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Digital Pre-Plans and the Active Shooter

Author: Stephen Nardi, CEO, RealView, LLC

Date: 2015-12-17
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As experience has taught us, response technologies are a requisite part of the campus gameplan


We all noticed something changing with Columbine in 1999. Through 9/11 and Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood, the Aurora theater shooting, and Sandy Hook, terms like “active shooter” and “lockdown” have made their way into our daily – yes, daily – lexicon. As risks and threats change, so too must your approach to protecting those who operate and frequent your property – be it a shopping center, a school campus, a hospital, a sports stadium.

The phrase “can’t happen here” is obsolete.

Image Above: CommandScope replaces outdated paper-based emergency action plans/manuals and is utilized on emergency vehicle computers and touch screen computers on-site at building security stations. 

Since the turn of this century, the FBI has defined mass shootings as a single attack in which four or more victims were killed. A 2013 mandate from President Obama to study the problem further reduced the number to three victims killed. In their database, the New York Times excludes mass murders via robbery or gang violence or domestic abuse in private homes. With these parameters, since 1999, of the 42 mass shootings documented, almost 40 percent occurred on a college campus or school grounds.

And with the atrocities at San Bernardino’s Inland Center and at the Bataclan night club and Stade de France in Paris, the definition of target hazard has broadened. Right now every sports facility commission is re-engaging its emergency response plan. There are currently more than 1,350 sports arenas in this country. According to the National Center for Spectator Sports, Safety and Security, only about one-third of those are taking all necessary measures to secure themselves. In the next five weeks there are 41 college bowl games and 31 college basketball tournaments and showcases.

Most school and campus administrations, as well as facility managers, understand how emergency response protocols and communications procedures tie in with local governments and first responders. But there also are tools and technologies available to property and facility owners and managers that do the same.

The modern emergency response pre-plan program is now all-digital. Moreover, it is shareable between facilities and first responders. An all-digital pre-plan program, such as our technology CommandScope, shares highly-detailed property information with first responders so they have easy access to the latest building and occupant characteristics. It leverages cloud-based technology allowing for real-time updates to be accessible even en route to emergencies.

Image Above: Facility pre-plans have been a mainstay of fire service response planning for decades; but with the prevalence of active shootings in public and educational facilities, law enforcement is learning the value of digital pre-plans in coordinating and planning for response. Photo: RealView LLC.

Who are the most vulnerable among your students, faculty and staff? Who may have special needs? What do the floor plans look like? How is the campus laid out? Where are exits and escape routes? Where are utility shut-off locations?

Having immediate, shareable answers is important as first responders in your area may have never conducted a thorough walk-through of your school or campus. And since many fire and police departments in the U.S. respond via "mutual aid" agreements, the majority of first responders most likely have never stepped foot in your building(s) prior to the 9-1-1 call.

In 2014, the city of St. Louis began planning with CommandScope, including Busch Stadium in its list of target hazards.  But waiting for local authorities and governments to have all available assets and measures in place isn’t always an option.

In 2012, the University of Connecticut installed CommandScope to assist its fire department in emergencies across the campus. In 2013, Loyola University Chicago implemented use of the program over its main campuses – including Gentile Arena where many of the sports teams play. And then in 2014, Loyola expanded use to blanket all three of its campuses. Since then, Roosevelt University in Chicago also adopted CommandScope for its downtown campus.

In each of these cases, the digital pre-plan is being incorporated into response plans and drills. The technology works side-by-side with cameras, detectors, alarms, communications systems and human intelligence to create a holistic response to emergency situations.

Because, in the end, “can’t happen here” needs to be prepared for.

For  further information, see:

- Corporate News/ (via RealView, LLC, 12/15/15)



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