Below is an article written by Chuck Fieldman of the Chicago Tribune about the new security upgrades for entry into 9 Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 schools. Mr. Fieldman details Pentegra Systems’ integrated security solution, which District 181 refers to as “double buzzer systems.” Visitors to the schools will still walk into an unlocked door and into a vestibule where he or she will then have to be buzzed in by a school employee. However, an additional layer of security is being added where he or she will then have to be buzzed in from inside the office to then gain access into the school itself. This project will be completed over winter break and be up and running by the time the students return in January.
Workers from Pentegra Systems work on installation of the new double-buzzer entry system at Oak School. (Chuck Fieldman/Pioneer Press)
Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 is adding a layer of security for entry into its nine school buildings.
“We’ve been calling it a double-buzzer system,” said Bridget McGuiggan, the district’s communications director and chairman of the district’s Safety & Crisis Committee.
Visitors to district school buildings now may enter an unlocked door into a vestibule, but must be buzzed into the office by a secretary or another school employee.
That protocol will remain. However, the new system also will require an office staff member to buzz visitors out of the office in order to get into other parts of the building.
“In some cases, parents may be coming to drop something off, a lunch or musical instrument, for example,” McGuiggan said. “In those cases, they can drop those items off in the vestibule and don’t need to enter the rest of the building.”
The committee considered requiring a staff member to buzz visitors from outside into the vestibules, McGuiggan said.
“We don’t want to make parents stand out in the elements, and I don’t know it would add substantially to the security when they already aren’t able to get into the office without being buzzed in,” she said. “Safety is the priority, and we are being proactive with that, but we want to be as welcoming as we can be, too.”
Representatives from the Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills and Burr Ridge police departments served on the committee.
Along with the additional hardware needed for the new buzzer system, main entrance cameras and intercoms are being replaced in all schools with equipment that provides a clearer view of visitors for staff.
The security work was started Monday, was to continue Tuesday and be completed over winter break.
“The idea was to have this work done while students are not in the buildings,” McGuiggan said. “Everything should be working when students return from winter break.”
Cost of the new security cameras, intercoms, ID card reader and buzzer system is $12,000 to $16,000 per school, said Mike Duggan, director of facilities. The system won’t be installed at Hinsdale Middle School, but will be included in the new HMS, which is under construction, Duggan said.
District 181 plans to implement an additional security measure some time in early 2018, similar to one being used at Hinsdale Central.
That system requires visitors to schools to provide identification, which will be scanned before they are allowed beyond the school office with a badge sticker printed by the system.
“This change will support consistency in district visitor procedures, ensure appropriate background checks have been completed, and allow us to maintain a digital log of our guests, all while integrating with our student information system,” superintendent Don White said.
McGuiggan said the Visitor Management System has a total cost of about $9,400 for all schools, which includes the ID scanner, badge printer, badge stickers and one-time setup costs, as well as an annual fee for software. There also is annual recurring cost of about $3,600, she said.
For more information on how Pentegra Systems can help with all of your school’s security needs, head on over to www.pentegrasystems.com/security or give us a call at (630) 941-6000!
Video surveillance is designed to protect, but how do YOU protect your video surveillance? Accidents can happen that can affect your surveillance system both indoors and especially outdoors. You are putting your cutting edge technology outside and exposing it to the elements. Sure, outdoor cameras are designed differently than indoor cameras specifically to be able to function outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t take extra precautions. Although designed to “weather the storms,” there are still parts within the cameras themselves that are susceptible to surges and transients (What are transients? Read more here). If your system experiences a power surge your signal will become disturbed and more than likely disable your equipment altogether. Bottom line is: your system needs surge protection.
You plug most of your household electronics into a power strip at home so they don’t get fried during a thunderstorm. You wouldn’t want to lose that expensive HD television you just bought. The same principle applies to your surveillance system which is a much, much larger investment. Installing surge protection on your surveillance system is a little more complex than simply plugging your TV into a power strip. Typically, your surveillance system is connected to your building’s electrical service panel, whether that be directly or indirectly. AC power, data lines and coax cables are ALL equally vulnerable to surges and/or transients. If a bolt of lightning were to hit one of your cameras, that one surge can go from that one camera all the way into your building affecting your indoor equipment. Your entire system can be compromised without surge protection. Surge protection devices need to be installed on every component you have that is connected to any wiring entering or exiting your building.
The following components of your surveillance system require surge protection devices installed:
Head-End Equipment Rack
Any type of surge that hits your surveillance equipment can not only damage said surveillance equipment, but any electrical equipment or device that is connected to your building’s main electrical service panel. It is best practice to also install surge protection devices on the electrical service panel itself in addition to any of your other equipment including indoor cameras, lighting, HVAC, etc. You can’t afford to have Mother Nature knock out your security, protection and peace of mind for an extended period of time. If you surveillance system is down it is not doing its intended job of monitoring for public safety, traffic, property loss and crime prevention.
Need help? Pentegra Systems is has got your back if you need assistance in determining the best surge protection devices for your current surveillance system.
