Up until recently, schools weren’t required by Ofsted to have an official lockdown system installed. A simple document with guidelines was considered just fine for a Lockdown Policy.
However, now, Ofsted require schools to have a specific lockdown alarm that is not the same sound as a fire alarm! Why – you may ask? This is because of the NACTSO which advises against the use of fire alarms to “reduce incorrect response to an incident”.
You’re correct in thinking aren’t Ofsted concerned for a school’s performance and learning? Yes, but they will refer to site security and will expect schools to demonstrate the measures in place for protecting pupils, staff and the school itself.
In the case of an emergency, poor acknowledgement of pupil safety will be detrimental to an Ofsted inspection. Therefore, which lockdown system best suits a school’s needs, and whether it’s inline with their policy, is vital information.
There is little guidance from councils and governments when it comes to choosing a lockdown system, and the NASUWT did recently call on the government to provide schools with nationally recognised lockdown procedures.
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary said: “responsibility for ensuring security and terrorism preparedness should be the responsibility of the whole governing body. It would not be appropriate for the government simply to require schools to have preparedness plans in place and assume that they are able to do this.”
There are a number of incidents that may instigate a lockdown: postcode wars, an armed intruder, an escalating argument between parents, rogue animals or nearby fires with noxious fumes. So, how does a school alert everyone in a safe manner to find a safe place within the school and stay put?
IP Speakers produce audio announceemnts but no visual alert. These speakers do require wiring, which takes time and money to install. The advantage, of course, is once installed, the system can be used for any alert (wet play, class room changes). So this option really does depend on the school’s budget.
For smaller sites using only one sound as an alert, it is possible to use fire alarms for lockdowns. However, in schools, using the fire alarm for lockdown prompts confusion: do we evacuate, or do we stay put?
Are live voice-based systems the answer? Again, there are pitfalls such as language barriers. And as most lockdowns are prevalent in inner cities, this can be a real problem. A lockdown message with a built-in alert on loop can work. Especially if the school has regular lockdown drills. However, these tannoy announcements rarely cover outside areas such as playing fields due to cabling. Therefore, schools with several outbuildings may not be able to use this option.
Schools will have policies about mobile phones during learning times. Therefore, unless the school looks to providing all staff with a hand held device purely for lockdowns or emergencies, relying on personal phones is a no-go.
The NEXUS system offers battery powered units and is deployable anywhere.
NEXUS offers audible and visual alerts. The alerts are distinguishable from fire alerts, and NEXUS can be quickly installed on site over a weekend or even at the end of the school day. Resulting in minimal disruption to the learning environment.
With a three year battery life, a maximum of 64 units can be installed per site, up to 1km apart. What’s more, when one NEXUS unit activates, it triggers all units in range to sound an audible alert or lockdown message, and a flashing beacon light.
Internal and external variants are available with adjustable decibel levels. There are 32 sounds to choose from, or an annunciator variant can be ordered which has a built-in strobe. Choose the standard lockdown message, or the school may wish to record their own.
The NEXUS PC app also allows one central location (usually the school office) to monitor and control the activated units. From here, the user can reset the system after activation. The PC app also has an email function which advises a specific email group of the severity of the lockdown event.
It is vital schools conduct and review fire and security risk assessments regularly. Staff should be aware of potential risks and the difference between a fire alert (evacuation) and a lockdown alert (stay on the premises and make your way to the nearest place of safety).
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The current COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for visual verification equipment standing in for security personnel; and passively protecting sites. In turn, this has sparked a great amount of interest in OCULi. The standalone OCULi unit is a powerful PIR detector featuring a built-in camera, that will only send notifications upon a detection event; thus, eliminating the need for constant monitoring.
OCULi is fully wireless and battery-operated, making it perfect for protecting vulnerable areas such as vacant properties and construction sites where you cannot install CCTV due to wiring and power limitations.
The most critical new feature is the updated power supply. This new feature uses batteries in series; therefore, extending battery life and supporting rechargeable lithium batteries to use in conjunction with solar panels.
When using rechargeable batteries and a solar panel, you can leave OCULi’s modem online for users to view live images via the mobile app or web portal. The unit recognises changes to the arming schedule immediately and reduced time in server image uploads means it only takes three seconds (typically).
When using OCULi with a speaker, events automatically trigger and air a bespoke message once the video finishes recording. The user can record the message and write it onto the SD card.
Furthermore, Luminite has now simplified SIM activation and their non-network specific UK SIMs make use of EE network coverage.
“OCULi is designed to offer the end user a host of functions without power. The updates our team have been developing around power supply and the use of solar energy makes OCULi a compelling option for installers to offer certain sectors of the market, where traditional security devices cannot be used due to power constraints.” – Graham Creek, Managing Director at Luminite.
Luminite Electronics, manufacturer of EasySwitch wireless transmitters, PIR’s and receivers, recently launched a stylish new external PIR detector, specifically aimed at the CCTV and alarm market. The Luminite ESD30 provides a covert PIR detection range of up to 30 metres over a wide area. Furthermore, this battery powered wireless PIR detector can transmit to any EasySwitch receiver over a range of up to 500 metres (line of sight) to form part of a lighting or alarm system.
The detection area is 30m out and 20m across. Additionally, the internal optics are adjustable so that the unit does not have to be mounted facing the area to be covered. The unit can be easily adjusted for pet immunity to reduce false alarms.
When the PIR is activated, a high power red LED light glows; providing an added layer of security to deter intruders. Power the detector through 4 x AA batteries or 1 x 9v PP3 – providing up to 4 years battery life.
EasySwitch comprises a range of simple wireless switching solutions for the home and business. It is made up of external PIR detectors, wall switch transmitters, receivers and key fobs. EasySwitch offer solutions for hundreds of scenarios. Feel free to mix and match products to create your own bespoke solution.
This pleasing design is perfect for the domestic market and the useful 30 metre detection range will, I’m sure, make this model one of our EasySwitch best sellers.
Luminite has designed and manufactured a wide range of external PIRs – for over 30 years. In this time, the company has produced a range of wireless detectors with a transmission range that is unrivalled in the industry. With the advance of deep learning analytics in the industry, is the death bell tolling for traditional PIR motion detectors? A loaded question as therein lies the problem – what is a typical PIR? With so many variants including lens type, detection patterns hard-wired and wireless, it is very difficult to make a definitive comparison.
Perhaps the question shouldn’t be PIR versus Analytics. As the two can create a robust perimeter security solution when used together. Both technologies benefit the client: the medium to long-range sensor for the initial detection and the onboard analytics for verification. Therefore, PIRs give a layered approach to a perimeter security solution. If for any reason software is compromised, a site still has a functioning line of defence in their surveillance.
A well-positioned PIR working in conjunction with CCTV offers the best solution: with different systems trading off one another’s strengths to create a more powerful end solution, delivering high detection with low false alarms. False alarms are, of course, the main bug bear for any security installer. Law enforcement studies consistently report that over 90% of alarms resulting in a police response prove to be false. The research and development at Luminite place the installer at the centre of everything it does – what best solution can we offer given various constraints? These may be due to budget, power supply, environment – any number of factors.
Sunlight is one of the main triggers for false alarms, meaning we can never fully eradicate false alarms. However, Genesis 2 detectors offer the best defence, with the optics coated in black indium to specifically guard against reflections from the sun.
Experienced installers want the ability to adjust settings for optimum detections. Genesis 2 detectors employ quad pyro sensors; and triggering body heat in each quadrant activates a detection. PIRs generally perform better against video analytics at night. This is due to their ability to accurately capture infrared wavelengths emitted by the human body, and distinguishing that from other visual ‘noise’. Whereas analytic detection is adversely affected by shadows and low-lit areas. Weather related false alarms can also prove to be a huge headache for CCTV operators and traditional PIRs generally perform very well in heavy rain and fog.
