Saving Minutes Saves Lives
Active shooter incidents are becoming an all too common occurrence. Unfortunately, they occur in places where people gather and where the shooter believes he can get the most attention. This means schools, churches, restaurants and bars are all likely venues.
When the shooting starts, the first response is to seek safety and get as far away from the shooter as possible. Law enforcement is typically not notified until five minutes after the first shot is fired, arriving almost 13 minutes later. Upon arrival, the first task is to obtain corroboration from multiple witnesses that are likely traumatized, maybe in shock and often with conflicting stories. Fully understanding the real situation before deploying is critical to survival for first responders. Once deployed, it takes an average of 12 minutes to confront and neutralize the shooter. All this time adds up.
FBI studies tell us that active shooters continue causing harm until confronted. Faster response ends the threat sooner and means fewer casualties.
Ending the threat sooner also significantly improves the survival chances of the victims. For every minute waiting for treatment, survival odds decrease by seven percent to 10 percent and the quality of life for the survivors is negatively impacted, as is the overall cost of recovery. EMS cannot enter a threat area. Ending the threat sooner means quicker treatment for the victims.
Amid all the chaos during one of these events, the only way to be certain that law enforcement is notified as soon as possible is by installing a fully automated gunfire detection system. An automated system will notify authorities immediately when a firearm is discharged, providing them with the location of the shooter, the type and caliber of the weapon and the number of shots fired. With this information, law enforcement can move directly to, and end, the threat immediately. They are notified earlier, respond sooner and can confront the shooter sooner as a result – often cutting as much as 50 percent off the time it would take without an automated system. EMS can now treat victims sooner, increasing their survival chances. These minutes are often the critical difference between survival and death.
There are many gunfire detection systems available. The best of these function without human intervention, notify authorities directly and provide alerts and updated information to key personnel. They also interface with existing door locking, alarm and CCTV systems to provide a complete emergency response solution. While these systems have been prohibitively expensive in the past, a new generation of products is now available that reduces costs by as much as 90 percent, making them much more affordable.
Besides the obvious safety factors, there are financial benefits to stakeholders that can be compelling reasons to install automated gunfire detection systems. Under the provisions of the SAFETY Act users of designated systems are afforded special protections that limit liabilities in the event of an act of terrorism. Specifically, the SAFETY Act sets a cap on potential liability. More and more liability insurance providers are asking customers to add additional insurance to cover these events. Many will provide significant discounts to owners of qualified detection systems. Often these discounts alone can nearly offset the initial system cost.