As summer starts to wind down, parents and students begin to prepare for the upcoming academic year. So do the schools, as well. In addition to sprucing up the paint, repairing lockers and other physical parts of the buildings, schools need to prepare for potential security issues. The safety and lives of the people attending and working in the school building depend upon it.
Active shooter/attacker situations on college campuses and in K-12 schools throughout the US have proven that the mindset of “if” this happens must be replaced by “when” this happens. Prevention is the key and it is imperative that academia prepare properly to ensure the safety of their personnel and students. To shed light on safety strengths and weaknesses security assessments must be conducted.
There is a fine line between thinking a building is secure and knowing it is secure. The only way to know that a school campus or building is secure is to conduct a physical assessment by or with the assistance of a security expert. Security experts are often former law enforcement personnel that have first-hand knowledge and experience to determine if a physical structure is secure against outside criminal activity or violence.
Below is a list of questions to consider when determining whether a school is physically secure:
- Do security camera placements provide coverage around the entire property or are there “blind spots” where a criminal or active shooter could conceal themselves?
- Are students and visitors being properly admitted into the building after normal entry/exit times?
- Are all locks fully functioning and engaged on windows, doors and closets (where applicable)?
- Do all electronics for all access points work properly? (i.e. cameras, access controls, key fobs)
After a total physical assessment has been conducted, it is important to pinpoint where security is lacking. The best way to determine this is to interview staff and/or employees and conduct security oriented drills.
Turn to professionals who knows what to look for and how to address gaps in security. There can be many types of security in place in the form of locks, doors and security hardware, but they must be “stress tested” to ensure they are working properly. Cameras and access control measures (i.e. key cards for entry points) are worthless if the people working at an educational facility are not following proper security processes and protocols.
Listed below are key areas to focus on when flushing out security weaknesses:
- Ensure all personnel is trained on established safety protocols and procedures (i.e. zero tolerance for propping open doors or admitting visitors without checking ID)
- Conduct drills for active shooter situations in addition to environmental threats (i.e. fire, tornados)
- Interview all staff to make sure the “people flow” is always controlled including students, teachers, office personnel, visitors, vendors, repair people etc.
Once physical and vulnerability assessments are completed, security professionals will be able to make the appropriate recommendations. By making sure the right people are involved when determining the safety of students and staff, be assured that your school will be as secure as possible for the upcoming academic year.
Need a Physical Security & Vulnerability Assessment for your School?
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can conduct Physical Security/Vulnerability Assessments for your campus and/or school. Make sure the upcoming academic year is as safe and secure as possible. Contact or call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our security specialists today!