Metal Detectors Help Keep School and University Events Safe
Metal detectors help to enhance a layered security approach on campuses
- By Luca Cacioli
- August 01, 2018
For any school system looking to expand or enhance their
safety measures, metal detectors offer one line of defense
for deterring weapons and other threatening objects from
entering school buildings and campus athletic/special
The use of metal detectors has steadily increased in recent years as
security threats evolve in a variety of areas, including professional
sporting events. Walk-through metal detectors are an ideal choice for
school security because they have extremely high performance in
terms of detection capability and transit flow. Potential threat objects
are quickly and accurately detected while non-threatening personal
effects do not cause an alarm.
The compact design of the detector, along with optional wheel kits
that conform to the strict UL 1678 Standards, allow them to be easily
transported when needed and rapidly assembled at the checkpoint.
Weatherproof versions of the detectors are also available for outdoor
As a complement to the use of walk-through metal detectors
(WTMD), hand-held metal detectors (HHMD) are used for secondary
screening. As a person transiting the walk-through metal detector triggers
an alarm, they are quickly moved aside where security uses a
hand-held metal detector to pinpoint the object in question without
having to physically touch them.
GETTING THE FACTS
There have been many misconceptions discussed about metal detectors
in these environments. Common myths include:
Myth: Metal Detectors severely slow down the entrance time to
Reality: WTMDs themselves screen an individual in seconds. Overall,
security screening should be simple, fast and highly effective every
time. One consideration is how to achieve the maximum throughput
of individuals given by the lowest nuisance alarm rate (NAR). You
certainly do not want security personnel to be distracted by false
alarms for non-threat items.
Referred to as discrimination, this is the ability for the WTMD to
recognize or alarm for threat items such as guns and knives, while
ignoring or not alarming for non-threat items including belts, watches,
coins and keys. WTMDs are known for their leading-edge discrimination
capability and lowest NAR rates in the industry overall, which
translate to high throughput and fast entry for students.
Myth: HHMDs alone are easier to implement and just as effective as
Reality: WTMDs combined with HHMDs provide a faster, more
accurate and less intrusive than hand-held screening alone resulting
in an overall better experience for students and staff. With HHMD
alone, screening consistency and accuracy can vary among individual
screeners. HHMD screening is very labor intensive and can be
very burdensome when screening large numbers of individuals.
WTMDs provide a consistent screening of individuals across one or
Myth: All WTMDs are the same so price is the only important factor
in the selection process.
Reality: Key factors to consider when purchasing metal detectors
include safety, ease of use, and customer references.
- Safety. How safe are the metal detectors? Instead of relying on
general statements, look for third party certifications for metal
detector testing that meet health and safety regulations. CEIA MDs
are compliant with applicable human exposure standards such as
IEEE C95 (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers standards
relating to RF radiation). In addition, CEIA walk-through and
hand-held MDs are SAFETY ACT certified from the Department of
- Ease of Use. How easy are they to deploy and operate? This is
important in terms of general use and security staff training.
Customers have found this to be one of the keys to their security
operations. Metal detectors are very user-friendly and allow staff to
gain a basic working knowledge very quickly, so they can focus on
security procedures and not the MD equipment.
- References. Who else is using them? CEIA USA has many customers
that have researched and implemented these solutions with their
reference information available upon request.
The safety of students, staff, and visitors depend on the quality of the
security measures and technology provided at these
checkpoints. Utilizing metal detectors will speed up
screening, help dramatically improve safety, provide
peace of mind, and ensure students are kept secure.
This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.