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Panic Buttons - A False Sense of Security

The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with John Shales, Co-founder for BluePoint Alert Solutions following a recent meeting with the Director of Safety for a large school district.
“During my recent visit to a large school district, the Director of Safety shared a surprising discovery about their installed panic buttons.  Panic buttons are simple buttons mounted under the front-office staff desks at the entrances to his schools.  Each panic button is wired into a security panel and when activated, report out to police and security personnel.  To his disbelief, during a security test, many of panic buttons never sent a notification when activated.  Bottom line, the panic buttons were not even working.  And worse yet – no one knew they didn’t work!”

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.  Based on BluePoint’s staff research and first-hand evaluation of security systems across the country, most “traditional security systems” lack the features required for long term safety and security.

The Biggest Problem
The biggest problem: systems like “panic buttons” are typically not fully “supervised.” Code requirements for fire alarm demands that all components of the system be supervised – that is being monitored for operability.  Each device – pull station, detector, etc. - reports in frequently throughout the day.  If a device fails to check-in, the system reports a trouble signal typically to a central station and the facilities team.  If a strobe light gets a nick in a wire, the system detects and reports that.  If there is a power failure in the building, the system has complete and immediate battery back and reports a trouble signal for that too.  A fire alarm system is designed to be there when you need it!  BluePoint believes that security systems designed to protect people should be held to the same standards.

Fail Safe Communications 
Another common problem: redundant communications are lacking in simple security systems.  Not surprisingly, fire alarm systems are required to have redundant means of communicating an alarm signal to first responders or a trouble signal to facilities personnel.  Typically, the communications can take place via any two of the following:
  • an affordable, dedicated radio system,
  • a cellular card,
  • an internet service, or
  • a land line

The point is the system is designed to have two means of communicating the alarm or trouble signal at all times.  These lines of communication are monitored as well.  If one communication line goes down, the systems reports a trouble signal over the other line as means to alert people to the need for attention.  Like all of the other system components, the communications lines are battery backed-up.  In a time of panic, communication to the first responders is critical and deserving of redundancy.

High Standards, Reliable – True Life Safety
BluePoint Alert Solutions is designed to be reliable and meet the same high standards found in fire alarm codes.   BluePoint security and notification system leverages the best practices of the fire alarm systems like full supervision of all components and redundant communications.  BluePoint is the “true life safety solution” that ensures 24/7 security and is accessible facility-wide.

For more information about our solution, feel free to call him directly.  John Shales, Co-Founder, at 888-3258-3706 x703 or by email.



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