According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), hotel fires represent 1% of all structure fires. That may not sound like much, but it is; the NFPA goes on to say that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 3,520 structure fires in hotels and motels each year. In figures provided in 2015, these fires resulted in annual losses of 9 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries, and $84 million in direct property damage.

With that in mind, it’s safe to say that hotel fires happen frequently. So, how can a hotel notify guests on the property when a fire or other emergency is identified? Does the audible sound of the fire alarm suffice? Not always – and that’s why mass notification solutions are so important.

Mass Notification Options for Hotels

Hotels have several options when it comes to mass notification of emergencies. They include:

Text notifications: Deploying personal alerts to guests’ wireless devices is a emerging as a popular mass notification solution. A scripted message can be deployed, with evacuation instructions and an assurance that guests will be notified again when it is safe to re-enter the property. Although the scripted messages can be stored as templates, there is also the capability to alter the message to address the specifics of the event.

Social media: Although social media is a broader platform that may invite outside responses, some hospitality establishments find it to be an effective mass notification tool that can supplement text notifications (which do not allow guests to reply). If your establishment is a good fit for utilizing social media notifications via targeted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, consider utilizing a secondary method as well.

Audio notifications: An audio notification that emanates throughout the property can be a way to instantaneously reach everyone who is on the premises. In the event of a fire, it may indeed be the fastest way to reach everyone, particularly if the property caters to an older clientele that may not own smartphones or be familiar with their use. In the instance of a violent attacker on the premises, mass notification via audio notification can be even more valuable. Deploying an audible lockdown message can ensure everyone retreats to the safety of designated areas or uses instructed exits for evacuation.

No matter what mass notification method a hotel property uses, the content of the notification matters. It is critical that the establishment has protocols in place that ensure message content is accurate, instructional and straightforward. The goal is to notify guests, not confuse them. To discuss mass notification systems for hotels, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to answer your questions.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential, commercial and hotel security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Catching shoplifters is costly and dangerous according to experts, and is a that liability retailers should avoid. But loss due to shoplifting costs retailers $44 billion annually and is certainly a problem that should be addressed. Experts in the science of crime say the best course of action is to concentrate heavily on deterrence.

Criminals Assess Risk Differently

Do not expect to understand the criminal mind. Even more importantly, do not base your security strategies on what you think they are thinking– because it just won’t work. Criminals do not assess risk the same way as others and what risk they do measure is countered with whatever the perceived advantage in addition to the momentary value, which can include “the thrill of the get”. Criminologists explain that the criminal must “see, get, fear” deterrents— that is they must see them, understand what they do and fear that they work well enough to land them in jail.

Why Deterrence is So Important

Ask any retailer, catching a shoplifter is a lot more difficult than what most people may think. If you suspect a shoplifter, you must have eyes on them from beginning to end and then apprehend them at the last point of sale, or outside the building. Once confronted, the person can become violent and the situation turns dangerous. When you factor in additional costs and risks such as liability issues it is easy to see why a healthy objective would be to deter as much crime as possible in the first place.

2 Important Ways to Thwart Theft

There are two important ways to deter theft. One is by making it too difficult by the use of things like by making it difficult to take an item without notice, such as alarming displays or having the item close to store personnel. The second is by making it too risky by using things like video surveillance and CCTV and having employees make personal contact with each shopper.
These tactics may seem simplistic, but they work with human nature. Criminals know that once they are seen and that eyes are on them it is game over because they are certain to be caught.

The most effective crime deterrent is owning the crime prevention process and fully leveraging security technologies such as video surveillance and CCTV. Security Instrument has been equipping companies since 1960 and understands the retail environment.

Facilities such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have some important commonalities when it comes to security issues. They are all busy, serve alcohol, have high customer turnover, high employee turnover and are heavy on cash transactions. These factors all necessitate special security camera considerations, unlike those of other commercial facilities. Having a security system is really not enough. You must have one with the right technologies and components, and then optimize it for the greatest advantage in your specific facility, meeting your unique needs.

If you have a high-traffic venue with heavy cash transactions, consider these valuable tips to boost your security.

Convert to IP or Megapixel  Security Cameras

Businesses such as restaurants and bars deal in large sums of cash and most of them have security cameras monitoring cash handling areas. To have a clear enough picture to consistently ensure that cash is handled properly, use IP or megapixel security cameras which provide the highest resolution possible. HD security cameras are also valuable in aiding law enforcement in facial recognition in the event of a crime.

Pro Tip: Never compromise your security. Always use professionally designed and installed security camera systems, specifically designed your needs.


Get the Whole Picture

In busy establishments, it is important to capture the whole picture. Rather than a multitude of fixed security cameras, consider installing a Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) camera, which can be controlled to cover areas of interest or a 360° camera which can capture all the action without lapses or limitations in the field of vision.

