Access control systems refer to systems that are used to minimize and eliminate security risks for individuals or businesses/ organizations by regulating who or what has access to the resources of the organization. Access controls systems are typically subdivided into two major categories namely logical access control systems which limit connections by unauthorized users to data, computer networks, and system files and physical access control systems which limit access to facilities such as buildings, rooms and many more.
The system should ideally authenticate and authorize users and entities by assessing a user’s login credentials and other authentication factors and then granting or denying them access to the restricted areas. Over the years, access control has gained a lot of popularity because they have the capability to not only protect a physical property and remove menaces associated with traditional key and lock systems, but they can also save lives. Access controls are loaded with unique features that can be used to save lives by entirely eliminating the threat or minimizing the threat with minimal loss of lives.
Features of Access Control Systems That Help Save Lives
Photo notifications: Some access systems usually give notifications that show individuals photos/details as they pass through restricted areas and as such it is easy to detect trespassers/ unauthorized individuals who may have the intention of causing harm. The photo notification will typically indicate the access card number, the photo, and name of the authorized bearer and an icon in lieu of the facility.
Lockdown mode: Most access control systems usually equipped with lockdown mode which bars users from accessing one, some or all the entrances and exits in case of an emergency. Usually, the lockdown mode will remain in place, and only a valid master card or an uplift of the lockdown mode will grant access to the lockdown. While lockdowns may be a difficult feature to implement, it is a feature that has the ability to save lives because should an intruder finds their way into the premise; individuals are able to protect themselves until the situation is handled.
Call up live video: this is a feature that allows for the access control systems that have been integrated with a video surveillance system to call up live video feeds should an alarm go off within a premise. In such a situation, the live video feed can be used to locate the intruders or the victims and as such an action plan to quell the situation with minimal lives being lost can be formulated and executed.
Custom reports: Control systems allow for the generation of different kinds of reports such as; the history of who opened a door at a particular time, or instances when someone was attempting to forcefully open the door or when the door was opened for too long. The reports which are automatically emailed to the designated users on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis can be used to detect activity which is out of the norm or can be considered suspicious. If an anomaly Is detected, it is possible to avert threats before they occur and as such, save the lives of many individuals.
Automatically open and close doors: access control systems usually function under a set of rules that have been set by a user/manager. It is possible to lock and unlock doors automatically, which means that in the event of a threat, the doors can either be opened or shutdown instantly depending on the circumstances. For example, with the recent increase of shooting incidences on school premises, schools with access control systems can automatically shut down doors and keep intruders out and as such save lives.
Custom alarm notification: This is another great feature of access control systems, that works perfectly towards facilitating the saving of lives during an incident. Some systems allow for users to customize the alarms notification sounds so that it is possible to differentiate between life threating situations that require urgent response vs. events that are non-life threatening. It is possible also to customize the system to send out email notifications to the relevant parties for the different sound notifications when they go off. In doing so, first responders, policemen or even the fire department can be reached quite easily as they receive the notification even if they are not on the premise.
Revoking/allowing access: Often with most systems, it is possible to set up a start and end date on the access cards that will grant and revoke access into the premise. However, it is possible to deny access midway through this period in the event that a pass is lost or copied for malicious use. By doing so, saving lives becomes possible as unauthorized individuals are denied access. With this same feature, it is possible to customize the level of access that different individuals receive, which can then be adjusted for a specific time of day, day of the week, and even holidays.
Access control systems are integral for protection and security as they facilitate the process of keeping occupants, tenants, and assets safe.
The ability of these systems to save lives depends on the type of systems that have been put in place as well as its purpose. Different access control systems have different functionalities and capabilities, and in order to save lives, it is vital that you evaluate the right level of access required for different parts of a building. Other important things that one must consider when it comes to access control and its ability to save lives is the installation and maintenance.
Access control systems are typically used for a long period of time before they are changed or replace, and it is, therefore, important that they are properly installed and tested when they are first put up, and they are also regularly maintained to ensure they are functioning correctly without any problems. As access control systems are the first line of defence in the event of a security breach, it is only right that their functionality is verified during installation and maintenance.