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How entrance control can help you manage emergency response

Differing emergency situations require different types of response, with the most common three being evacuation, invacuation and lockdown. 
 
Here, Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager at Integrated Design Limited discusses these workplace emergency responses and the role entrance control can play in helping to manage them.
 
It is a sad reality of today’s world that terror threats, knife and gun crimes are fast-moving incidents that every security or facilities manager needs to give high priority in their building security plans.
 
For those involved in building security, consideration should be given to whether your building is suitably equipped and whether the occupants are prepared should an emergency situations occur.
 
Firstly, let’s explore the three most common emergency responses.
 
Evacuation
Evacuation involves the controlled and orderly exit of people from within your building, usually due to a fire, leaking hazardous substance or other incident in the building.
 
Invacuation
If evacuating staff to an outside location would increase the risk to them, invacuation procedures are deployed. Once a threat has been detected, employees are confined to a closed area within the building, typically away from external doors and windows.

This kind of response might be triggered if there has been a bomb threat in a neighbouring building, a chemical spillage, civil unrest, a weapons attack on the street, a nearby fire or even a dangerous dog on the loose.
 
Lockdown
Lockdown is typically used in response to a threat that is external to the building, preventing people both entering and leaving a facility. By locking external doors and windows, and moving staff to a secure area within the building, the aim is to create a barrier between the external threat and the building’s occupants, delaying attackers or preventing their progression through a building until the Police and other emergency responders arrive on the scene, and the threat has been removed.
 
Lockdown is usually invoked as a response to a security threat, such as an active shooter who has the intent to cause harm to a person or multiple people.
 
How entrance control can help monitor and manage these emergency situations
 
Keeping the threat out in the first place
Entrance control, especially when integrated with other security technologies, can go a long way towards intruder-proofing your building just by acting as a visual deterrent. If you can stop a security breach from occurring in the first place simply by making it seem unlikely to succeed, then you’re less likely to have to deal with the ramifications of an attempt.  
 
An increasing number of our customers are choosing full-height barriers for their turnstiles to do just this. They serve not only as a strong psychological deterrent, but will also physically prevent an unauthorised intruder from gaining access, keeping the threat outside of a building in the first place.
 
Isolating the threat
In the event that a hostile individual has already gained access to the building, one way to minimise the threat and the damage caused is to isolate that individual.
 
When connected to an access control system, our Door Detective system can be controlled remotely from a central location, enabling administrators to lock internal, access-controlled doors to prevent free movement, even if a user has access permissions.
 
Fail-safe and power-fail functions ensure unhindered but monitored emergency egress
Emergency exits need to comply with local building regulations and the requirements of emergency services for the evacuation of personnel, whilst still remaining secure. Our Fastlane turnstiles feature fail-safe and power-fail functions, meaning that in the event of an emergency – such as a fire – or power being lost, the turnstiles will open or release all locks to allow free and unobstructed egress.
 
Fastlane turnstiles also have an optional forced egress mode, available on all of our Glassgate models. This software-controlled function allows users to exit even if they are not in possession of an authorisation device. Users simply walk into the unit exit side and push gently on the glass barriers, the unit will open in the exit direction to let the user out but will alarm to signal a forced event has taken place.
 
This function is only performed when the beam matrix has not identified someone trying to enter the turnstile from the other direction at the same time. This also means that if someone is in the entry side of the lane, they cannot reach over and pull the barriers towards them to gain unauthorised access via force.
 
Ensuring you have the right security systems and procedures in place is only half the battle; how your employees act in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death, so it’s important to rehearse any procedures you have to ensure your staff know what to do in the event of an emergency.

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