Air Force

Active shooter communication and location system

Networked system to send alerts and live audio to an emergency response controller to provide situational awareness of an evolving threat

Software & Information Technology Electronics Sensors

Recently, active shooter incidents in occupied facilities such as campuses, military bases, and commercial establishments have involved single shooters, have ended in under five minutes, were indoors, and were often confined to one building.

Responding to these threats has been challenging because they have ended before police arrive more frequently than ending after police arrive. However, such incidents could endure for a longer period while also being outdoors or spread across multiple buildings. But, even when authorities are on the scene, they may have difficulty precisely locating the shooter. Regardless, conventional control measures for active shooter incidents are insufficient to reduce and prevent active shooter incidents, limit the harm or threat of harm to persons exposed, or improve law enforcement response time to such incidents.

To address these issues, Air Force engineers and scientists have developed a system that will enable faster response time and accurate location information of the shooter. The approach utilizes the existing telecommunications structure with minimal hardware improvements. It includes an alarm button on a phone which opens up a communications link (one-way or two-way) with 911 services. It further utilizes the built-in microphone on the desktop phone so that 911 can hear directly what is occurring at the scene. If that audio signal includes a gunshot, it can be located within the school based on the decibel level triangulated between desktop phones. Text messages can be sent from 911 back to the desktop phone to indicate that the line is open, messages have been received, responders are in route – all without an audible signal which could alert a shooter to the presence of people sheltered in place. Once the threat has been neutralized, two-way communications can be opened and an all-clear can be announced over the phones.

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