquired through a grant. He points out that the devices are meant for major emergencies such as an intruder attack, so that the principal, school security officials, and the police will be notified by the incident.
To make sure that teachers and other school personnel have the upper hand when a school emergency arises, be sure to educate them on using a panic button. A simple push of its button can quickly notify police of an on-going violent incident and they will be arriving in no time. Check if your panic button’s external LED lights and latches are up to know that the alarm circuit switch is in its top working condition. This can be mounted out of sight but make sure that it is within easy reach, such as under a teacher’s desk. Utilize it properly and you’ll be relieved to stop a possible incident from turning into a worse nightmare.
Defeating School Threats with School Security Systems
With the increasing cases of school incidents happening in the country, it is no surprise that schools have been fully equipping their premises and personnel with the best security systems available to ensure a safe, learning environment for its students. As school personnel have the main responsibility of keeping everything intact for enhanced security, these security systems aid them much better for a complete and enhanced round-the-clock security.
It is best that school officials map out their security plans well to make the most of their security system installation around the school grounds. Alarm System Store provides the best school security solution with its high quality products that will maintain the positive atmosphere of schools while ensuring student safety at all times. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel to know more about our products that can further enhance your school’s security.