Protect Your Liquor License and in Litigation

Whenever alcohol is served there is the potential for individuals to become less in control, and combative. The industry is rife with claims of slip and fall, assault, or having been over-served and the resulting litigation is costly to the point of jeopardizing even larger businesses.

Equip your facility with enough cameras that you can cover such things as entrances and exits, the condition of floors, and provide a full view of visitors. This will provide verifiable proof of when patrons enter and in what condition. It will also verify the condition of the facility or participants in altercations.

Equip the Security Camera System for Low Light Conditions

The lighting conditions in bars and nightclubs can be challenging and can impact the quality of your security camera footage. To avoid this problem, use cameras that are designed for day and night usage and ones equipped with infrared technologies. Cameras that are ill-fit for the lighting conditions cannot provide the results you might need for confirming activities.

Opt into Remote Monitoring Smart Security Camera Systems

The nature of the job keeps owners and managers busy, and sometimes off premises. Smart security systems provide remote viewing capabilities so you can (nearly) be two places at once. This can allow you to address issues in real-time, even when you are attending to other business matters outside of the facility. This also allows you to view and manage more than one facility at once.

About Security Instrument 

Never compromise your security. Always use professionally designed and installed security camera systems, specifically designed your needs. Security Instrument Corp serves thousands of customers throughout DE, MD, NJ, and PA with advanced security solutions.


Students are returning to school soon, so now is the time to re-assess your security practices to improve campus safety. With fewer staff and students, it’s easier to evaluate what’s working and not working with your security plan. Here are three successful security protocols to consider implementing if they aren’t already in place.

Upgrade Inexpensive Security Equipment

Some security repairs and upgrades aren’t as expensive as you think. Functional lighting is critical to campus security. Check all of the lighting on campus around pedestrian sidewalks, buildings, and parking garages and lots.

Also, make sure to upkeep the landscaping properly. Overgrown bushes and trees create perfect hiding places for criminals, and if the lighting is out in these areas, it’s very unsafe.

Dormitory Security

Many sexual assaults, thefts, and robberies happen in or around dormitories. Ensure that all door locks work and that the entries are protected. Add video intercoms so that students and RA’s can visually verify the identity of visitors before letting them into the dorm. Consider adding emergency stations around the dorms so that students can report crimes in progress or emergencies quickly.

Evaluate Areas Where People Can Use a Vehicle as a Weapon

Criminals often utilize vehicles as weapons. Installing concrete or metal bollards prevents  someone from crashing into a crowd of people or a building. These barriers can be designed as concrete planters with flowers in them as well as trashcans or benches.

Put up specialized fencing made from the same material used to stop jets when they land on aircraft carriers. These cables can withstand a large truck driving 50 mph. Line the roadways with this fencing to keep vehicles on the road.

Collaborate with local and campus police to identify problem areas that need attention. Ask for their advice on what’s wrong and what’s changed since they patrol the campus every day. They can provide great advice and work with your security integrator to develop the best safety plan for the school.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

The end of summer for college students is near, and soon your campus will be filled with thousands of students, faculty, and staff to protect. School threats are on the rise across America. Universities, colleges, and K-12 schools practice fire drills and prepare for health-related incidents and natural disasters but are they prepared for active shooter events? Being proactive instead of reactive is critical when you’re confronted with an active shooter situation.

Plan and Train for Active Shooter Incidents

Most schools don’t think it can happen to them, but that’s not true. Look at Sandy Hook, for example. Who would think that an active shooter would target an elementary school? There are usually no warning signs before an active shooter incident.

Your priority is to train your staff to act swiftly during violent incidents. The more you train, the more prepared they’ll be when confronted with an active shooter or similar event.

Collaborate with local law enforcement and fire and rescue as they will be responding to these types of incidents. Working together with first responders allows everyone to work together without interfering in law enforcement duties and responsibilities. The whole process will work smoother without interference.

Integrating Technology with a Security Plan

There are a couple of ways to integrate technology with your security plan to increase your ability to manage or prevent active shooter incidents. Gunfire detection technology is an excellent security addition. Microphone sensor nodes in these systems detect gunshots and can lock doors and activate surveillance cameras in the area. They immediately send alerts and live video feed to law enforcement and security personnel.

Mass notification systems are also critical to efficiently notify people in the system of incidents in progress. These systems are much more efficient than other communication methods.

Access control is also a key security system to integrate with the rest of your security equipment. It can prevent a shooter from entering buildings, reducing casualties. It’s not hard to install and cost-effective. Access control also minimizes perimeter breaching.

