15 Jul 2019

SPC: Protecting staff under duress

Staff protection is a critical priority for all businesses. But some sectors need to provide their staff with more protection than others.

For instance, financial institutions like banks, post offices, and credit unions can be under threat from break-ins and robberies. While other areas, such as 24-hour fuel stations or factories, have staff on premises working throughout the night. Therefore, if a robbery was to occur during these unorthodox working times, it is vital that the alarm can be raised, and help can be provided immediately.

Traditionally the method for signaling a threat was a member of staff would trigger a silent alarm that would be reported to police, or staff would enter a unique duress code. These code option and the silent panic/hold up are available on the SPC system.That said, an often-reported issue with duress codes is that adding a one-to-four-digit number can be challenging to perform when you are under pressure. 

Vanderbilt's SPC

However, Vanderbilt’s SPC intrusion system has several features that help protect staff. One such feature is the “All okay” function. Simply put, this is a step that staff can perform to signal everything is “okay” when the SPC system is unset. The nice thing about this is that SPC allows this “All okay” signal to be almost anything. Additionally, you can add multiple elements that will trigger the signal.

The SPC system can be configured to have this functionality for specific areas and the time and action can be defined for what will happen if the signal is not given. Any input or zone can be used.

SPC: How it works

For example, at a bank, if the manager arrives early, he uses his card to gain access to the branch office and PIN to disarm the alarm. His code disarms the office and secure area but the ATMs, vaults, and safe deposit boxes remain armed. A Central Monitoring Station (CMS), is alerted to the early entry. 

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They need to know whether the entry is routine or under duress. The monitoring station views the manager in live video as he executes a predetermined security procedure and until he hits an “All Okay” button. If there is a problem, a silent duress alarm is automatically sent. The monitoring station listens in and if necessary calls the police. The core element here is that it is easy for staff to remember not to perform an action and also more natural.

How to deploy it

To configure the “All Okay” function from the web interface, firstly enter full engineer mode and select “Configuration.” Then select “Areas” and choose the area you wish to use the “All Okay” functionality on. Find the section marked “All Okay.” This section has three settings:

  1. On/Off
  2. The Time in which the signal must be given: This is set initially at default 20 seconds but increase the time if you feel staff may require more time.
  3. The Action: This is what the system will do if no signal is given. There are three options: Panic, Panic Silent, and Duress. The Duress and Panic Silent are both silent alarms. However, the Panic option will trigger bells, so be aware of this.

This completes the configuration that a signal is required. Next, you must configure the device on where to provide the signal from. Within SPC, there is a zone type “All Okay” that can be used to signal. Note, the area must be the same as the area configured above. The indication module in flexible mode can use any of the four buttons to signal that all is okay, and the critical position on the key switch can also be used.

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