Active shooter technology has become a valuable tool that many security professionals are giving more consideration to, in light of the gun violence tragedies we see in our society on a regular basis. It’s important for security, facilities and IT directors to become familiar with active shooter technology to fully understand how it can be deployed, and how it benefits their company, employees and assets.

Referred to as gunshot analytics, this emergency technology often includes integrations between different security systems to quickly alert and protect people in an active shooter or armed robbery situation.

Picture this: someone walks into an office building with a firearm. Upon discharge of a weapon, the active shooter software’s sound detector picks up that incident and a map of the facility pops up on each associates’ monitor, while simultaneously alerting central station, for an immediate police dispatch. The monitor shows what part of the building the shooter occupies. As the person moves throughout the building and fires more shots, the map updates in real time. The system alerts people of the danger, while giving them instant updates to choose the safest course of action. Depending on their location in relation to the gunman, this might mean hiding, and locking down a classroom, or fleeing altogether.

What’s interesting about this technology is it can be linked to other systems, such as an access control and video system, to further ensure optimal safety. The moment the weapon is discharged, a building can go into automatic lockdown mode either by zone, floor or include the entire building. This response requires no human intervention.

In addition, active shooter technology can help create an access plan that makes use of cameras, audio detection and access controls using key cards and pin pads. This can include syncing with law enforcement to create a plan that is automatically carried out to the best of your system’s ability, in tandem with human responses.

No one wants to believe an incident would happen at their own facility, but security professionals must be realistic and face the challenges head-on by putting both security and safety technology into place and practicing responses.

Discreet in appearance, the technology can work in a variety of vertical markets, including providing full coverage for a large office complex to helping protect a defined high-risk area such as a hospital emergency room or a high-end retail store.

In a situation with an armed robber, the setup might look a little different. If someone enters the store and discharges a weapon, the software can automatically alert a security operations center or central station. The home office can alert all other stores in the chain of the potential danger, and contact police directly. The gunshot alert can also trigger video cameras, making it possible for a central station to see what is happening immediately.

When determining what active shooter technology is the right choice, an end user will have to evaluate several factors, including risk management, return on investment and budget. It comes down to whether or not an end user is willing to spend the money to implement the software and if they don’t, how vulnerable that leaves them. The investment can depend on how many detectors are needed and whether the system includes software mapping capabilities.

Remember, knowledge is the first step in preventing a tragedy.