The crucial take away from all of this is to prepare and plan for the inevitable. It can happen to your campus.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

In 2015, there were 371 mass shootings in the United States. Mass shooting incidents are difficult to plan for because they happen in seconds, and no business, university campus, or municipality is the same. Technology now has an excellent solution to locate active shooters so that law enforcement and first responders can stop the threat sooner and render aid to victims.

Gunshot Detection Basics

This technology certainly isn’t new. In fact, the government researched gunfire detection in World War I. However, the technology has vastly improved the system’s sensors.

The system alerts authorities in seconds to dramatically reduce response time to active shooter incidents. Gunshot detection analytics use microphone sensor nodes to detect gunfire. Once the analytics detect gunshots, they can also automatically activate surveillance cameras to live-stream video of the event. The system then immediately sends the information to law enforcement and security personnel.

Some of these systems send the information to a command center where experts verify the audio in seconds. In other systems, the analysis of the audio happens right inside the sensor node.  Some vendors that supply the technology claim that the system is so sensitive that it can identify the type of firearm. It can also detect the number of shots fired.

There are four primary types of gunshot detection systems:

  • Mobile
  • Fixed
  • Outdoor
  • Indoor

Benefits of Gunshot Detection Analytics

Safety directors say that the technology has drastically changed how they respond to incidents involving active shooters. Staff and employees receive alerts from the system much faster than alarm activations or phone calls. As a result, the response time for law enforcement and security personnel has significantly decreased.

Some cities find the system useful for more than just mass shooting incidents. Information received from these systems led to the investigation and arrest of a man who possessed a firearm illegally and had outstanding warrants for his arrest. The data these systems provide is invaluable.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

In today’s school security climate, many administrators assume that faculty and staff will intuitively respond appropriately to an emergency. However, this is not a wise assumption. When the pressure is on because of a viable threat, school employees need a clear set of guidelines to follow – and these guidelines should be implemented long before the emergency happens. This summer, school administrators can prepare for a potential emergency by taking the following three out-of-the-box approaches.

1. Train Them to Use Equipment

When new security equipment is installed, administrators are not the only ones who need to be trained in its use. Schools can hold an in-service day with faculty and staff that trains them on the way video surveillance systems, access control systems and alarms around the campus work. When equipment has been in place for years but is currently being upgraded, that is also a great time for staff to be trained. The knowledgeable technicians of your security integrator can assist with this training.

2. Hold Demo Days and Drill

Just as the students are trained to react via fire drills, faculty and staff can be trained to react to a security emergency via mock incidents that cover a variety of potential scenarios. During these drills, equipment that should be demoed includes the following: the mass notification system to rehearse how the lead will communicate to the campus during the emergency, the electronic locks to mimic a lockdown of the campus, and the alarm system to prepare for how the audible alarms will be used in a given emergency scenario. By understanding how the equipment will operate in an emergency, faculty can be more mentally prepared when seconds count.

3. Designate Points, Prepare to Train Students

Around the campus, there are places that can be official safe zones – for example, classrooms that can be designated as places for students to barricade themselves in the event of an emergency. These places should be communicated to faculty during summer security training, and this information can then be passed down to students once classes begin. Students should engage in drills as early as possible in the school year, so they can be aware of security protocols from the beginning of the school year on.

By getting serious about school security during the summer, campus faculty can be better prepared when it matters most. To speak with an experienced security integrator that can help, contact Security Instrument.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous options to mitigate school emergencies in Delaware. We serve thousands of electronic security customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

School’s out for summer, but the work goes on for administrators who are on duty year-round. One of the most important things school administrators can do during the summer months is fine tune their school security policies. When partnering with the security integrators who are contracted to do the work, school administrators can update security policy for the benefit of the students and staff alike. Here are some ways to get started.

1. Schedule a Campus Risk Assessment 

During the summer break, administrators can hold a risk assessment for the school campus that involves looking at the expected enrollment for the next year – and, takes into account any changes that may have occurred over the past school year in terms of class sizes, staff turnover, or security-specific events.

2. Focus on Best Practices

Today’s best practices call for layers of security on campus, in order to inhibit potential criminals from entering classroom buildings. For example: Limiting visitors to a single point of entry into the main building, and ensuring that all fences, gates and even signage around campus funnels the incoming traffic to that single entry point. Another example is to implement electronic measures such as electronic locks and mass notification systems.

3. Consider Additional Measures

Access control systems are not just for private corporations; they are also for school campuses – public, private and charter alike. With an access control system, students and staff are required to swipe a simple credential (perhaps their school-issued ID card) in order to be granted entry by the electronic portal.

Campus risk assessment can include determining which outdoor points need added cameras to ensure all-points surveillance on campus. It can also involve determining which indoor areas need surveillance, such as stairwells and locker rooms.


