A Guide to Evaluating a New Surveillance Systems & Partners
New Jersey law requires every school district to have a school safety and security plan arranged and detailed in a handbook. That plan covers more than school shootings and bomb threats. It’s also important to have a plan in place for crisis control after a suicide or sudden death, weather or natural disaster, bullying/fighting, in-school or bus accidents, fires, gas leaks, missing persons, and so forth.
Build and assess that plan often using the ACEF checklist. This checklist is a good starting point for determining your school’s security needs.
School districts must create a manual of policies and procedures regarding how to respond to these different emergencies. Everyone in the school must regularly practice drills and tabletop exercises to make sure staff and students know what to do and what’s expected of them. They must train new staff members within 60 days of employment. They must practice drills for each of these four situations twice a year:
- Active Shooter
- Bomb Threat
- Non-Fire Evacuation
New York and Pennsylvania have similar laws regarding school safety and how emergencies are handled. If that’s all you’ve done, that’s not enough. Everyone needs to come together to keep children and staff safe during school, on field trips, and at before- and after-school events. For this reason, an intimate knowledge of the school grounds, potential weaknesses, and effective means to identify visitors and intruders – both human or animal – is a must!
Technology is a key component of any school’s safety and security plan. School surveillance systems and technologies that heighten the safety and security of a school campus are essential. As technology changes often, assessing and upgrading systems help keep your school as safe as possible. Learn the best tips for evaluating a new surveillance system and choosing the best partners in designing, installing, and learning how to use that system.
Evaluating the Key Components of Technology for School Security
Take a closer look at the technology schools are using to ensure safety in different emergency situations. How do you evaluate what’s best for your school district?
- School Surveillance Systems
Technology is being used more and more in school settings to enhance safety and security. School security cameras and surveillance systems need to top your list, as they offer several benefits. When evaluating a school surveillance system, make sure the system includes these three key areas and the software needed to access all components of the security system.
- Real-Time Incident Alerts and Monitoring Capabilities: With security cameras, notification settings allow the security team to get real-time notifications if someone enters the school grounds, approaches a door or window, or a student wanders the hallways without permission. School bus surveillance cameras are equally important and should be on your security plan. Artificial intelligence is also possible if you want to have cameras scanning for faces that aren’t in the student or staff directory. You can also use AI to read vehicle license plates.
- Control of Access Points: Remote locks eliminate the need to have a security guard or employee unlock doors to let others in. With security cameras, your security team can address visitors before deciding to allow access. Once an alert notifies your employee that someone is at the door, you can request that visitors provide a photo ID and verifies why they’re there before deciding to provide access. If access is approved, the door can be unlocked remotely or someone can meet the person at the door to escort them to the appropriate area.
- Theft and Vandalism Protection: Surveillance systems track activity all day and night throughout the week, including on weekends. If someone enters the school grounds or building to break in or vandalize areas within the building or the grounds, a notification goes out. Security cameras can capture images that can be used to identify the perpetrator.
- Security Cameras
School districts have three choices for security cameras. Whether it’s the right fit comes down to your needs. A mix of all three optimizes coverage and security.
- Bullet: Bullet cameras provide good quality video footage, even at a distance, and affix to a wall or roof line usually. They’re what most places use outside the building. Make sure the camera has night vision.
- Dome: Dome cameras are often seen in stores. They mount to the ceiling and have a glass dome over the camera. You can use them inside or out. They’re best for wide-angle coverage.
- PTZ: PTZ cameras do more than most cameras as you can adjust the camera angle to zoom, tile, or track movements. They’re great for main entries.
While that breaks down the basics of a surveillance system, how do you know if it’s quality? Ask the provider to see actual footage of a security camera. If it’s grainy and out of focus, it will not be of much help in an emergency. You want clear images, even in bright lighting or darkness.
Look at the features that are included with a surveillance system. How much extra will you pay for the storage of security footage? Compare those prices to similar models. Is there a long-term contract requirement? If so, what would it cost if you try to get out of it early?
Tips for Choosing a Partner in School Safety
How do you evaluate a technology partner for your school security and surveillance decisions? Start by building a list of potential partners in security.
- Ask Who Other Area School Districts Rely On
Ask administrators at other schools who they use. If they have a system that works well, fits their budget, and continually provides exceptional service, put that agency on your list of possibilities.
- Look at Reviews
Before you select a partner in school security and surveillance, do your research. Reviews help but don’t rely heavily on them. Some companies get friends to leave positive reviews, and sometimes the competition goes in and gets people to leave negative reviews to gain a higher rating. Consider those outliers and take away pieces of the reviews that apply to your security needs.
- Learn More About the Company’s History and Expertise
Explore the company’s history in technology and school security. A firm that’s been in business for decades has a proven history of success. PMC Wireless is a second-generation technology integrator with over 30 years of experience. In that time, we’ve partnered with several of the largest government agencies in Metro New York.
- Check Out the Technicians’ Training and Areas of Expertise
What training do the technicians undergo? Look at the company’s capabilities to analyze what they can do to help you. Do their areas of expertise match your needs?
- Find Out if the Agency Has Any Certifications
While you’re doing this, look for any credentials or certifications. Completing specific training programs and passing surprise inspections says a lot about a company’s reliability. PMC Wireless is a Motorola Solutions Safety Reimagined badged partner. This credential is only given to those who pass the rigorous training programs to get certified. What does this certification mean?
- Ability to design and employ long-term security solutions that match an organization’s budget, time frame, and security needs.
- Customized solutions are provided instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Follows through design and implementation to training and support to ensure the system is exactly as you imagined.
- Proven expertise with Motorola Solutions’s full line of video surveillance and access control solutions, two-way radios and devices, and software applications.
Partner with PMC Wireless for advanced solutions for school safety. We do more than sell video surveillance. We design our systems to detect issues, analyze them, communicate with the appropriate team, and get a quick response.
From design to installation and maintenance, our school surveillance system is top-notch, but we also offer an in-building carrier system, reliable Wi-Fi connections both inside and outside the school, and more. If you’re in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania, call us and let us know how we can help.