Electronic security for government facilities

Security in classified and sensitive areas should meet several requirements


Upon accessing the electronic access control system, motion detectors should also be bypassed. All other doors will normally remain active.

Specialty alarms such as proximity safe alarms or vibration alarms may or may not be active when the main security alarm system in the area is accessed. These devices can be accessed separately to add additional security. If the electronic security data gathering panel is not in the secure area, a vibration detector can be added to the data gathering panel and remain active to comply with UL2050.

There are several options that allow use of the secured doors for other than emergency evacuation. First, an area occupant must call the Security Control Center (SCC) to notify them that a secured door will be opened. Second is to have a shunt button by the door to temporarily bypass the door. Lastly, a badge reader with a timer could be used to record the person who bypassed the door and keep the alarm shunted for a predetermined time.

To reduce the number of nuisance alarms at the SCC and to allow authorized personnel to effectively use the secure area to perform their day-to-day jobs, there must be a thorough plan. The plan must include the security equipment, the procedures for using the equipment and the overall security/operational procedures.

The design of high-security areas is a challenge to ensure the desired level of security and provide flexibility and ease of operation, in that order.

Bob Pearson is president of The Protectorate Corporation and a Registered Professional Engineer and a Licensed Security Consultant. He published a book "Electronic Security Systems" and has published numerous articles. He is a member of National Standing Architecture/Engineering Counsel of ASIS International and has presented numerous seminars at the national and international conferences and workshops. He has over 30 years experience in electrical engineering and electronic security systems design, installation, testing and maintenance.