For more information please visit us at
or give us a call at
If you want to protect your building, employees, assets, etc. (and why wouldn’t you?), video surveillance at your facility is a definite must-have. The majority of businesses and organizations out there already utilize CCTV surveillance systems to monitor everyday activity both during work hours and beyond, but the reality is many are still using analog camera systems. IP (internet protocol) is the current trend when it comes to video surveillance. An IP surveillance system in the simplest terms is a digital video camera system that can both send and receive a signal through a computer network. An analog camera only sends its feed directly to a DVR (digital video recorder). There are several benefits to using a high definition IP camera system that analog cameras just do not offer.
Here are a few key advantages to using an IP camera system:
If you are one of those out there still using an analog system, don’t worry. Converting and/or phasing from an analog system to an IP system is easy to accomplish and it doesn’t involve you losing all of that expensive equipment your invested in several years ago. If you are interested in converting to an IP system or are interested in installing a brand new IP video surveillance system, please contact us at Pentegra Systems and one of our security sales engineers would be happy to discuss your current situation and devise a solution to solve your problems.
Visit us online today at
or give us a call at (630) 941-6000
Anything of real importance needs to be protected. Something of value cannot simply go unmonitored because anything bad can and most likely will happen, eventually. You wear a helmet to protect your head. Your money is protected by being put in a bank. Automotive insurance protects both you and your vehicle in case something goes wrong on the road. As little or as significant as these measures are, these measures need to be taken, but all these measures come with a price of their own. When it comes to security, sure it will cost you, but like making any other decisions in life, there are positives and then there are negatives. You make a substantial investment on a quality security system, a pretty large chunk of change, but just imagine how much money that system will save you down the stretch and in how many different ways. Here are the basic methods in which video surveillance can really become extremely valuable for your company very quickly and SAVE you money.
Obviously, the first method is loss prevention. A security system that utilizes cameras can monitor potential robberies, vandalism, etc. A fully functional video surveillance system can drastically lower the possibility of such crimes happening on your premises. If criminals are aware of the system in place, they are less likely to perpetrate the crimes. You may have a facility housing an extensive amount of extremely expensive equipment and items that you plan to use on six or seven-figure jobs. Can you possibly afford to have any of those items damaged or stolen, I don’t think so. How much would it cost to replace those items? What damages could be done to your facility alone during a break-in? Suddenly, the idea of purchasing an extensive security camera system isn’t that bad of an idea.
Another useful way to utilize your video surveillance system is for monitoring purposes. Sometimes instances and errors can happen in the workplace environment. To ensure the quality of your products and services, a video surveillance system can come in handy to record errors made during operations and be gone back to for reviewing purposes. Are your employees using the correct components on the assembly line? Is your outgoing product being packaged safely and securely? Take a minute and think of how much money these errors can cost you. How much would it cost to replace those components? How much money and resources would it take to ship the damaged products back to your facility and fix them or replace them altogether? The dollar amount adds up pretty quickly.
Video surveillance can not only record company procedures, but it can record employee conduct and behavior. For example, a restaurant can monitor whether employees are keeping up with sanitary regulations, such as washing their hands, with surveillance. A good video surveillance system can keep track of your employees at all times. What are they doing? Where are they going? Where have they been? An access control system uses access cards to gain entry into secure areas of your facility. A certain card can unlock a certain door. A video surveillance system can work with your current access control system by recording who actually is entering that door or gaining access to that specific area, all captured on video keeping an extra eye on your facility at all times. Not only can surveillance record criminals intruding your building, but it can also record potential criminals already inside of your building, such as your own employees. For example, you own a computer company and all of the high value components such as processors and memory are in a separate, more secure section of the warehouse where only select individuals can gain access to. One day, a few items went missing. The value of having surveillance in that area has just skyrocketed.
What if one of your employees had an accident? What if your employee slipped and fell off a ladder trying to get an item off the top shelf? Your company is liable for any accident that may happen. Video surveillance captures the entire accident for evidence purposes. More importantly, video surveillance can prevent false claims. An employee can claim they slipped on a newly washed warehouse floor and then say there were no signs to let he or she know the floor was wet. Video surveillance can prove whether or not the appropriate signage was displayed to let personnel know the floor was wet and use caution or if that employee actually did fall or not at all. Any employee could potentially try and pull a “fast one” on you and video surveillance provides the evidence that gives you an advantage to potentially avoid any legal fees or litigation that may come along with this sort of situation.
There are a slew of ways to utilize a video surveillance system in your facility. It won’t only save you money, but it can also save you time. For example, it’s 2:00 am and your phone rings waking you up at home notifying you that the alarm has gone off at your facility. Using your home computer, tablet or other device you can remote in and view all of your cameras at your own home and see what is going on. Sure, the alarm could still have been triggered by something serious, but in many cases it does in fact turn out to be a false alarm. If that is the case the surveillance system really came in handy. Do you have any security staff on payroll? Having a video surveillance system in place could eliminate the need of keeping actual security guards in house saving you even more money instantly and in a number of ways; a surveillance system could be more beneficial and catch happenings that an average security guard may just miss completely.
