Most office buildings have an access control system that controls and monitors who enters a specific part of the building. To date, however, no high-rise building has had a crisis management system in place that can alert building security and law enforcement about an intruder, active shooter, medical condition, missing person, or disturbance.
Until now, most facilities have used a time-consuming, manual process to alert authorities and clear certain rooms and spaces during an emergency.
But new technology often found in K-12 settings is now migrating into high-rise offices, allowing facilities the ability to inconspicuously send an alert to the right people about an emergency or incident by using two-way communication and real-time graphic representation of each floor’s individual floorplan.
How it Works
These crisis lockdown alert status systems provide real-time information for both onsite security/facilities personnel and offsite emergency personnel through the use of two-way chat, e-mail, and text messaging. Dynamic graphical maps also provide real-time situation status by using colors to indicate conditions ranging from “safe/secure�? to “crisis condition.�?
These real-time status updates aid first responders with response and deployment. Thanks to the graphical maps that direct them to areas within the building where the situation is occurring, first responders already know what’s happening – and where to go – by the time they arrive on the scene.
Once a threat is identified, an alert can be sent with just the push of a button from a tenant’s computer, smartphone, tablet, or any other device with an internet connection. Security personnel can place the tenant space into lockdown, evacuate, shelter, or all-clear status. Alerts can also be sent by security personnel and first responders to tenants. Two-way communication between security, tenants, and law enforcement is handled silently, and all in real-time.
This type of communication means that the intruder or active shooter won’t know what’s being said (or who’s saying it). An audit trail will also be left behind after the incident or crisis is over, which can be helpful if questions arise later.
Providing Another Layer of Security
When 505 Eighth Avenue, a 25-story building in the Garment District of Manhattan, was looking for a way to provide an additional layer of security during crisis events and incidents, Neal Garelik, CEO of Excel Global Security, suggested a crisis lockdown alert status system to Allen Gurevich, managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.
Gurevich realized the benefits of having a cost-effective, panic-lockdown solution in place that notifies security and law enforcement whenever there’s an emergency in a tenant space.
As a result, 505 Eighth Avenue will be the first high-rise to integrate this type of emergency communications technology. The system can be monitored remotely, administering access to the premises and displaying live feeds from security cameras.
“Getting a handle on crisis situations in our properties is on the mind of every employee, tenant, and building manager and owner,�? says Gurevich. “This technology is secure, easy to install, and operates as a standalone or integrated system by adding it to the building’s existing network infrastructure. We like the scalability and flexibility of the solution as it provides real-time visibility when every second counts, and protects what we value most.�?
The system can also interface paging and mass notification systems, and trigger preprogrammed announcements and messages, and link video and CCTV for additional visibility.
“We are committed to having our tenants come to work and feel safe. We want to reduce the time to notify law enforcement and provide critical information should a crisis or incident arise,�? says Gurevich.
Images courtesy of Sielox LLC