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What to Expect From PASS Committee Safety Standards

Set to be released at ISC West 2015, new guidelines developed by PASS will lead school administrators and security professionals in the right direction.

CI Staff

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) is set to release it’s guidelines for school safety at ISC West on April 16th. The guidelines are designed to provide schools with a tiered approach to security.

PASS is a volunteer alliance among the Security Industry Association (SIA), NSCA and industry professionals. Ahead of its announcement at ISC West, PASS has provided us with the executive summary for it’s soon-to-be-released guidelines. This document provides a deeper look at the PASS committee and its mission.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see from the announcement at ISC West next week.

Executive Summary

School administrators must answer two basic questions when planning to implement security measures: What should we do? And how do we pay for it?

Since school officials are rarely experts in physical security, the answer to the first question is, too often, a haphazard combination of devices, deployed in such a way that they never really become a security solution. This, in turn, makes the second question more difficult to answer. A poorly designed system is an inefficient one, and this drives up costs while still failing to provide the desired level of security.

More: PASS to Release K-12 Safety Standards at ISC West

It is as if administrators were responsible for fire detection and suppression, but had no codes to guide them. How could they be expected to know what technology should be used, or even where to put alarms and sprinklers?

This document seeks to help school officials navigate the challenges associated with security equipment and processes. Developed by experts in the security industry, with extensive input from school officials and law enforcement, it:

  • Analyzes school security threats, including the numerous dangers that do not involve – and are far more common than – an active shooter.
  • Outlines the legal, moral and other arguments for making investments in security.
  • Examines the nature of risk, risk assessment and risk mitigation.
  • Explains the importance of having “layers” of security.
  • Offers a unique set of guidelines containing specific recommendations for enhancing school security.

The recommendations, consistent with the practice of implementing security in-depth, describe solutions for the property perimeter, parking lots, the building perimeter, and classrooms, as well as visitor control, video surveillance and emergency notification.

Within each layer, the recommendations are divided into tiers, progressing from Tier 1, which provides a good baseline level of security, to Tier 4, which includes the most aggressive approaches to securing a facility.

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Many schools will not be able to implement the Tier 4 measures, and many have no need to do so. The purpose of this guide, in general, and the tiers, specifically, is to provide school administrators with tools they can use to gauge their risk level, identify their security needs and, after factoring in their available resources, develop a security plan tailored to their school that incorporates practices and procedures that have been vetted by experts.

Given the wide variations among the nation’s tens of thousands of schools in size, population, location and other factors, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to security.

Whether officials at a particular school determine that meeting the standards of TIER 1 would be best for their situation, or whether they identify risk factors that compel a move to other tiers, this guide can help to inform their decision-making and provide an appropriate level of security for students and staff.

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