How Paging on your Telephone System can improve your School Lockdown procedure

Today, we live in a world where lockdowns in schools and places of work are common. From attacks to natural disasters, schools can face emergency situations that may require a site lockdown, evacuation or at least a warning. As such, it’s important every institute has a strong, carefully planned procedure in place to deal with a whole host of potential dangers, in order to keep students and staff safe from harm.

Research has highlighted many of the areas that schools already excel in, but also somewhere the procedures fall short. Confusing and lengthy lists of protocol codes, or having only one strict procedure are just two examples of where problems can occur. Staff that are improperly trained may confuse codes under stress when announcing a situation- leaving everyone more confused, and more vulnerable than before. On the flip side, following a strict, black-and-white procedure that leaves no flexible space for the unique, spontaneous elements of a problem situation may also be damaging for staff, and leave them unable to protect their pupils properly. Campus Safety Magazine recommends, amongst other things, having “a lower level, ‘preventive’ or ‘soft’ lockdown option” that can be adapted to the present situation.

What can help in any crisis situation is a reliable means of building-wide communication. A telephone paging system, for example, can be used to exchange information between rooms in the school, and also confer with authorities on the outside. As the systems can be isolated to staff, it is a subtle response to a perceived threat and can reduce panic amongst pupils. As such, it is a vital tool in the protective security systems in many schools.

So, how exactly is the paging facility on a telephone system crucial to school security?

Staff, even students, can raise the alarm quickly, easily and most importantly, inconspicuously. A tannoy speaker is activated on each telephone handset to inform all other areas of the school that a lockdown has been initiated.

Automatic messages

When time may be of the essence, or if staying near the phone could pose a danger to the person raising the alarm, the electronic system proves invaluable. Calls can be placed to police authorities or governing school officials, and then left to play a default message informing them of the problem. Likewise, an automatic message can be played on repeat throughout the building via the telephone network and advise staff on what they need to do in response. This can be hugely beneficial even for staff with proper training – after all, it’s likely they may forget their procedures under the pressure of a real threat.

Remote abilities

Natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes can damage power lines, and, whilst it’s not pleasant to think about, it is always best to be prepared for situations that involve dangerous intruders. If power sources are attacked, the paging systems will continue independently on a remote power source, so will continue to aid staff throughout the crisis. Solar-powered strobe lighting and LED message boards can help make people in outdoor or loud areas – such as music rooms, tennis courts and dining halls- aware that there is a problem. Not only this, but some paging systems have the ability to allow remote access for authorities to page into the internal system via mobile phones so that communication can be established between the police and the staff and students in the locked building. This can be vital to the protection of civilians, and for law enforcement to secure the building once more.

These are, of course, situations that occur few and far between, but they do happen. With a good communication system in place, however, it is far more likely that a potentially dangerous situation can be caught and contained before they have time to get out of hand.

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