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When the topic of school security crops up, in the light of current U.S. events, chances are your mind immediately jumps to security as it relates to school shootings. However, school security envelopes a much broader scope. Long before school shootings became a weekly media story, security measures have been used here in Atlanta, GA, for adjuvant purposes. At Downs Security Solutions, two security measures we’ve found to have far-ranging applications in this arena are access control and magnetic door locks.

There’s so much more to school security than being sure doors are locked, although this aspect certainly comes into play here as well. Breaking it down to its most basic, these days educators and facilitators require identifying and managing students/faculty/visitors, and safeguarding confidential and sensitive materials. Of course, these two sweeping categories encompass many smaller requirements and needs, so to keep it simpler, let’s just explore the two broad needs in regard to access control and magnetic door locks.

Access Control

Security equipment and services reached $2.7 billion in revenue here in the U.S. in 2017, and the market’s projected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2021, according to IHS Markit. As part of this market, access control is one of the top security technologies utilized in schools, with good reason. Within a building or campus, it can regulate any person’s movement––where he or she has permission to go. This can be highly effective when used correctly. Different control systems, like keypads, swipe cards, fingerprint or retinal scans, can be utilized at almost any point of entry, enabling efficacious protection.

Pros

This type of credentialing is highly effective to both managing the GPS of people and protecting materials as needed. Whether they be students, faculty, or visitors, people are denied access to areas unless they’ve been electronically approved. When approved users are trained on and utilizing the system correctly, any unwanted visitors cannot gain access inside a building or area, keeping whatever is being protected safe. Also, electronic logs with details of who goes where when are kept. This type of surveillance can be highly useful in many scenarios, both when used and when reviewing.

Cons

One of the primary drawbacks to access control is really the same one that can be applied to any security system. It has to be used appropriately and as intended to work. If someone entering a building who has approved access doesn’t close the door immediately behind himself or herself, another person who isn’t approved can sneak in on the entrant’s heels. So deliberate and thorough training is always recommended with the implementation of any security system.

Magnetic Door Locks

Magnetic door, or electromagnetic, locks can be a highly successful tool in a security system, like with access controls. Our professional locksmiths install, repair, and maintain these locks in many scenarios, and schools requests are growing weekly. As its name implies, this locking device relies on the use of magnetism to lock and unlock a door. This force is one of the Earth’s basic and strongest forces, creating a force in the locking action that keeps a door locked even under stress.

There are several types of magnetic locks available, each with its own holding-force capacity. These type of locks are very different than the aftermarket magnetic strips that seem to be cropping up everywhere for school use. These magnetic strips should not be confused with security magnetic locks, as their efficacy can be questioned in varying scenarios and many violate fire and life safety codes. If you have any questions regarding our magnetic door locks, call and speak with one of our certified security locksmiths.

Pros

An advantage to this type of lock is its strength. Depending on the lock installed, it’s resistant to high levels of stress. Another advantage is its ease and versatility of installation. It can be installed on most types of materials––aluminum, wood, steel––from which most doors and gates in schools are predominantly fabricated. And yet another advantage to this type of lock is its cost-effectiveness. Comparing it to other types, it’s either less than or comparable to in pricing.

Cons

Again, if users of these locks aren’t trained and using them correctly, like anything else they can’t be used to their potential. Another drawback or con to this type of lock is that a magnetic door lock needs continual power to stay closed to keep the circuit closed. If the power is cut in any way––power outage without a backup generator, visible cable cut––the door will open. Of course, this can be circumvented by utilizing a generator and burying the cables.

School systems are seeking higher security measures than in the past to help protect both their people and materials inside from unwanted access. School shootings, bullying, record hacking, document theft––all growing reasons for this trend. At Downs Security Solutions, we offer the highest technology and experience in security, especially in the ever-growing areas of access control and magnetic door locks. Our expert professionals would be happy to speak with you at any time. Feel free to call us at 404-873-2515.

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