4. Take the Measures to Another Level

With an access control system, schools can keep watch lists for administrators to record the names of potential unwanted visitors. This list can include disgruntled ex-employees, non-custodial parents of students, and personal friends of students who have no reason to be on campus.

5. Implementing or Enhancing Video Surveillance

The time for all schools to implement video surveillance systems is now. For campuses that already have camera systems, enhancing them is a measure that can also take place over the summer. For example, the campus risk assessment can include determining which outdoor points need added cameras to ensure all-points surveillance on campus. It can also involve determining which indoor areas need surveillance, such as stairwells and locker rooms.

Summer is undoubtedly the perfect time of year to fine tune school security. For questions on these security policy updates or inquiries about additional measures, contact Security Instrument for a complimentary campus assessment.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We understand school security in Delaware, and we serve thousands of customers throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

When school is out for the summer, that’s when large campuses can turn their focus to developing a security plan for the coming school year. It’s a challenge, but a necessary endeavor.

Because campuses range in size, population, number of buildings and amount of open space, there is no one-size-fits-all model for securing them. But by taking a multi-layered approach, a school’s security department can determine which types of security can best work for the campus’s needs.

Layer #1: Address Immediate Needs

Many times, campuses address their security plans after a recent threat. If that is the case, then the first order of business is to examine whether there are any measures that could have prevented the incident, electronic or otherwise. Often, these measures include better security at the entry point that was used to gain access to the campus.

Layer #2: Identify Other Campus Security Challenges

If there is no recent security incident, then the next step is to reflect on other campus security challenges. What types of incidents present themselves on the campus? The security department should pull all available reports to find out which campus security violations occur the most often.

Because campuses range in size, population, number of buildings and amount of open space, there is no one-size-fits-all model for securing them.

Layer #3: Identify Problem Locations

Where do those violations occur? Do most of the burglaries occur in dorm rooms or classrooms? Do most of the assaults take place behind buildings or in parking lots? Knowing the answers to these questions will help the department determine where cameras should be monitoring the premises.

Layer #4: Consider Outside Traffic

How often do students leave campus, and what are the outside establishments they frequent? Are there policies in place to limit visitors – especially in the evening? Updating the security plan is the perfect occasion for adding or adjusting visitor policies.

Layer #5: Ask Your Integrator for Advice

When a campus is working with an experienced security integrator, that external perspective can prove to be highly valuable. An outside consultant brings a fresh eye to a project that day-to-day security staff may overlook, with insights on where additional trouble spots may be.

Sometimes, updating the campus security plan is a reality check on the school’s risks and vulnerabilities. Regardless, it’s work that must be done in order to provide students and staff with the safest environment possible. To speak with an experienced security integrator about this, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to meet you for a complimentary campus security assessment.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous home security options. We are a Delaware Valley security company that serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Facilities around America are throwing away their old lock-and-key systems in favor of digital access control systems that allow for keyless entry into their buildings. In fact, 56% of the global workforce has shifted to wireless access for employees. Is it because wireless access control is more convenient? Safer? Unquestionably, it’s both.

Cloud Access Control Explained 

Electronic access control uses cloud-based systems that supply or deny access to employees, vendors and other authorized people at an organization. At the facility’s entry points – most commonly, doors and gates – the user interfaces with a station that requires them to swipe a credential to gain access.

The credential may be a card, a key fob or some other connected device the user carries on them. If desired, the credential can even be a code on the user’s smartphone. Whatever credential an organization chooses to use, cloud access control is a convenient way for employers to streamline their building security and grant access to employees without accounting for keys.

Other than the stations that are installed at the doors, access control systems require no additional installation. They utilize standard internet communications protocols and can leverage existing WiFi or Ethernet infrastructure of the site.

The stations are managed via a web browser, allowing the authorized administrator of the facility to maintain the system easily through the subscriber portal. If an organization has an information technology department, that is where the access control system can be managed. Site managers, facility managers and other types of administrators are also good candidates for managing the access control system.

Deactivating Access in the Cloud 

During the time someone is employed at an organization, they will access the building via their activated access control credential. But what happens when that person leaves the job? If someone is terminated or leaves the organization of their own volition, the employer simply deactivates the access device via a web-based program.

Although employers should require the departing staff member to turn in the credential before leaving, cloud access control provides a safety net in the event of employees leaving under surprising or suspicious circumstances. If someone leaves the organization under the radar and takes their access control credential with them, the cloud-based model allows the employer to deactivate the credential digitally – which means it won’t work if the ex-employee ever tries to use it again.

If you wish to learn more about cloud access control as a way to update your organization’s building security, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to schedule a complimentary security evaluation of your site and discuss your access control options.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous options for homes and businesses, including access control. A Delaware-based company, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.