There’s no doubt about it – implementing an access control system provides an immediate and enormous improvement in facility security, safety, and accountability.
In fact, access control is one of a handful of safety and security related systems that provide essential functions for a facility and the organization(s) within, not to mention any visitors or suppliers. Some other beneficial systems include video surveillance, identity management, visitor management, panic triggers, communications, and mass notification.
In too many instances, the problem that we notice with these beneficial systems is that they were installed at different times, with different objectives, and they continue to operate relatively independently. In the event of an emergency, the responding staff needs to quickly and effectively collect and interpret the important information from the data of each system, and then take actions that could use these systems to respond. The truth is that even in cases where the SOPs are up to date and accurate, the pressure and stress of an actual event make it very questionable whether personnel can perform these tasks effectively.
Improving Outcomes with Access Control Integration
How can we ensure that responders are in the best possible position to react quickly and effectively in the case of an emergency?
One key is to rethink the traditional approach of using systems that are designed to stand alone, and to support well-defined routine processes. In the event of an emergency, such systems are not equipped to provide guidance or coordination, just when the organization and the situation needs them most.
In our view, the best way to proceed would be to follow these steps:
- Integrate Related Systems
Why should your staff be tasked with pulling together the important information in the middle of a crisis? It makes much more sense to have the systems themselves integrated to provide a unified, clear status at all times, which is the only way to be ready to respond to an unexpected event. Thus, it’s imperative to implement an access control solution that is ready to be integrated with every other related system to gather information and inputs, as well as to provide notifications, guidance, and information to the designated personnel as part of the response. Maxxess eFusion, for example, has more than 60 off-the-shelf integrations with leading market offerings – and is ready to put those integrations into service today!
- Focus on Communication
Getting real-time input is critical to confirm or clarify an emergent situation, and the only way to do that is to be closely connected with your people on the scene. Likewise, knowing the right actions to take is pointless unless you can get that direction out to the people who are in the position to take those actions. Look hard at adding communication functions that can be integrated with your access control system, and make sure you have the right solutions for your situation – whether that’s apublic address system or apps that reside on the staff’s smart phones. Make sure the communication functions can be tailored to match your specific needs, and they are easy to understand and use. Maxxess offers communication platforms for seamless integration with access control and other security systems.
- Build Accountability into Your Solution
Emergencies are unwelcome, but statistics prove that every organization will experience them at some point in time. With this in mind, two questions arise:
- Will your organization respond efficiently and effectively?
- Will your organization recover quickly and learn from what could be lasting repercussions?
Learning can range from recognizing the need for additional training to confirming that the correct actions were taken. Any access control solution should capture and retain sufficient auditable records to provide a clear picture of the situation as it developed, the actions taken, and what information was provided to whom, in case it is needed for confirmation, investigations or normal reporting.
Don’t wait to find out if your organization is ready to handle an emergency – the best time to prepare is now. Even if you already have an access control system installed, integrating its automatic capabilities with human capabilities, strengths of observation and the ability to initiate action puts personnel in a much stronger position to deliver a powerful, comprehensive response when an emergency arrives. Or even better, it can assist in responding to smaller events that can be managed before they grow into larger, more costly problems.
Put the best combination of automated access control and people-power to work in your facility! Contact us for a no-obligation, no-cost evaluation of your situation.