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OmnilertNov 29, 2022 5:39:47 PM5 min read

Reflecting on Parkland, Things Could be Different Today

It’s been 4.5 years since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman shot 34 innocent people that day, killing 17. He was finally sentenced to life in prison for these atrocious crimes on October 13th, 2022, leaving many parents feeling that justice was still not found.

It’s because of events like these that Omnilert began development of its active shooter solution several years ago and its pioneering emergency notification system in 2004. With advances in technology from Omnilert and others, we believe schools and any institution or business is in a much better position today to respond. The Parkland incident has been studied and well documented and provides a good case study to understand how events might have transpired differently today.

The school and local first responders did what any school would do – they carried out their emergency preparedness plan. Unfortunately, at that time, life-saving technologies such as AI-powered visual gun detection were just starting to emerge and were in limited use. Flash forward to today and we are seeing not only schools leveraging this technology to keep people safe, but also industries such as healthcare, logistics services, manufacturing, retail, and more.

Fortunately, visual gun detection technology from companies such as Omnilert is now readily available, and it can be easily used with existing networked security cameras. To explain how this could have helped a situation like the Parkland shooting, we put together a video (below) that shows how the outcome could have been different if AI-powered gun detection software was watching their existing security cameras.

Key highlights from the video include:

  • The Parkland shooter prepared the weapon on campus, in a stairwell – and this happened in full view of security cameras. Had visual gun detection software been running, the gunman would have been identified as soon as he was in front of the camera and a notification would have been sent instantly.
  • 30 seconds after the first shot at Parkland, a 911 call was made. When using a solution like Omnilert Gun Detect, once a firearm was identified, the alert would have been sent instantly for human verification. Once verified, communications and lock down workflows would have started automatically. Within seconds, police would have been notified, staff and students alerted, and the system could have been sending key life-saving information such as the location of the shooter, what he looked like, what type of weapon he had, and where he was headed.

The FBI states that most active shooter incidents are over within 5 minutes, which means that every second counts. In the case of the Parkland shooting, three minutes passed between the first shots and when the school's code red alert, notifying the campus of an active shooter, was issued. A visual gun detection technology would have identified the weapon within seconds and an emergency preparedness plan could have been activated immediately after verification. This could have involved locking doors, notifying local police, contacting onsite security staff, and providing faculty and students with life-saving information.

The other important benefit of visual gun detection is that it’s an always-on technology that never gets tired or distracted like human monitors. It’s also a learning piece of software that gets smarter and smarter over time, which means it gets better at detecting in the environment where it is being used.

The Parkland school didn’t have access to AI-powered visual gun detection, but the technology is now available and easy to install, adding an extra layer of protection for all students and staff. Schools, businesses, or any organization that adopts this technology will have intelligent monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that any active shooter is identified in an instant. This saves lives and brings peace of mind to the school and the community it serves.

If you are interested in learning more about AI gun detection and our visual active shooter solution, check out these resources: