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).
Contact us for more information: 01772 336 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent OFSTED guidelines state the LOCKDOWN alert for schools must be distinctly different from the fire alert. We suggest contacting schools in your area for potential site surveys or system installations over the Christmas holiday period.
If the last school holiday period was anything to go by, there was a flurry of orders and schools organising site surveys before confirming installation of the Nexus lockdown system during the Christmas holidays.
If you would like further information on the Nexus range or any marketing material to help you promote this system, please email email@example.com or give us a call on 01772 336111.
A Nexus system comprises call points with sounder / beacons and sounder / beacons only. The units have a range of up to 1km from each other. All units in range activate when one is triggered.
Many schools will require installation over the school holiday period so now is a perfect time to be speaking to them about NEXUS.
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
St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is a vibrant and engaging mid-size primary school with 189 pupils in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The school is highly regarded both academically and socially and places an emphasis on the teachings of the Catholic religion. At the heart of the school is a caring and creative learning environment where all students are made to feel safe. St. Joseph’s recently approached D-Tect based in Leeds, to install a lockdown system to be used in the case of an emergency or threat to children and staff.
For this particular site, a mixture of internal and external call points and sounder/beacons were used with the Master call point situated in the main school office. Three external sounder/beacons were placed around the playground and entrance with a further seven units sited inside the school. Using a proven, secure mesh protocol, when one Nexus unit is activated, it triggers all units in range to sound an audible alert accompanied by a flashing beacon light.
Nexus lockdown units are blue to differentiate them from traditional fire alarms. In line with recent Ofsted guidelines, which state that a lockdown alarm must be distinctive in sound from a fire alarm, there are 32 sounds to choose from. There is also a voice variant available which will sound a lockdown message which can be customised by the school. The caretaker at St. Joseph’s was able to advise the engineers of the best positions for the Nexus alert points. As a result, the installation was completed within a few hours.
Given the high costs involved in wiring a traditional system, both in terms of manpower and installation costs, D-Tect were delighted to be able to offer St. Joseph’s a competitive price for the wireless lockdown system. At the same time, they were commissioned to install an internal public address system for the school’s announcements.
Natalie Marshall, Director at D-Tect commented: “With the introduction of new Ofsted guidelines many schools and colleges are looking to introduce an efficient lockdown system with minimum disruption to their existing systems already in place. It is in this regard that the Nexus lockdown system comes into its own with its unique features. Our campaign offering safety and security checks to schools and colleges within the Yorkshire Region has proved to be a great success, with St Joseph’s being one of our first installations. We have now expanded our coverage to the remainder of the UK, and plan to provide suitable solutions to many more schools and colleges throughout the country.”
Quality Essential Distribution (QED), in Preston, supplied the Nexus units to D-Tect. QED remained on hand to provide technical expertise and support during the installation.
View the Nexus Lockdown System here.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the Nexus system or would like to discuss your bespoke requirements.
Call: 01772 336 111
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