Intercom sysytem to improve school seciruty

Improving School Safety with Advanced Intercom Communication Systems

Discover the benefits of modern intercom communication systems for schools and how they contribute to effective emergency response and daily operations.

Recent trends have indicated a growing emphasis on enhancing security in school settings, especially for the safety of students, teachers, and staff within these facilities. A wide array of efficient security solutions can be utilized, whether for single buildings or large school districts with multiple campuses.

These solutions can be adapted across several types of school campuses, which often differ in size and scale depending on the level of education, including but not limited to primary schools, junior high schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. Further, these solutions are readily accessible to schools worldwide, making it beneficial for them to consider implementation despite their geographical location.

Current data suggests that major players in the school security market, like North America, are already leveraging the benefits of school security systems. Regions experiencing accelerated growth in educational markets, such as the Asia-Pacific with its rapidly expanding primary school market, can benefit from exploring the value that security systems can contribute to their campus.

The potential security solutions that schools can explore include reinforcing physical infrastructure, instituting an access control system, utilizing an intercom system, and many more. There are two levels to understanding these measures and how to implement them: entry security and communication systems.

Securing Entry Points at First Contact

Entrances are schools' initial point of contact, reflecting the need for immediate security. Although it is standard practice to lock front doors whenever possible, it may become increasingly difficult due to several factors, such as the arrival of tardy students and unexpected visits from parents, vendors, and delivery personnel. This inconvenience and the potential danger of interacting with unwelcome visitors indicate the importance of implementing security measures at school entrances.

Physical Infrastructure

The initial consideration that should be made concerns physical infrastructure, wherein selecting durable materials like steel or solid-core wood for front doors is of primary importance. If replacing glass front doors is not possible, schools should consider reinforcing them with stainless steel security screens or security film, as this will help prevent or delay unwanted outsiders' entry. Additionally, schools can benefit from outfitting front entrances with a vestibule or mantrap , which acts as an extra space between the front door and the school interior. Doing so effectively provides a secondary layer of physical protection in an emergency.

Closed glass front door at school

Aside from bolstering physical infrastructure, schools should install security solutions and related peripherals at entry points. A wide variety of security solutions can be utilized at entry points (e.g., an intercom system, surveillance cameras, visitor management systems).

Intercom System

The value of an effective intercom system for school entry points should not be understated, as it strengthens overall security and provides several advantages.

Video door station and master interocm station with monitor

Schools can use an intercom system with clear audio and video capability to enable safe yet distant two-way communication with visitors at the front doors. This can be achieved by installing video door stations outside entry points that are frequently used, ultimately allowing campus personnel to determine visitors' intent accurately. Meanwhile, an interior master station installed at a school's security office enables staff to (1) accurately identify visitors via image and conversation and (2) remotely grant access and unlock doors by pushing a single button. In an emergency or conflict with incoming visitors, such a system will allow students and school staff to remain safe behind locked doors.

An intercom system for schools is also advantageous as the video feature allows for an eye-level, detailed view of visitors. This is especially useful when requiring visitors to show photo identification at door station cameras, allowing security staff to accurately record, analyze, and verify visitor identities.

Surveillance System

Utilizing surveillance cameras at entry points is ideal for providing a broad live view. Through a master station at central offices, school staff can toggle between the broad surveillance camera view and the close-up perspective from the intercom system. The ability to easily switch between two points of view ultimately enhances security personnel's ability to monitor visitors. In addition, surveillance cameras are convenient as they provide video recordings and can easily be integrated with the school's security network.

Electromechanical Locks and IDs

A staff member is unlocking the door by holding a card against access control

Updating lock mechanisms at front doors is a significant consideration for security, as mechanical locks are no longer sufficient. Traditional locks present several security risks as they can be easily picked, and there is potential for keys to be lost, stolen, or copied.

Schools should instead install electromechanical locks with keypads or card/fob readers. A keyless access system such as electromechanical locks will only grant entry via personal identification numbers (PINs) or devices with authorized radio frequency identification (RFID) credentials. Electromechanical locks can be programmed to permit access based on a specific location, ensuring that employees and approved vendors can only enter through their designated doors.

In close relation, mandating standardized ID badges is another security measure that can improve safety as it indicates who belongs in the school. These ID badges can be differentiated depending on the user group, whether for students, teachers, or other relevant school staff. Employee ID badges can also double as access cards at entrances with electromechanical locks, providing quick entry and additional user convenience.

