Security Entrances and Active Shooter Preparedness

Blog Date:  6/19/2018
Author:  Greg Schreiber

How Do Security Entrances Fit into an Active Shooter Preparedness Plan?

By Greg Schreiber, Senior Vice President of Sales at Boon Edam

It’s unfortunate that one of the biggest topics in our industry today is “active shooter.” Once a rare event, it’s now in the news almost weekly and sometimes daily. To an organization, the impacts range from death and property damage to long-term disruption of business continuity.

Organizations today have to take the threat seriously and deploy a number of tactics to get ahead of an active shooter event. These strategies include, but are not limited to, conducting more effective employee screenings and providing counseling; preparing emergency kits; performing safety drills on a regular basis; and rolling out physical security measures to deter, detect or prevent an active shooter from infiltrating and moving throughout the building.

Reducing Risk through Securing the Entry

A top goal of security professionals in mitigating an active shooter event is to keep the perpetrator from ever being able to gain access to the building. We’ve seen many organizations mount an access control device to the outside of a locked swinging door in hopes of controlling access. Unfortunately, an employee with credentials can unlock the door and, being polite, hold the door open for a number of others to enter. Tailgating is an issue that many organizations struggle to overcome.

To mitigate the risk of penetration due to tailgating, and halt the potential for mayhem, organizations around the globe are deploying security entrances, a solution that has no problem being rude in its effort to control access to a building.

Security Entrances: How Do They Measure Up?

Security entrances are barriers and therefore add a true element of pedestrian “control” to the operation of an access control system. Security entrances only allow one person to enter per authorized credential, and will either alarm or completely prevent someone else from entering behind that authorized person. This takes the pressure off employees and assists or reallocates existing guard staff.

It is important to note that not all security entrances are created equal. Each differs in its ability to address tailgating. Selecting the best entrance for any given organization comes down to understanding the capabilities of each entrance type and how they impact the overall security plan. Let’s explore four levels of security entrance capabilities.

Level 1: Crowd Control

Tripod turnstiles. These entrance solutions control large numbers of people entering an area, but do not have sensors, and, thus, cannot alert security staff to a breach. Guard supervision is required for 24-hour monitoring.

Level 2: Deterrent

Full height turnstiles. Often used at the building perimeter, these full height barriers deter an active shooter as they are not easy to jump over or crawl under. However, due to a lack of sensors, two people are able to enter through the same compartment of the turnstile without sounding an alarm, and guard supervision is required for 24-hour monitoring.

Level 3: Detection

Optical turnstiles. Equipped with a sophisticated sensor system, optical turnstiles are able to detect a tailgating incident and sound an alarm to alert guard staff. It is important to note that upon valid authorization, the barriers of a turnstile will open and can allow a second person to rush through. Therefore, guard supervision is required for monitoring.

Level 4: Prevention

Security revolving doors and mantrap portals. Security doors are your ticket for true tailgating and piggybacking prevention, giving you the ability to eliminate or reallocate your existing guard staff. These solutions also provide rich metrics and allow security managers to accurately predict and quantify, with a low margin of error, their actual risk of infiltration. These solutions can also be outfitted with bullet-resistant glass, anti-piggybacking technology and support true two- or multi-factor authentication to provide a solid defense against infiltration by an active shooter.

A Proactive Approach is Best

If swinging doors alone are present in a building, the best physical security system will be ineffective at proactively preventing a security breach. Realistically, the vast majority of buildings are vulnerable to a security breach due to tailgating, so it’s not a matter of “if” there will be a next active shooter tragedy, it’s only a matter of “where.” Without the right planning and strategy (combining people, process and technology), you won’t help your clients prevent potentially fatal security perimeter breaches… only document them after the fact and endure the consequences.


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Security Specifier Blog List Image for Reducing an Organization's Risk and Liability by Addressing the Entry

Reducing an Organization's Risk and Liability by Addressing the Entry

Mitigating risk and liability starts with controlling access to the entry points of a facility. In fact, a regulated mandate that is of major concern to the security professional is the requirement to restrict physical access to a building. Several regulatory standards specifically call out tailgating as a clear violation of compliance.
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