Interview with Best Defense Owner Carter Rierson on the Benefit of ECS Systems for Schools
Best Defense Provides Integrated Security, Fire Alarm, Emergency Communication Systems, Access Control, IP Camera Systems, and Sprinkler systems for Education Occupancies Throughout Wisconsin
From small private schools and daycare to large K-12 school districts, private university and state campuses, Best Defense offers Honeywell fire alarm solutions from both Gamewell FCI and Farenhyt Silent Knight, providing us a wide range of affordable yet scalable non-proprietary fire alarm solutions to project your students, faculty, and facilities. For larger campuses Best Defense can even fully integrate your buildings together for remote management of your systems utilizing Focal Point Graphic Workstations, allowing you graphic display of the status of all your fire alarms!
Schools and Daycare buildings have special requirements under the latest versions of the International Building Code, with E Occupancies (School / Daycare) with an occupancy load greater than 100 requiring voice communication fire alarm systems. Though Wisconsin has yet to adopt this code statewide many municipalities such Madison, North Shore Fire Department, Verona, and several municipalities surrounding Milwaukee have adopted the most current code. We can assist you in designing not only a system that is compliant with today's code, but also help you insure that your new system will not need an immediate upgrade with your next remodel or addition.
Access Control Card Readers
For greater than two decades Best Defense has installed proximity card reader solutions providing access control security for schools and other educational occupancies throughout Wisconsin in towns such as Milwaukee, Portage, Madison, Lake Geneva and elsewhere. With three Wisconsin offices we can assist you in designing, installing, and maintaining an integrated IP based access control system to protect and control access to your school. Our systems can include photo ID's and printers as well as visitor registration stations. Each of our access control systems fully integrate with our Exacqvision and Salient IP based Video Management Software, providing a direct link between your cameras and your access control. For the "worst case scenario", access control is integrated with our fire alarm / emergency communication systems for notification throughout the school, or even tied wirelessly from building to building to notify and lock down an entire campus in the event of an emergency! Your search for a complete access control system for your school is not complete without a call to Best Defense.
IP Camera Systems
Our basic IP camera starts at 5 megapixels of resolution, roughly 20 times the resolution of a typical analog security camera installed just a few years ago. Higher end cameras go up from there, providing resolution which was simply unthinkable just a few years ago. With IP based cameras we can distribute the cabling of your cameras through either your existing network backbone or through a new parallel network with dedicated racks and switches, making it very easy to expand the system in the future.
We have specialized camera types for large rooms such as gymnasiums and commons areas as well as basic cameras for small lobbies and classrooms. For some applications specialized hallway cameras can provided the highest resolution for your application. Best Defense offers cameras and manufacturers such as Axis, Vivotek, and Arecont as well as value option that provides excellent quality and clarity at a very reasonable price. For parking lots and stadiums Best Defense can interconnect cameras back to your servers utilizing fiber or wireless bridge connections. Best Defense installs video management servers from Exacqvision and Salient Systems while also providing service on systems such as Milestone, Digital Watchdog, and others.
With in-house certified IT, Best Defense is best positioned to provide you with a professional IP video solution that meshes nicely with your existing network. Our techs can interface and work hand in hand with your IT department to insure the cameras are fully integrated into the IT plan you already have in place.
Traditional burglar alarms assist in protecting your school after hours, but for many schools the challenge of managing arming and disarming of the system without false alarms can be daunting. Best Defense has decades of experience deploying successful solutions to protect your buildings after hours and with new modern technology, access control, cameras and security systems can be directly controlled through one software platform, making the task of protecting your school far easier.
We are huge proponents of multi-tiered panic buttons for schools and daycare. Two levels of panic buttons, one being a traditional panic button that interfaced directly with your alarm for direct notification of your local police department and/or on site security while the second panic button is more of an "amber" alert button. Pushing this button can send text or phone call notifications to members of your staff who are nearby and available to assist immediately without waiting for police response. This "amber" button is designed for situations that are potentially violent, but have yet to escalate. Getting assistance to your area immediately can help the situation from escalating.
Upon activation of either a "red alert" or "amber alert" panic button, the system can be interfaced through our monitoring station for notification of authorities and or staff, but it can also be interfaced with other portions of your system. For example, pushing the button can automatically cause your interior doors to lock down, "compartmentalizing" your building, helping to protect students and staff. The system can also interface with your fire alarm to send out a voice tone or message to portions of the building utilizing Emergency Communications Systems protocols and priorities.
Emergency Communications Systems (ECS)
Originally adopted by the military for notification of emergencies OTHER than fires to bases throughout the world, ECS has evolved to provide an excellent option for helping secure your school in the event of an emergency. ECS systems take your fire alarm to the next level, providing voice and visual communications throughout your buildings notifying occupants that an emergency is taking place. Unlike traditional PA systems, ECS systems meet the requirements of NFPA 72 chapter 24 for emergency communications systems. With an ECS system, the voice is distributed, so one simple short or open on your communications system does not prevent the system from functioning. The system also includes the same robust battery backup and communications pathways required for a typical voice fire alarm, making the system far more dependable than an intercom to announce an emergency. With the adoption of the 2010, 2013, and 2016 of NFPA 72, traditional PA intercom systems are typically not compliant fore emergency notification as they do not offer redundancy, backup power, and visual notification of an alarm. With ECS systems, ADA and NFPA requirements are met by installing amber strobes in areas where clear fire alarm strobes are located. This alerts your occuants that an emergency other than a fire taking place.
With ECS systems fire alarm is no longer the highest priority alarm. For example, if a fire alarm pull station is pulled to set off a fire alarm and initiate a pre-planned evacuation procedure, the pressing of a panic button or other "Active Shooter" input can override the evacuation signal of the fire alarm and immediately notify the students and faculty of the higher priority alarm and instruct them to shelter in place.
Examples of pre-recorded ECS messages which can be tripped with the simple push of a button include:
Inputs to the ECS system can be provided throughout the building or the entire campus utilizing wireless panic buttons, text notification, radio input, gunshot detectors, specialized panic buttons, weather radios, and other integration such as integration with security system, cameras, and macros on faculty desktop pc's.
Integration with and Training of Emergency Responders
The best fire alarm or integrated security solution for your school is only as good as the training and integration into your emergency response plan. Best Defense can assist you in working with your staff and local authorities that maximizes the benefits of your new Best Defense system into your emergency response plan. Would you like the Police to be able to see inside your school in the event of an active shooter? Would you like the emergency responders to be able to remotely access and control which portions of your school are locked down in the event of an active shooter? The system can even be integrated to allow emergency responders to speak over the system from outside the building from either a telephone number or via radio to either one of your buildings or an entire campus, allowing responders to update and direct your students and staff in the event of an emergency.
Your life safety solution would not be complete without an effective sprinkler system for your school. Oconto Schools learned from direct experience the cost of not having an effective sprinkler system in place. Protect your school and students with an effective sprinkler system to insure against the spread of fire in your building. Count on Best Defense to design, install and maintain your sprinkler systems to meet NFPA 13 and NFPA 25 requirements with proper inspection and testing.
Contact Best Defense at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-237-8389 for assistance in designing a protection system for your school.