In the wake of an alarming amount of school violence in the past few years, schools across the country are working on developing emergency drills and procedures—planning for the worst, just in case.
But a well-rehearsed plan of action and even metal detectors only go so far. That’s why Shooter Detection Systems, a Massachusetts company, has created a new technology designed to alert the school and emergency responders at the first sound of gunfire.
The new Guardian Active Shooter Detection System is made up of sensors no bigger than smoke alarms installed in classrooms and hallways. The sound of gunfire triggers audio sensors to automatically send an alert to police and transmit recordings in realtime.
It aims to empower emergency response personnel to quickly and easily track the shooter and monitor activity within the school before they so much as step foot into the building.
Shooter Detection Systems recently installed the system in a school in Methuen, Mass., as a trial run. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, law enforcement officials gathered at the school for a demonstration on how the technology works, and how police can and should respond. The system, which has been called the first in the nation to detect and track an active shooter in a school, was installed in the Methuen school at no cost.
Methuen has been one of the most proactive cities in the state in addressing school safety, assigning in-school police and conducting active-threat drills in the event of an emergency. Methuen Schools Superintendent Judith Scannell has said the district will consider expanding the pilot program to its four other schools.
Shooter Detection Systems says the Guardian Active Shooter Detection System was based on others like it developed for the military. The company wants to eventually make the system available to malls, airports, government offices, and other public buildings in addition to schools across the country.
The company’s CEO, Christian Connors, says plans are in progress to install the technology in two schools in Virginia and California, as well as several undisclosed airports.