School security: Are you ready for a lockdown?

Are you doing all you can to safeguard your pupils and staff?

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The UK government has recently consulted on school security guidance which included the proposal that schools should develop dynamic lockdown procedures. This is at a time when a growing number of educational establishments across the world have been exposed to major incidents or threats of violence on their premises. Whilst most schools, colleges and universities have excellent perimeter security and operational systems, due to the human element, we can’t avoid all of these events.

It is worth considering about whether your school or college would be ready for a lockdown if the following events were happening:

  • Incident or disturbance around the area
  • Intruder on site with a potential to put staff and pupils at risk
  • Warning of local pollution
  • Major fire in the vicinity of the school grounds

By having a live communication system across the site alongside robust procedures you can be assured that safeguarding is something that is taken seriously. Schools, academies and colleges can face several threats from intruders or emergency situations that may require a school lockdown, evacuation or at least an audible warning. The primary purpose of an emergency lockdown system would be to safeguard your pupils, staff and visitors from any kind of potential danger during an emergency situation. This is the reason Birmingham secondary school, Holy Trinity Catholic School, Birmingham, had a lockdown system installed by Ecl-ips last year.

John McCaul, IT Operations Manager at Holy Trinity, said the school takes safeguarding seriously, and it is considered a core strength of the school as recognised by Ofsted.

Installing the system at the school involved Ecl-ips installing an Avigilon server in the school’s server room and also five encoders and a PoE switch in the reception area.  All 20 of the school’s existing analogue CCTV cameras were also connected to the encoders to enable them to be added to the Avigilon Control Center (ACC) system. Axis speakers were then installed around the school and a desktop microphone was fitted in the headteacher’s office.

Once both systems were up and running, Ecl-ips connected the microphone to the Avigilon ACC software allowing the speakers to be activated via the CCTV system. There was also a hidden button installed under the reception desk. In the event of an emergency pressing this will trigger the lockdown procedure.

As well as using it for the lockdown system the school uses the microphone and speakers for more recreational purposes such as playing Christmas songs and for the head to make announcements across the school.  Holy Trinity is also looking into doing radio podcasts for the students.

“We really like the fact we can use the system for different purposes,” John said.

Commenting on the benefits of a lockdown system for schools, John said, “We feel a lockdown system is a necessity and all schools should be looking at putting in a suitable solution. We recommend that you do your research and speak to Ecl-ips.”

If you want advice from Ecl-ips on the benefits of installing a lockdown system for your school or other premises please contact us.