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OmnilertAug 1, 2023 4:27:58 PM7 min read

Active Shooter Response is Much More Than Gun Detection & Verification

As schools, hospitals, retail stores, and other venues race to secure their facilities from active shooter threats and gun violence, a significant missing link is emerging in many use cases. Facilities are finding out that they can get a greater peace of mind with an AI visual gun detection technology monitoring their cameras, but without robust activation and notification capabilities behind it, the chances of a positive outcome in the event of an active shooter are drastically reduced.

To explain this in more detail, let’s look at what happens in a typical facility that has this technology integrated with its existing cameras. The software monitors video feeds behind the scenes, looking 24/7 for the first sight of a firearm and once spotted, it goes through a verification process where a human confirms that an actual gun is present or not. While this is a critical piece in keeping facilities safe from active shooters, it is what happens after detection and verification that is just as important and will often determine whether lives are saved or lost. The problem is that many of today’s AI visual gun detection technology offerings don’t include these activation and notification capabilities or offer only minimal integrations with other safety systems. Buyers are led to believe that gun detection and verification is the only criteria for consideration.

This is where Omnilert’s longevity and proven ENS success sets itself apart from everything else on the market. Two decades ago, Omnilert pioneered the emergency mass notification market, and it continues as a trusted partner to over 2,500 customers today. Leveraging capabilities from this proven ENS system in its AI-powered visual gun detection platform, Omnilert is the only company that provides a complete solution starting with detection and verification and following with activation and mass notification.

Why Activation and Notification are So Important

A robust response is what changes outcomes of an active shooter incident. With the Omnilert platform, emergency response plans and processes are automatically activated at the touch of a button to maximize every critical second. Detailed situational intelligence is dispatched to police and onsite security teams throughout an incident for a rapid and much more effective response.

Unlike other AI visual gun detection technologies, Omnilert Gun Detect can broadcast alerts and notifications to those impacted – beyond mass text, email, and voice to mobile safety apps, social media, PA announcements and digital signage. Security and safety systems can also be activated to lock doors, sound alarms, change lighting, highlight evacuation routes and more.

What a Complete AI Visual Gun Detection Platform Looks Like

If you are looking at AI visual gun detection or even using one today, make sure your system is set up to perform ALL four of these key steps: detection, verification, activation and notification.  If it is, you can expect to have the following scenario play out in the event of an active shooter:

  • An active shooter walks up to a facility and pulls out a gun as they approach. If a camera is located outside, the system could detect a firearm before they entered the building. Otherwise, it would fall to the interior cameras to identify the gun once it became visible.
  • In under a second, an AI-powered visual gun detection platform can identify a visible gun and send an alert to a designated person, team or professional monitoring service. The alert would contain a still image, a detailed view of the gun detection, video snippet and details of the shooter location and camera.
  • Once the designated team confirms the active shooter threat, they can then initiate a series of actions immediately from either their safety systems, mobile device or computer. These actions are predetermined in the planning process and could include calling the police, sending real-time data information to first responders, locking doors, sending emergency notifications to people in the area, and communicating evacuation routes to people inside the building that leverages where the shooter is located.

How Omnilert’s Complete Solution Could Have Helped in the Nashville School Shooting

When an active shooter drove onto the Covenant School grounds in Nashville in March 2023, exterior school cameras were able to film the shooter’s car and then interior cameras caught the gunman shooting school doors at the entrance into the building and recorded the subsequent search of the interior.

It is likely that one of these exterior cameras also captured the shooter as they walked up towards the entrance with gun in full sight. However, all of this camera footage was reviewed after the event, and not utilized in real time. With Omnilert Gun Detect, the platform could have made the first detection of the gun and the shooter as they approached the school building, immediately alerting police and those inside the school. 
We also saw from police body cam footage that first responders were racing from floor to floor and room to room looking for the gunman.  Omnilert Gun Detect could have been providing real-time location information to first responders and providing safe evacuation routes to staff and students based on knowing exactly where the shooter was each moment. Considering that most active shooter incidents are over within 8 minutes, this type of instant communication is critical to saving lives.


To learn more about Omnilert Gun Detect, visit this web page.   Or to see the technology in action yourself, check out our self-demo.

If you are interested in learning more about AI gun detection and our visual active shooter solution contact us now.