All Too Common
Campus incidents are conversations parents must have with childre
- By James Segil
- February 01, 2020
As of July 2019, there were 22 school shootings in the
United States in which someone was hurt or killed.
In addition, the Everytown for Gun Safety organization
reported there were at least 66 incidents of gunfire
on school grounds from January-August 2019.
I am the father of four school-age children. The reality that school
shootings are becoming increasingly common makes me feel angry —
and powerless. Hearing my sons talk to me about their regular lockdown
drills at school is a conversation we have at the dinner table.
Recently, 145 CEOs from some of the world’s top companies
including Uber, Twitter, Levi Strauss and Royal Caribbean signed a
letter urging Congress to expand background checks and “red flag”
laws — legislation that would enable law enforcement to temporarily
take guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
I was proud to sign this letter.
But I can do more. As the president and co-founder of a security
company that provides access control, I am in a unique position to
understand how we can respond to, and even prevent these active
shooter and emergency situations. Modern technology can provide
a fast, unobtrusive and highly-reliable way to trigger a lockdown
Here are some current lockdown technology methods available to
schools and campuses today:
Panic buttons. A red button that says “Lockdown,” which is
placed on a wall in a very visible area that anyone can push in case
Gunshot detector. These systems use microphone sensor nodes to
detect a gunshot and lockdown the building.
Glass break detector. A glass break detector sounds an alarm
when glass is broken. Glass break detectors work alongside motion
sensors, window sensors and door sensors.
AWS IoT buttons. These small, customizable buttons can be programmed
for a lockdown and discreetly placed anywhere.
My company, Openpath, just launched our mobile Lockdown
Solution that connects all of the methods above to our access control
system, offering a more complete solution that can be controlled and
monitored from a single pane of glass. Additionally, we give authorized
users the ability to lock and unlock any door, zone or building
in case of emergency — including active shooter, other emergency
incidents and natural disasters — from a mobile device.
This can also be done remotely. Supported by our Triple Unlock
Technology, which works over Wi-Fi, LTE and Bluetooth, it guarantees
a fast and reliable connection, which is imperative for emergency
Security experts like the idea of flexible technology that allows the
creation of customized plans for different emergency scenarios.
“That lockdown functionality has traditionally been a rigid and
limited feature,” said Ryan Schonfeld, CEO of RAS Security Group,
consulting and investigations. “Having the flexibility to create and use
multiple different plans and trigger them instantly from a mobile
device gives security teams yet another powerful set of tools to help
them respond to an incident, and is a requirement [I am] seeing more
and more from schools.”
Once the technology is in place, lockdown plans need to be customized
to fit different security situations and campus layouts. For
instance, the lockdown plan for a suspicious package would be completely
different from the plan for an active shooter or an earthquake.
The plan for an earthquake would be to open all doors, turnstiles and
gates so everyone can move away from glass windows and then get
out quickly. For an active shooter, the plan would be different — the
goal is to lockdown the area where the shooter is located and open
perimeter doors, gates and turnstiles so first responders can get
inside, while keeping the shooter isolated and victims barricaded in
I want to emphasize that implementing technology and creating
lockdown plans must be accompanied by the proper training. Schonfeld
maintains that having lockdown functionality in schools is
important as it gives students, staff and security staff one more tool in
responding to physical threats, natural disasters and other emergency
situations. However, a lockdown plan must be accompanied by proper
training because every second matters in an emergency and there
is no time for mistakes.
This article originally appeared in the January / February 2020 issue of Campus Security Today.
James Segil is the president and co-founder of OpenPath.