If you were to crunch some numbers real quick, the choice would be simple. If your business needs an extra set of eyes for whatever the reason may be, a quality video surveillance system should be in your future. There is far too much value in being able to see what is going on in and around your facility for you not to have one. The future is unpredictable and as the saying goes “anything can happen.” You need to be prepared for when anything does indeed happen.
To learn more about Video Surveillance visit
for more information.
The safety or your children is the greatest concern a parent can have. Parents need the reassuring feeling of knowing where their children are at all times and knowing they are safe. Parents are well aware they cannot keep an eye on their kids at all times, however. Children need to go to school. They need to get an education. Your children need to go somewhere for the majority of weekdays to learn. Do you, as a parent, trust your son or daughter’s safety at school? You should since all schools keep safety and security as an utmost priority every single day to ensure the well-being of not just students, but faculty alike.
In the event of an emergency, every school needs to be able to take action no matter the threat. Every person within and around the building needs to be notified of the emergency in addition to notifying the proper authorities outside the building to respond to the emergency as soon as possible. A mass notification system in schools is the most crucial aspect of safety and security of students and faculty. Mass notification notifies the masses in all areas surrounding the emergency.
There are several levels of notification that this system provides:
The most important area of notification is that of the immediate emergency. The area that is most directly affected needs to be notified immediately. Audio is the primary source of notification whether it be a siren alarm or a voice recording relaying instructions and to follow proper protocol. For the hearing impaired, strobe and LED lights are also used in addition to the alarms so they are visually noticeable to everyone around the area.
Those directly outside the facility are the next ones that need to be notified. At this point external speakers and public address systems are utilized to make crucial announcements and alerts regarding an emergency. These sirens or alerts will send out the proper warning for surrounding parties to take proper precautions.
Another element to an effective mass notification system is the ability to send out both text messages and e-mails to concerned parties both on and off campus. This useful tool not only helps alert people on the outside to stay away but could also be used to tell emergency contacts about the current situation.
In addition to mass notification to students and faculty, the proper help is also notified whether it is the police department, fire department, etc. Through the use of emergency call buttons integrated into the mass notification System, the response times are reduced dramatically.
One last piece of the life safety system in schools is the use of digital signage. Digital signage is becoming more and more prominent in schools around the world. These displays inform the students and faculty of important schools events, bulletins and news. However, in the case of an emergency these displays can be overridden to display messages notifying students and faculty of what is going on. For example, if there was a tornado warning in the area, the displays would let everyone know and to take the proper precautions to remain safe.
Through the use of new technology, schools have more ability than ever to keep their campuses as safe as possible. Fact is, when an emergency occurs everyone needs a helping hand no matter how serious or life threatening it can be. A mass notification system brings the power of connectivity to an entirely new level through the use of audio recordings, strobe lights, alarms, e-mails and text messages, mass notification spreads incredibly fast to warrant aid that much quicker.
Whether you own a multi-unit residential building or a commercial facility, there is a tremendous value to utilizing physical security to monitor, record, control, access, and secure your facility. The use of physical security can reduce theft, increase productivity and protect a company from significant liability in the event of a workplace injury or accident. A smart business tactic is to conduct a physical security review on a regular basis, assess what you’ve got in place, what you need, and make a plan to get started implementing measures that will help keep you and your business safe. Let’s talk more about physical security and why it matters so much.
What is physical security?
Physical security is the safeguarding of workforce, hardware, programs, networks, and data from adverse physical situations and events as a means to prevent serious losses or damage to a business caused by accidents, natural calamities, burglary, theft, vandalism, and/or terrorism. Video surveillance, security alarms, access control systems and identification systems–all of these fall under the category of physical security solutions.
Why is physical security important for businesses?
While most businesses are focus on implementing safety measures that ward off technical and dramatic issues such as hacking, viruses, Trojans, and spyware, etc., physical security is an oft overlooked and even often underestimated factor, the full implications of which are learned only after some damage has been done. What businesses mostly forget is that gaps in physical security can be easily targeted by attackers who have little or no tech smarts as opposed to virtual threats that require a certain degree of technical knowledge. Since accidents and natural disasters are all too common occurrences of daily life, your business may run into these even before you know it.
To avert these situations, you need to have a proper plan of defense in place and adopt physical security measures that ensure that your business is safe and secure. Here are some things to consider:
Components of physical security
Physical security generally includes the following three main components:
Choosing the right physical security for protecting your assets
While selecting the right physical security method for your business, you must pick one that has features like interoperability with your existing systems, cost-effectiveness and whether or not they are endowed with proper network and video expertise.
Look for features that include:
Moreover, the provision of using the network as a platform for integrating security measures is a great consideration, since it offers an open and scalable way to rev up the security methods for your business. With benefits like operational flexibility, enhanced protection features, reduced cost of ownership, and lower risk, physical security is an indispensible part of business operations.
Have you deployed the right physical security measures within your business operations? What do you think has been the most valuable to you and your company to date?
DO & CO is known worldwide as “The Gourmet Entertainment Group.” Originating in Austria, DO & CO is involved in airline catering, event catering, restaurants, hotels and airport lounges. Employing over 6,000 employees worldwide, DO & CO has twenty-five total gourmet kitchens spanning three ...