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Preventing an Active Shooter Situation: When Seconds Matter Most

By February 5, 2020 No Comments

Preventing an Active Shooter Situation: When Seconds Matter Most

Active shooter situations have covered the news headlines one too many times as of late. We hear about these tragic incidents occurring in all sorts of public areas – from campuses, to office buildings, to concert venues. These events happen suddenly and without warning – often with fatal results. However, it’s difficult to prevent something from happening that you can’t see coming in the first place. And by “see”, I mean being privy to a potential risk before it turns into anything more.

And when seconds matter most, it’s crucial that the right security protocol be put into place to support and not replace the human in charge, ensuring not a single detail is missed to prevent a future incident. Unfortunately, 60% of security incidents actually end before first responders arrive. While they act as fast as possible to rush over to the scene, it takes first responders 4-8 minutes to arrive to an active shooter situation. And, when it comes to tragic incidents like these that happen in a whirlwind, a lot can happen in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

A Virginia Beach Mass Shooting That Shouldn’t Have Been

Let’s take a look at some unfortunate but recent events, where a proactive and risk-adaptive physical access control system (PACS) could have helped prevent a tragedy.

According to the Chicago Tribune, when police responded to a deadly mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building in June, they were initially blocked from confronting the gunman at a crucial moment. How did this happen?  They hadn’t been provided with the key cards that would grant them access permissions to the second floor doors enclosing the gunman.

Stopping a Tragedy in Its Tracks

An adaptive physical access control system would know to selectively permit access only to first responders during a crisis providing actionable security alerts in real time, and isolating the gunman by locking them in – limiting further infliction of harm. As for reaching innocent bystanders, first responders would receive access to evacuate them as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, a security officer who spotted a risk via an adaptive PACS like ReconAccess could implement a lockdown procedure for the entire facility with the tap of the wrist via an intuitive mobile app, adjusting permissions to any door and taking effect in real-time. These proactive and risk-adaptive access control system features would allow for first responder mobility, real-time updates on-the-go, and effectively improve life safety outcomes in similar critical situations.

When it comes to protecting innocent lives, door access control should be a preventative obstacle against the perpetrator – not the first responder.