Alarm clock goes off. TV or radio goes on. Check your cell phone. What is the first thing that you hear about? It probably isn’t happy news. It likely is a terrible situation: A shooting. A stabbing. A robbery. A murder. Someone is missing. Something is wrong. Dreadful incidents have been happening for centuries, but as the world evolves, so does our knowledge in security and prevention of those horrid scenarios.

Technology has boomed, education about prevention has escalated and security personnel have stepped up to work seamlessly with machines. But somehow, our country is still so vulnerable to crime that it is almost second nature to hear all of this negative news instead of positive news every day. Why is our country so susceptible to security risks today? How can we better detect the risk before tragedy occurs again? Within this article you will learn about lessening the security risk when it comes to perimeter security by using walk-through and handheld metal detectors as a pertinent first line of defense.

Detecting the Problem

Increased mass violence is robbing the general public of peace of mind. The root of amplified violence could stem from, but is not limited to, peer pressure, bullying, mass communications including media hype and repetition in reporting, a rise in mental illnesses, and abuse of persons and power – just to name a few. As humans evolve, so does our knowledge of what is causing them to harm others. From the Stone Age to now, we are smarter about seeking help when there is a problem, but we still need to detect the problem before an awful situation occurs.

We went from a reactive approach to handling criminal activity, to one of preventative security measures due to mass casualty situations. Usually when an incident occurs, security is tightened afterwards. Unfortunately, we need to be on top of security before an attack, preventing the threat from ever being attempting, and to keep harm, panic and injuries or death at bay.

Stone Age Security

The world is always changing and criminals are more knowledgeable than ever before. Let’s face it. A little bit of security is better than none but you must always be thinking big picture.

History tends to repeat itself and we can learn a lot of lessons from our ancestors. Without diving too deep into a history lesson, let’s look back to the era of the Stone Age for some security perspective.

The cavemen likely made weapons to protect themselves from physical threats. They may have worked together to help guard certain areas and to protect others. Who knows – they may have had other cavemen walk through what we consider security checkpoints to make sure they weren’t a threat before entering a cave! We don’t really know, but the point is that physical and perimeter security is nothing new. But it is something that has evolved and must keep evolving.

Your Perimeter Security Plan

Your perimeter security plan has to be a living, breathing strategy that is constantly reviewed. It can’t be something from the Stone Age. There may have been some great ideas that started in that time period, but we are lucky that we have technology to help us now.

Today, it is our job to protect public places that people are always in and out of. Think of schools, hospitals, banks, sports venues, airports, libraries, government buildings and so on. We must help to create a safe environment for everyone and provide peace of mind when they are entering our perimeters.

It can become a bit overwhelming with all of the security options available. A budget must be put in place but it should not deter the amount of ample security that you have. When considering what your most budget-friendly, but highest return on security investment options are, take these things into consideration:

  • How big is your actual perimeter? Are you trying to just protect the building or a parking lot attached to a building? If the area is an outside area, make sure you know what is considered an area that you need to protect and what is outside of your protection jurisdiction.
  • What technology options are available to you: Again, this could be determined by having an inside or outside perimeter to protect. Are security cameras able to catch every angle of your perimeter? How many entrances and exits do you have to protect? Is your perimeter just ground level or does it go up like a bridge or higher level walkway?
  • The weather elements: Is your security going to be inside, protected from rain, snow, sun and other weather or will it be outside taking a beating from the elements?
  • Size of your security team: Make sure that your security plan has an accurate human to machine ratio. While technology makes life easier, the human still needs to work the machine and have a great understanding of what the machine is telling it.
  • Number of people to protect: If you are securing a large crowd, you will want to make sure your perimeter security plan can handle moving people through security quickly and efficiently. Think about how many fans attend sporting events or how many people enter government buildings every day.

Amp Up Perimeter Security with Metal Detectors

Metal detectors are a great tool to help with perimeter security. From the most simple of a walk-through system to the most high-tech devices, they are budget friendly and a great first line of security defense. In a nutshell, metal detectors are electric instruments that detect the presence of metal nearby. Whether it is a walk-through or a handheld metal detector, both work simultaneously with security personnel to create a cognitive perimeter security plan.

Metal detectors have been around since the 1800s but have been used more prevalently in the security industry for the past 50+ years. Both walk-through and handheld detectors were being used in airports in the early 1970s because airplane hijacking was on the rise. Between then and when the terrorist events of 9/11 occurred, security increased several times. From that time on, the use of metal detectors in schools, hospitals, stadiums, government facilities and other high profile, large crowd areas have become just as common as the front door.

No matter what your area is like, or your plan for perimeter security, there is a metal detector available to meet your high safety standards.

Which Metal Detector is Best for My Plan?

The role of the metal detector is to precisely identify if metal is present on multiple target locations from head to toe on the left, center and right sides of the body. The presence of metal is a good sign of a foreign object that is not allowed into the perimeter. Items such as guns, knives, needles and other sharp objects can be detected and confiscated before entering the facility.

Metal detectors used in public places can be either walk-through and/or handheld. There are many benefits to having both for your perimeter security plan since they are commonly used in conjunction with each other.

Walk-through Metal Detectors

Walk-through metal detectors are safe for humans to walk through. In simple terms, walk-through metal detectors use pulse indication to find metal objects on the person walking through. When there is an interruption to the pulse the is sent from the machine, an alert will be enabled allowing the security team to proceed to the next security step. Typically it takes 5-10 seconds for someone to walk through the metal detector. It is the fastest and one of the most efficient ways to screen visitors.

There are two kinds of walk-through metal detecting systems; a single zone detecting system or a multi-zone system.

