School Physical Security Assessment Program

The Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management is offering a free voluntary physical security assessment of kindergarten through grade 12 schools in NH. This program looks at the physical building and grounds and makes observations and recommendations based on three physical security capabilities:

  • Surveillance
  • Access Control
  • Emergency Alerting

Download a copy of the School Readiness Program flyer.

Amherst Police School Resource Officer Joseph Cerra reviews security considerations with School Readiness Liaison Scott Lambertson during an assessment on February 10, 2022.

Physical Security Capabilities

These three physical security capabilities can be effectively used to increase physical security at schools and serve as a starting point for security measures. All three capabilities are most effective when they are employed together as they form the three-pronged response to a school’s security profile.

  • Surveillance: Surveillance is a physical security capability that all schools should have. The ability to view surroundings both internally and externally is a key element in early warning and defensive posturing. Surveillance cameras that are visible to the public mitigate the concept of anonymity and increase transparency in and around the school facility. Key leadership and certain administrative personnel should engage in and have routine access and exposure to surveillance monitoring as needed for security purposes. Surveillance monitoring should be located in areas of the school that have the ability to restrict access but not so restrictive that monitoring becomes difficult to access by authorized personnel during emergencies.
  • Access Control: Actively engaging/controlling the flow of people into the school facility is another physical security capability that all schools should have. Access control protects against unauthorized persons gaining access to facilities. Access Control involves some level of interaction with school staff that will make determinations about entry/denial. Access control should be layered throughout the building as it will act as an obstacle towards threat progression.
  • Emergency Alerting: The ability to communicate within the school using redundant systems is the third physical security capability. Leadership should be able to communicate directions from many locations within the school. Subordinate locations within the building must be able to communicate with leadership as well. The school must have redundant capabilities to make emergency calls for help to off-site emergency organizations and inform the public with official information.