After the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., there was much discussion in the media about proper steps that school personnel should take to quickly lock down a school in the event of an active shooter scenario. In some cases, the coverage has shed light on the One-Button Lock-Down system created by IntraLogic Solutions, a Massapequa N.Y.-based AV and life safety integrator and software developer.
The One-Button Lock-Down is an AV and security solution that is designed to minimize the time it takes to notify law enforcement and lock down a facility in the event of an active shooter situation.
IntraLogic Solutions developed One-Button Lock-Down in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., says IntraLogic CEO Lee Mandel.
“We went and met with a lot of communities around the country, and they told us about the challenges they have in locking down and securing their buildings during an emergency situation such as a lockdown,” he says.
“The more we spoke to parents, teachers, community members and especially law enforcement, the more we realized how critical time is, and seconds truly do matter in a situation like this.
“Seconds matter. Seconds will save lives.”
With the touch of one button – whether that be on a phone, a touchscreen, a keyboard, a dedicated “panic button” in an office, classroom, hallway or what have you – the One-Button Lock-Down can be customized to trigger whatever actions the particular school needs to happen immediately, such as:
- Contacting police
- Disabling door card access
- Flashing strobe lights
- Checking for ajar doors and notifying staff
- Triggering lockdown messages over PA
- Displaying lockdown messages over computer screens and digital signage
- Showing lockdown message on IP phones or playing audible message
- Sending email, text and phone alerts to parents and students
The last thing decision-makers should need to do in an active shooter scenario, Mandel says, is have to pull out a checklist to see what they need to do first, second, etc.
IntraLogic’s One-Button Lock-Down is provided by about 100 dealers across the U.S. and is deployed in over 2,500 buildings, Mandel says.
Commercial Integrator talked to Mandel recently about One-Button Lock-Down and IntraLogic’s plans to add more dealers to help protect more schools.
What did you learn from talking to parents, teachers, communities and law enforcement officials after Sandy Hook that led to the development of the One-Button Lock-Down solution?
We realized how critical time is, and seconds truly do matter in a situation like this. The more we hear about it, the more we speak, the more we understand that seconds matter, seconds will save lives, so we literally analyzed what they do during a lockdown, and different states and different locations around the country do different things, but the general fundamentals are all the same:
- We have to lock the doors, exterior, to avoid people from coming in.
- We have to let people from the outside know not to come in.
- We have to let the community know, so they don’t descend upon the building.
- We have to let the students know [and] the staff know
So there’s a lot of different components, and when we looked at schools and what they do from a manual process, we could be talking 5 to 15 minutes to successfully achieve all these. What I always say is you don’t want to have to pull out the checklist and say what do you do first, second, and third?
The other component that we realized is how difficult it is to determine who’s going to have the permission and the ability to perform this lockdown. Again, you’re putting this very important decision in people’s hands, but you don’t want to be limited to who has that capability.
God forbid, as we’ve seen in some of these situations, they go to the main office and take out the principal or the main office staff.
Well, if they’re the only people who can call a lockdown, now we don’t have anyone else who can call that lockdown, and if there are shots being fired in the building.
“The more we spoke to parents, teachers, community members and especially law enforcement, the more we realized how critical time is, and seconds truly do matter in a situation like this,” says IntraLogic’s Lee Mandel.
We created the One-Button Lock-Down, which has multiple initiation devices and multiple enunciation devices.
From an initiation standpoint, we have blue buttons that we typically mount in a main office, the principal’s office, and the greeters’ desks.
We have a mobile app that anyone from a cell phone could lock down a building or lock out a building. We then have the ability from any computer keyboard within the building to hit a hot key, type in a PIN code, lock the building down.
Any phone within the building can call a lockdown by hitting a hot key on the IP phone system, as well as wireless pendants including our software. Again, multiple ways. You never know where you’re going to be. Now you’re not limited.
When we hit the lockdown, we immediately do several things. We call the police directly, but we have a direct E911 solution that ties directly to the computer-aided dispatch of law enforcement. We then lock the exterior doors, so no one’s cards will allow them to get in.
We flash strobe lights outside the building so that people know not to come back to the building. We send out text messages to parents, teachers, and students, so they know we’re in a lockdown situation. We automatically lock interior classroom doors, make a pre-recorded announcement over the PA system in the principal’s voice with a lockdown siren tone as well, and we also take over the computer screens in the building.
Some new features we’ve also worked out is we now take over the website of the school district to show an emergency notification on the website as well as digital signage throughout the campus, so we take all these manual processes, and we automate them into one singular process to really speed up the response tremendously.
Based on the feedback that you collected, you found that each school requires very customized solutions.
The nice thing about the One-Button Lock-Down solution is it’s a modular process. They’re all different modules. It’s not one-size-fits-all.
“We have about 100 dealers,” Mandel says. It’s “in over 2,500 buildings around the country, so we have been accepting dealerships.
Different jurisdictions have different concepts and different ways of doing things, so it’s not a one size fits all concept.
What we do with the lockdown solution is we have these different modules, and when we’ve spoken to different components like law enforcement, superintendents, safety directors, technology directors, we spoke to security experts around the country, and we said what do you do during a lockdown.
What’s your biggest challenge? Where are some of the weaknesses? How can we speed the process up? It always comes down to that seconds matters concept, and that’s what we’ve really prided ourselves on doing.
Are you licensing this to other installation companies?
We’ve been licensing it. We built our dealer network about three years ago, and it’s been expanding rapidly. We have about 100 dealers around the country. The system is right now in over 2,500 buildings around the country, so we have been accepting dealerships.
Specialized training is involved; we don’t want to just pass this out to any mom and pop company, because it does integrate with several systems, but it’s a very unique technology, and it is something that we are licensing around the country for use in educational establishments, higher ed, as well as commercial environments.
It’s not typical for an integration firm to create a solution like this. Can you talk about it evolved?
Intralogic didn’t start as an integrator, believe it or not. We were always a software developer. As you know, we’ve created our own video management solution. Any time we see a challenge in the market, we have our technology company that creates these different components.
Although a big part of our business in the New York Metro Area is integration, around the rest of the country, we’re a software developer. We’re a manufacturer of technology, and we work with local integrators around the country to provide them a seamless solution to really enhance the safety and security of these establishments.