Author: Joe Oliveri, Vice President, General Manager, Security, Johnson Controls’ Building Technologies & Solutions, North America
Published: Tue, Dec 4, 2018

Is your building prepared in the unfortunate case of an unexpected disaster? While it is impossible to prevent such events, it is important to focus on reducing vulnerabilities and ensure damages are as minimal as possible. This concept, known as ‘resiliency,’ has become significant for the security industry as a key goal is to help maintain and increase safety measures for different types of infrastructure.

The effectiveness of a resilient security strategy depends on its ability to anticipate, survive and recover from a disruptive event. Having an approach in place can help reduce the risk and the impact of an event and accelerate the recovery. As part of this process, a strong first step for owners and building managers is to conduct an assessment that outlines the unique challenges of their building spaces. Consider how the building is used, common points of stress due to high-trafficked areas, as well as the natural disasters that are mostly likely to occur in the area. It’s also crucial to keep up with technology and infrastructure upgrades.

Here are a few areas of consideration for building owners and managers to think about when developing a resiliency strategy that will help prepare their infrastructure for unexpected events efficiently and year-round:

Implement Intelligent Lighting Systems

Lighting plays an integral role during emergency situations, which can ultimately help improve a building’s resiliency. Because systems are already implemented throughout a building and the surrounding area, this existing infrastructure allows for smart improvements, such as networked LED lights, to be easily added in a cost-effective manner. Cameras, sensors and even gunshot detection devices can be installed on top of connected lights, expanding traditional lighting capabilities.

Utilize Voice-Enabled Fire Alarm Systems

Mass notification systems (MNS) can provide a multitude of benefits and can change the way information is communicated during an emergency. Beyond traditional MNS use cases such as text messages or alerts, a recent feature of an integrated MNS is a voice-enabled fire alarm system. In the case of an emergency, voice alarm systems can instantly broadcast information throughout a building and can be programmed to select exactly which speakers are used and what message is played on them. This can help to guide occupants to safety depending on where they are located.

Mitigate Security Vulnerabilities

When a natural disaster strikes, a building and its operations can be vulnerable to threats such as theft or intrusion. Having integrated security systems in place, including surveillance, access control and intruder detection, ensures that infrastructures are not taken advantage of in their most vulnerable state. For example, if a building closes as a precautionary measure during a natural disaster, security can oversee who enters the building and access remote video surveillance cameras in the area to ensure there is no suspicious behavior.

By keeping up with technology and necessary infrastructure upgrades, building owners and managers can take a proactive approach to improving the safety and comfort of its occupants in the wake of an unexpected threat. Having a resilient security strategy in place can help ease building owners’ peace of mind and ultimately minimize damage and speed up the recovery process.

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