Security expert offers tips for safer schools
It’s the conversation schools nationwide are likely having this week: Just how secure are our children?
There are some critical steps when it comes to securing a school and Paul Timm, a RETA security consultant, says the bells and whistles can cost you but good security doesn’t always have to.
RETA isa 2nd generation company started back in 1984.
Sadly, Timm says schools are often reluctant to prioritize security until tragedy strikes.
His priority when securing the classroom is communication first. 2-way radios or walkie talkies, PA systems indoors and out and even emergency phones peppered throughout the school.
And when it comes to access control, he says one door in and the same door out for all visitors.
In a pinch, to tighten security, some area schools quickly turned to the basics: Emergency drills and lots of them.
Increased police presence outside the school is another approach.
Timm wants to see visitors at every school turn over their state ID’s until they are ready to leave, have them checked and screened on the spot for criminal history. Wearing labels at all times he says is a must. Timm wants them hanging from a colored lanyard so they are easy to spot and easy to identify any outsider.
Cameras at $2,000 -$3,000 a lens are costly, but effective. Timm says only as effective as your hard drive, however. Keep images and data for 30 days before deleting and don’t spend good money on bad cameras. The images are everything, especially at a soft target like an elementary school.
He goes on to say today’s best technology is in virtually everyone’s pocket. He said schools can tap into the same tablet technology we see everywhere and use apps that can even be shared by first responders and school administrators to avoid or reduce the effects of a determined intruder.