FM Articles

The First Step in Making Facilities Safer


As the pandemic continues to unfold, facility operators are constantly finding and creating new ways to improve and increase safety measures. Many facilities have turned to thermal imaging as a way to monitor patrons, so much so that some thermal imaging companies are reporting over a 700% increase in demand for the technology.

With thermal imaging, facilities can detect patrons with irregular thermal readings to help combat the spread of COVID-19. However, thermal imaging alone can’t protect patrons. To create a holistic safety plan at a facility, thermal imaging technology should be integrated with other safety and security technologies to ensure optimal COVID-19 safety protocol.

Door Access Controls and Entry Kiosks Keep Track of Patrons
One of the most crucial actions a facility can take is to minimize the amount of people who are possibly infected from entering the building or premises is door access control. When thinking about crafting a holistic safety plan, it’s important to start at the building’s entrances. Thermal imaging can be used at the front doors to help determine whether a patron should be allowed access to the facility or not.

When combined with a self-service kiosk, patrons can answer screening questions and have their thermal reading recorded without ever needing to physically interact with another person. Using this technology, the patron can check themselves in, providing their name, phone number, and other important information to create a profile of themselves. This allows the patron to be identified as having access to the premises and can be contacted later if needed, making for easy record keeping for facility managers and building administrators. Upon return to the building, it also allows patrons to check-in quicker. The self-service kiosk can also be used to provide two-way intercom between the patron and an employee, helping to ensure proper social distancing.

Facial Recognition Technology Streamlines Entry Protocol
Facial recognition is another technology that can help improve safety measures at the entrance and throughout the whole facility. Facial recognition technology can be tied into the facility’s camera system to help further identify patrons. Upon checking in, the patron’s image can be saved along with their information. If they are granted access to the facility, they can then be tracked throughout the building if needed.

For instance, this can be helpful for contact tracing, ensuring no one enters areas they are not permitted. This enables you to have a record of where a guest or any individual has gone throughout the facility. Employees can be entered into the system as well, which means they will be able to gain easier access to the building and employee-only areas. Facial recognition can also help identify if anyone has entered the premises who was not permitted access, allowing staff to take swift and appropriate action.

FacilitiesAutomated Alerting Allows for Proactive Approach to Safety
Tying all of these technologies together with an automated alerting platform can streamline all of these processes and ensure the right people receive the right information. For example, thermal imaging, door access, facial recognition, and more technologies can all be connected on a single platform which can send automated alerts to assigned individuals or entire groups of people.

If a thermal imaging camera detects a heightened thermal reading, a staff member can immediately receive an alert with detailed information, such as “irregular thermal reading detected – Main Entrance.” Armed with this information, the staff member can take immediate action to address the situation before it escalates.

Integrating Existing Technology to Optimize COVID-19 Safety Plans
Facilities should also take advantage of their current technology to bolster their safety measures during the pandemic and beyond. Many facilities are already equipped with mobile duress, cameras, PA systems, fire systems, among various other standard safety technologies. All of these can be tied into an automated alerting platform as well. With these systems all being connected, facilities can improve workflow and efficiency by providing staff with easy access to all of the information they need. Alerts can be customized and sent out to staff members via cell phone, landline, or desktop. Whether a staff member activates their mobile duress button or a fire alarm is pulled, these situations are constantly monitored and can be properly handled.

For example, by integrating an existing technology like security cameras, facility managers can make sure that these systems reach their utmost potential. Instead of using cameras as a way to record footage only to be watched back later after a situation has already occurred, automated alerting makes it possible to use cameras as the situation unfolds. Video paging capabilities make it possible for staff, and even law enforcement/first responders, to receive live-video feed from the facility when a triggering event occurs. For example, if a fire alarm is pulled, an assigned employee can immediately receive an alert containing video feed from the nearest camera, so they can view the situation in real time. This allows informed decisions to be made as to how to address the problem at hand. By increasing the capabilities of a facility’s current technology, the overall safety plan can be improved.

When it comes to increasing your facility’s safety, it’s important to think through how each current technology and safety measure is contributing to the overall plan. Instead of just implementing new technologies to get a quick fix, with this more holistic approach to safety, facilities can ensure the safety of their patrons and staff.

Amy Jeffs currently serves as Vice President of Status Solutions, and has held various positions within the mission-based organization for the past 13 years. Her primary duties include assisting Status Solutions’ Founder and President with developing and implementing the company’s overall go-to-market strategy. Her past experience includes 20+ years of technology business and marketing at start-ups up to Fortune 500 companies.