Mass shootings by lone wolf individuals or terrorists are an unfortunate reality in the United States and around the world. “See Something, Say Something”, access control, security procedures and better gun control laws are all essential elements in preventing active shooter situations. However, as recent events have shown (e.g. Lakeland FL shooting), active shooters still find a way into a building and innocent lives continue to be taken.
Here are the facts:
- 54% of active shooter incidents are over in less than 5 minutes
- It usually takes 3-5 minutes before someone calls 9-1-1 to alert authorities
The solution is to automate alerts the moment shots are fired. This is where active shooter detection systems can be leveraged to minimize human delay/errors to save lives.
Gunfire detection technology created by the defense contractor Raytheon has been utilized by the U.S. military since 2011. Called the Boomerang brand, it was first used in the field to detect and pinpoint sniper attacks. At one point, there were over 10,000 Boomerang systems deployed in the battlefield, helping to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was developed further for mobile use to be worn by military personnel and placed on armored vehicles/police cars.
Considering the continued escalation of active shooter situations, other companies have developed variations of military-grade technology that can be used by the private sector.
Active Shooter Detection
The technology to detect when shots are fired has been available to local governments, universities, k-12 school systems, organizations and/or privately held companies for several years. For security reasons, the locations of these implementations are not widely publicized. However, with more and more active shooter incidents happening around the United States, organizations are looking to this traditionally military-only technology to minimize fatalities in our day to day lives.
This is how active shooter detection systems work. The system senses when shots are fired, immediately alerting the proper authorities while pinpointing the exact location of active shooter(s) throughout the incident. When these systems are adopted, the gap between when the initial shot is made and the arrival of proper authorities to the scene is eliminated, saving lives.
Active shooter detection system sensors are usually mounted on a wall and are around the same size as a smoke alarm. When activated, they provide the following capabilities:
- Dual factor authentication to minimize false alarms by validating both the acoustic bang and infrared flash of a weapon
- Immediate alerts and notifications to multiple parties simultaneously, both inside and outside of the building(s)
- Sensors that can be installed and networked throughout a building or multiple buildings
- Shot location information is immediately relayed to the building’s occupants and outside emergency personnel
- As each shot is fired, they are tracked and reported in real-time as the incident unfolds, providing shot detection location information to select recipients via floor plan map with shot location as email, text message, or other third-party communication systems
- Some systems can also recognize glass breaking (which could have alerted the casino and proper authorities much sooner during the Las Vegas active shooter incident in October 2017)
The leading active shooter detection systems for the private sector are:
- Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System by Shooter Detection Systems
- Battelle SiteGuard Active Shooter Response
- AmberBox (wireless solution)
By removing the reliance on human action, active shooter detection systems leave nothing to interpretation and life-threatening delays can be avoided.
As the technology evolves, more and more options will become available to the private sector. Where human failure can cost lives, technology can eliminate the gaps in response time, saving innocent lives in the process. However, they do not replace public awareness, proper security protocols/procedures, training and personnel. Make no mistake, a combination of prevention, preparedness and technology is necessary to reduce the loss of life from the growing incidents of active shooter attacks today.
Be Prepared for Active Shooter Incidents with SACS Consulting
SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can conduct Physical Security/Vulnerability Assessments and provide active shooter trainings including Active Shooter Prevention and Response, A.L.I.C.E. Certified Training, and Critical Trauma Intervention Skills for your personnel. You can even Build Your Own Training to cover multiple training topics, specific to your school/organization needs. Contact or call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our security specialists today!