The past year—with the emergence of COVID-19 and the attack on the Capitol Building—has further proven the importance of situational awareness technology, and that it can not only handle expected situations, but that it effectively addresses unexpected situations.
Most facilities utilize a variety of technologies that typically have separate jobs, such as access control, fire and smoke detection, and security cameras. These are all important tools, but when siloed don’t create a holistic safety solution. Rather, they only address a small set of safety concerns.
These systems should be unified under a single platform to instead create a holistic safety solution. By integrating a building’s access control, security cameras, emergency mass notification system, environmental sensors, and other technologies into one platform, a facility can create an interconnected technology solution able to troubleshoot threats early.
How to Start Creating Holistic Safety Solutions
To create a holistic safety solution, a facility should begin by auditing their current technology systems, accounting for anything from a public address (PA) system to a temperature sensor. Once all of these systems are audited, the facility can implement an automated alerting platform that is able to integrate all of the disparate systems so they can work together.
For instance, if a fire alarm goes off in the building, the alerting system can automatically send out a message over the PA system, including specific directions people should follow, such as where to exit the building or not to utilize elevators during evacuation. By simply incorporating a facility's pre-existing technology systems onto an automated alerting platform, operators are able to get even more out of their previous investments.
Once an automated alerting platform is put in place and all of the already existing technologies have been integrated, facility operators can add any additional technologies to round out their safety solution.
Environmental monitoring technology is a great way for operators to decrease the chance of damage to their buildings causing financial and inventory loss. An event like a burst pipe can be expensive to fix, cause significant damage and potentially risk the closure of a facility or halt in operations. By implementing water and temperature sensors throughout a facility, emergency events such as these can be avoided or elicit a quick response to avoid both time and money loss.
For instance, if a sensor detects a leak in a facility’s bathroom, the automated alerting platform can immediately send an alert via text, email, phone call or a combination of the three to the appropriate individuals; the maintenance person, the facility operator, security or whoever the facility staff chooses. This person can then address the situation as quickly as possible to avoid negative outcomes.
An automated alerting platform is also great for improving security measures. A facility can integrate door access control systems, window and door sensors, glass break sensors, motion detectors, security cameras and other security technologies into the platform to be utilized together. This interconnected suite of technology can help isolate an intruder, identify their location and automatically alert all staff on-site and local emergency professionals alike to respond to a break-in or threat immediately.
For example, if a window is broken and triggers a glass break sensor, the automated alerting platform can pull live video feed directly from the cameras nearest the triggered sensor. This video feed can then be attached to alerts that are sent to the building’s security team as well as local authorities or first responders. This can help identify the threat before anyone even arrives on-site, helping to minimize the time it takes to get help because police or security can make informed decisions on how to respond more quickly.
How Holistic Security Solutions Reduce Risk for Workers
It’s also important that emergencies, such as employee injuries, can be responded to as quickly as possible. Many facilities utilize lone workers or have staff executing dangerous jobs. To reduce risk for these staff members, mobile and fixed duress devices can be integrated into the automated alerting platform. If a lone worker finds themselves in a dangerous situation, they can press their mobile alerting device and the automated alerting platform can alert security, the facility manager/operator, or anyone else with information about who triggered their device and where the employee is located.
The same thing can be done for employees who sustain an injury while on the job. When made aware of these situations as soon as possible, help can be sent much faster, possibly preventing further danger, injury or even death.
Although it’s not always possible to predict the future, it is possible to be prepared to handle unexpected situations. By focusing on creating a holistic safety solution, facilities can ensure that they have a reliable way to identify and respond to any threat to the property and its employees.
About the Author:
Amy Jeffs currently serves as Vice President of Status Solutions and has held various positions within the mission-based organization for the past 13 years. Her primary duties include assisting Status Solutions' founder and president with developing and implementing the company's overall go-to-market strategy.