Single Zone Metal Detectors

  • The CS 5000 Walk-Through Metal Detector is the most economical and effective walk-through metal detector in the industry.
  • The MS 3500 Walk Through Metal Detector is designed to withstand all types of weather conditions and rough handling. It also offers uniform coverage, excellent sensitivity, stability and noise rejection for more precise target evaluation.

Multi-Zone Metal Detectors

  • The MT 5500 Walk-Through Metal Detector provides maximum throughput with exceptional scanning technology—locating metal targets on the left, right or center of its archway. The popular MT 5500 meets the demanding needs of security professionals worldwide who trust its ability to maintain patron flow rate with minimal alarms.
  • The Enhanced Pinpoint Walk-Through Metal Detector is the industry leader in pinpointing technology. Without compromising security, this metal detector is designed for maximum throughput.

Some walk-through metal detectors are permanent while others can be moved around. And they are fairly simple to install. And again, some are specifically for indoor use and others have weather-resistant properties and can withstand weather elements outdoors. Research which walk-through metal detector will work best with your security plan and make sure it will work seamlessly with other technology and your security team.

Handheld Security Devices

Here is a typical perimeter security situation: the walk-through metal detector alerts the security team manning the entrance that there is metal on the guest trying to enter the protected area. Depending on the model of the walk-through detector, it can potentially pinpoint which side of the person the metal is located and give a more accurate area of where the security team should search. From there, it is the security team’s job to follow their protocol to do a more thorough search of the guest.

Handheld metal detectors, also called security wands, are the next step to safely locate the potential threat on the person. A lightweight, portable device, the handheld metal detector is a great security instrument to detect even the smallest object.

Without the use of a handheld metal detector, security would have to physically pat down the person. There are two common negative scenarios that could happen when a pat down has to occur. If the guest has a sharp object on them, like a knife or a needle, a physical pat down could potentially cause harm to the security team. Additionally, the security personnel doing the pat down could be accused of inappropriately touching the guest causing a whole other situation. Using a handheld metal detector will lessen the threat of the contraband hurting the security team and will keep their hands off of the guest as the security team can ask the person to remove whatever is on them in the area that is being detected.

Here are the top four handheld security detectors to consider implementing into your perimeter security plan:

  • The Super Scanner V Hand-Held Metal Detector: This is the original maximum sensitivity hand-held scanner for high security applications. It features audible and silent vibrating alarm options with an extended battery life.
  • The Pro-Pointer: This handheld provides all terrain versatility for locating and pinpointing metallic targets. It is environmentally protected from the elements and is fully submersible to a maximum depth of 20 feet.
  • The Super Wand Hand-Held Metal Detector: From U.S. airports to sporting events, the lightweight Super Wand is the hand-held of choice for today’s security screener. Its 360° detection field provides uniform sensitivity and tip pinpointing to detect weapons and other metal objects with extreme accuracy.
  • The Tactical Hand-held Metal Detector: The most rugged, compact metal detector on the market. With a highly-sensitive 360° detection area and a silent vibrating alarm indicator, the Tactical Hand-held Metal Detector is perfect for all law enforcement operations. It is also particularly effective for use in schools, bars and clubs, and for corporate security.

Metal Detecting Indoors and Outdoors

Some walk-through metal detectors are movable and others are permanent. Determining where your entrances will be and if they are always going to be the same will help you make a decision on what kind of walk-through metal detector you need.

An additional important thing to consider is if you will be using your metal detectors outside or inside. If you are using your metal detectors outside, then you will need to look for a system that can withstand the weather elements. Rain, wind, sun, and high and low temperatures are all factors to consider. Technology allows us to create walk-through and handheld detectors that can still do their job even with the outside elements. But if you will always be using your metal detector indoors, then this is not something you will need to budget for.

Even if you always plan to use your metal detector indoors, you will still need to think about where people will be coming into the facility. Will this always be the same entrance? How many entrances do you have? Will you need a metal detector at each entrance or will you somehow direct all individuals to the metal detector area?

Work with a security vendor that has knowledge in all of the options and features of a metal detecting system to ensure you are obtaining equipment that works best for you.

Be Proactive About Perimeter Security

The number one reason to have a security plan in place is to protect everyone (and everything) that is coming into your perimeter. It is hard enough for security teams to keep an eye on every person in a large crowd, so it is smart to have proactive security measures in place before allowing anyone into your facility or venue area.

Be aware that it can take time to adequately screen individuals as they are walking into their destination. Make sure that you have enough metal detectors and security personal on hand to move large crowds quickly but efficiently through the security line. The last thing you want to deal with, besides a scary situation, is an angry crowd being held up getting to their concert, show, sporting event or wherever they are going.

And another tip is to never stop expanding upon your perimeter security plan. A layered security approach is always a good idea. The more layers to your plan, the harder it is for a threat to slip through.

Starting with walk-through metal detectors and handheld wands is a great plan, but look to other security professionals and what their plans are to see what else could work for you. For example, top security teams are now using drones to scan large crowds in expanded areas. K9 teams can also be a great addition as they can sniff out more than just metal objects. Remember that your security plan is never set in stone and should be fluid. Allow for change and growth but do not allow for security error or flaws.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Although some security measures may seem extreme at time, it is always better safe than sorry. No security plan is ever too extreme because protecting life and property is the ultimate goal. Your security plan should be proactive and innovative without breaking the bank.

Know the features your metal detectors have and be sure that your security team is knowledgeable on how to work them. Having a top-notch security team working with the best perimeter security equipment equals a safe perimeter.


Entraturnstiles is a division of the Tamis Corporation.



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