In response to mass shootings in multiple schools building codes have been updated to require Voice Communications for fire alarm systems. Voice fire alarm systems have in turn matured into multi-faceted life safety systems known as Emergency Communications Systems. The traditional voice fire alarm is an excellent platform for emergency alarm functions beyond fire alarm due to its robust nature and code required redundancy. Modern Emergency Communications Systems (ECS) take the best features of fire alarms and integrate them with traditional and enhanced security technologies to provide an overall integrated response to emergencies in today's campus environment.
In the event of a tornado, the push of one button can play a message to all campus buildings and insure the message continues to play even during a power outage due to the requirements for the ECS system to have a 24 hour supervised battery backup.
In the event of an active shooter scenario, an input from a panic button, gunshot detector, wireless panic system, or mobile text to relay input can trigger the ECS system to sound an active shooter alarm to trigger ALICE lockdown while also interfacing with card access systems to lockdown doors, camera systems to trigger remote viewing of cameras, text notification to staff and student cell phones, and outdoor MNS (Mass Notification) through large panel array speakers.
Modern ECS fire alarms can be programmed for PAS (Positive Alarm Sequence) that allows the delay of a fire alarm for up to 3 minutes while an armed guard responds to the fire alarm, helping to insure that the fire alarm is not being used as a weapon by an active shooter to initiate mass evacuation of a building.
ECS / MNS systems can greatly assist in minimizing loss of life in the event of a worst case scenario.