Visitor Management System (VMS)

Schools should consider implementing a VMS that utilizes electronic lists and temporary badges as an alternative to manual sign-ins and physical logs. This system requires visitors to provide a government-issued ID, which will be exchanged for a temporary access badge. Upon check-in, the ID information can also be cross-checked against campus watch lists and criminal databases, preventing the potential entry of dangerous individuals.

To properly integrate this process at schools, a VMS could be installed at vestibules where the security staff present can facilitate visitor check-in. Schools should remain mindful of other factors when installing a VMS, including terminals for user input, storage devices for user information, integration into the school's security network, etc.

Designing a Secure School Communication System

Apart from playing a critical role in securing entry points and front doors, an effective intercom system for schools is also important to ensure safety inside the campus. In creating an effective school communication system, several communication tools are utilized, each fulfilling a specific purpose to deliver a comprehensive security approach in emergency situations.

Audio Intercoms

Master intercom station with monitor and handset of IX system Sub intercom station with handsett of IX system

In any crisis, information and an effective school communication system are critical in keeping the campus safe, especially during natural disasters or unwanted intrusions by criminals. Here, audio intercom systems are the primary internal communication channel. This communication solution can promptly alert staff and students on what to do, initiate lock-down procedures, and facilitate room-to-room communication. When connected to a master station, office personnel can even monitor the specific location from which the audio intercom contact was initiated.

An audio intercom system as part of a school communication system can also bolster day-to-day operations. For instance, an intercom system can broadcast pre-planned announcements for important events or even be programmed to trigger bell schedules at regular intervals. Other uses include internal coordination between administrative offices and classroom teachers, where sensitive information, such as student disciplinary action, can be discussed. A teacher can utilize handsets built into the monitor stations for additional privacy.


Ceiling speaker for delivering messages Horn speaker for delivering messages

When installing speakers, the type of speaker installed is a major consideration. In offices, classrooms, hallways, stairwells, and other facilities (cafeteria, library, infirmary), overhead speakers are sufficient in delivering broadcasted messages. Meanwhile, external weatherproof horn speakers with louder, amplified audio are ideal for external facilities like playgrounds and athletic fields.

Help Stations & Panic Buttons

Video door station with emergency call buttont of IX system

Even with enhanced security at entry points, it would still be prudent for schools to employ further measures and procedures meant strictly for emergencies. An audio intercom system can also be designated as a help point in this context. These stations can enable two-way communication between the user and relevant parties at the central and security offices, ensuring prompt response and aid from campus personnel.

In addition, panic buttons can also be used to notify security and first responders of an emergency. These emergencies range from student medical injuries to general safety concerns, where immediate response is critical to safety and well-being. Panic buttons can be hardwired at specific locations throughout the campus, or wireless pendant versions can also be provided to teachers and staff.

Ensuring Proper Implementation of Security

Schools must leverage IP (Internet Protocol) technology to maximize the communication solutions deployed. With IP-based technology, schools can enjoy the advantages of entry security and communication tools throughout their campuses. Multiple buildings can be connected under a networked intercom system, reducing costs and avoiding potential workforce limitations.

Additionally, the system enables security to perform their duties efficiently, wherein personnel can identify visitors, communicate with users, and monitor surroundings from a central location. A mobile application connected to the primary system can also allow security to operate remotely while on patrol.

Whether for monitoring entry points or securing a school internally, the potential security measures discussed are undoubtedly effective. Although these systems are valuable individually, their impact on schools' safety is significantly greater when combined as security layers. To protect its students and campus, schools should immediately implement communication systems to enhance security.

Founded in 1948, Aiphone is an industry pioneer providing communication systems solutions to clients across the globe. With a strong presence in Asia (including Hong Kong, Indonesia), Australia, North America, and Europe (including the United Kingdom), Aiphone serves businesses across several sectors. Such experience has manifested in the versatile range of intercom solutions that can seamlessly integrate into various settings, such as apartment complexes, detached housing, and office buildings. Possessing over 70 years of industry expertise and over 30 standard communication system offerings, Aiphone services guarantee its customers' safety, security, and comfort.

Click here to learn more about how Aiphone and its communication system solutions can help you secure your school, enhance campus security, and protect students and teachers alike. For inquiries, please contact our inquiry desk, which you can access here.

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