‘Post-incident forensics’ are a major driver for using analytics. Security analytics tools can provide insights into where an intrusion/attack originated, a detailed timeline of the incident; as well as compromised resources. This ability to reconstruct and analyse an incident can improve organisational defences to guard against future potential breaches. However, these features are generally only found in top end model. Most standard video analytics are still pretty basic, analysing a two-dimensional screen and individual pixels.
Cost, of course is a huge deciding factor. Whilst top end video analytics may perform better than traditional PIRs on some sites, cost is a driving force. Generally, the most cost-effective solution is PIRs alongside analytics. Using analytics software relies heavily on the installer’s expertise. If incorrectly configured, there is a serious danger that the software can ignore the activities and events that should be detected.
To conclude, of course analytics wins if the client requires advanced scrutiny of the movements on a site. However, for robust intrusion detection, analytics alongside traditional PIR technology offers an effective and cost saving combination.
Have you taken advantage of the extra 10% off the OCULi Wireless PIR Camera? The offer is available until Monday 14th October – so make the most of it whilst it’s around!
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Did you know, theft of construction equipment and machinery costs the construction industry over £800 million a year? Most sites have restricted power supply; therefore making the installation of a full CCTV system impossible.
OCULi wireless PIR cameras work with security guards to alert them of an event via PUSH notifications to their mobile phone. Superior VGA 640 x 480 colour video starts filming in just a few milliseconds after detection. Therefore, guards can decide on the required response. Improved monochrome night-time clarity is achieved using powerful IR LED lighting.
Two lithium D cells power the OCULi units, with an average life span of around 9-12 months. They are supplied with a non-network specific, EU roaming SIM. Tariffs start at £5.00 per month. Also, you can use your own SIM if required (cloud server fee applies).
Furthermore, OCULi units can be self-monitored or integrated with monitoring centres using the Immix, Sentinel or Webeye platforms.
HSE Fire Safety guidelines (HSG168) require construction sites to have a VISUAL and AUDIBLE alert to fire.
Nexus battery operated units can be quickly installed on a construction site whilst building is in progress and can be deployed as the site evolves.
Activating one NEXUS unit triggers all units within range to sound an audible alert / announcement along with a flashing beacon.
You can site the units 1km apart and external units are weatherproof to IP66.
Following the tragic Christchurch mosque shootings in March, the UK Government has increased its Places of Worship Protective Security Fund to £1.6 million. This is double the amount available last year and is a clear indication that vulnerable sites are actively looking to install additional security solutions against extremist behaviour. Furthermore, applicants are no longer required to prove previous experience of hate crime.
The application process is only open until 31st August. So, if you look after such sites, you may be interested in reviewing your security measure.
Consider these three options and take advantage of the fund.
The NEXUS LOCKDOWN SYSTEM has been designed as a rapidly deployable system comprising internal and external wireless call points with sounders and beacons. No wiring is required meaning that a full system can be installed in a matter of hours to minimise disruption.
When one NEXUS unit is activated, it will trigger all units in wireless range. Using a proven secure mesh protocol, an alert or lockdown message will sound with a visible flashing beacon. The recording can be customised or you can use our standard lockdown message. An email alert can also be set up. In turn, this can be forwarded to relevant personnel when the system is activated.
If you already have a lockdown system and protocol, you may want to consider additional security. For example, being able to follow and monitor inside and externally around your building. Uniview and the IndigoVision ranges offer such security surveillance. From 4 camera kits with exceptional features to high end security systems. Call us for a demonstration or more information on this option.
If you’d like a system that allows you to send “live” announcements take a look at the Magna Public address system.
Take advantage of the fund before it ends.
Contact us now and will offer advice on the best system to meet your demands to keep everyone safe.
T: 01772 336 111
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