16 May 2019

In any organization or facility, security is a crucial portion of its day-to-day operation. Schools are no exception to that – they are subject to public interest and work to educate our youth and need to be protected on a more complex level. School administrators are legally and morally bound to implement protocols and protective measures for safety in their facilities. As there are multiple systems that make up a comprehensive security system, access control is one of the most used systems to protect from outside influences and secure areas. It is also proven to be the most effective system. It ensures that the school’s perimeter is secure and that all entries/exits are monitored in great detail.

Emergency Situations 

As school shootings are becoming more of a threat, it is critical for schools to take extreme measures in being prepared for the worst case scenario. It is important to have an access control system that locks exterior entrances in these emergency situations. They prevent dangerous people from entering the facility and give administrators the ability to lock all doors during certain hours with the click of a button. 

Monitoring All Movement 

Monitoring visitors is another important task in a schools security measures. There needs to be designated entry and exit points specifically for visitors to come in and out of during the school hours. That way, you are able to monitor the visitors movement throughout their time at the facility. From the time they enter the parking lot, their path needs to be clearly communicated with signage. Funneling them into the main office to “check-in” is deemed most successful in monitoring all movement. Keeping all other doors locked and having a buzzer system will keep the students and staff safe from outside threats. 

Safe Entry & Exit

In emergency situations, there needs to be a system in place that still allows police, medical professionals, etc to exit or enter the facility in a safe matter. There are specialized locks that can be used for both entry/exit within the school if students need to evacuate or if emergency personnel need to attend to a victim. These locks need to be strategic and communicated to all involved so there is a clear plan in place.

Things to Keep in Mind While Auditing Your School’s Access Control System:

  • Test the physical barriers in the building. Complete routine tests on auto-lock doors, magnetic doors, turnstiles, etc. It is important to ensure all are in proper working condition on a regular basis in case of emergency. 
  • Ensure all staff understands the importance of their identification devices and how keeping them secure at all times is critical to the students safety. Keeping an accurate and timely log will help keep the correct clearance levels for restricted areas.
  • Monitor Clearances. Keeping up with employee turnover and deactivating terminated employees access fobs is an important aspect of auditing. This needs to be done on a regular basis – more than a normal audit. Human Resources should be involved in this process regularly.
  • Make sure you have a contractor you can trust. Technology isn’t perfect and can make mistakes – Having a trusted partner to make sure everything is installed and maintained properly is just as important as the system itself. 

Low Voltage Solutions would love to help audit your school’s current access control and security systems. As we lead into the summer months, our education projects are lined-up to complete before the start of the new year. Get in touch with us here!


09 May 2019

An effective network of fire alarm systems is critical to the safety of any facility. Companies run the risk of major fire damage, employee injury, and significant reconstruction costs without them. Effective fire alarm systems allow facilities to provide an early warning to speed up evacuation time and reduce property damage. Fire alarm technology has evolved over time and now allows for increased safety. Thanks to a properly installed network of fire alarm systems, companies can benefit from greater protection from accidental fires or emergency situations. 

The Difference in Networked Fire Alarms 

A networked alarm system communicates data throughout the fire alarm panels, allowing for control over the fire safety of an entire facility. These systems can be designed to fit the specific needs of a facility, no matter what the size. The control panel is a fundamental portion of the system. Large fire alarm systems feature control panels on different floors of a building. Each panel maintains the status and control of each area it is designated to. A network fire alarm system allows you to access panel information from a central location. A single-system view saves you from visiting multiple physical sites. Networking improves survival rates — should a single panel lose communication, the remaining panels can still function and communicate with each other.

Benefits of a Central Monitoring System

Enhanced Command and Control Capabilities

Access to your entire system from a centralized dashboard makes it easier to command and control your fire alarm system. Administrators can check the status of intelligent devices within their system remotely using computer software. For instance, they can adjust the sensitivity of smoke detectors and disable devices from their dashboard.

Convenient Event Documentation and Report Reviews

Using the centralized dashboard, authorized users can pull up historical reports, view previous system adjustments, and review troubleshooting and advisory logs. Administrators can use this information to learn about what caused an alarm to go off and why.

Cost Effective Technology

Shifting to a networked fire alarm system results in lower annual monitoring costs. Standalone systems require two transmission channels and a central monitoring agreement. Networking technology, on the other hand, needs only one transmission channel and monitoring agreement for your entire building.

Mass Notification Integration

If you include emergency communications to your networked system, you can integrate it with your current mass notification system and deliver critical messages to people during an emergency. Administrators can do this with an inside- or outside-building voice announcement, on-screen pop-up displays, text messages, emails, and more.

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LVS has many years of experience in designing and installing networked fire alarm systems. We are an authorized distributor of Johnson Control’s AUTOCALL line. We look forward to assiting you and your facility’s fire alarm system. Get in touch with us here!