SECURSHADE: The answer to an affordable safety upgrade for school security systems

Teachers are superheroes who need shades, not capes!

Teachers do it all: creating lesson plans, educating their students, keeping the classroom organized and engaging, managing different learning levels and styles, keeping students focused, creating a positive atmosphere…a teacher’s daily to-do list could put a superhero to shame! Year after year they do thousands of tasks every day to keep education moving forward. From larger undertakings like understanding how each student learns best, to the small daily tasks like reminding students to raise their hands and pulling down the window shades to darken the room for a video or projector, a teacher’s day is full from bell to bell (and usually after the last bell, too).

Modern technology has helped teachers and schools fit more into the busy days. Computers make test-taking easier and faster, while offering options that are more engaging for students. Student drop-off and pick-up processes have been streamlined and made more secure through the use of apps. Digital projectors have made the wash-off Vis-a-Vis Wet-Erase markers a relic of the past (along with the chore of washing off and drying the transparent plastic overhead projector pages).

 

Using technology to make things better for teachers and students

Every time a daily task can be automated or simplified is another moment that a teacher can focus on what matters most: teaching. In the last 20 years, teachers have had yet another responsibility added to the already long list: helping create a safe environment for learning amidst increasing threats to themselves and their pupils. 

Unfortunately, keeping students safe at school is a task that has been growing more difficult over the past decades. Teachers are expected to handle a range of external disturbances to the classroom—anything from a distracting animal outside the windows, to severe weather, an angry parent showing up in the midst of a custody battle, and even active shooter scenarios. Since 2013, 73 people have been killed and 118 injured in 48 school shootings, according to a new tracker NBC News is making public.

How teachers and educators keep students safe at school

Educators are trained on methods to handle these threats and more. For something as simple as a distracting sight outside the windows, closing the classroom shades can usually provide enough of a solution to get things back on track quickly. In the more serious scenarios that teachers hope to never experience, such as an active shooter, there are lockdown procedures that are in place and practiced throughout the year by teacher and students alike.

The procedure can vary from school to school, but a common lock down procedure looks something like this:

1. Close and lock the classroom door

2. Get the students to the safest place in the room and quiet them

3. Lower the shades to stop sightlines into the classroom

4. Return to the students and attempt to comfort and calm them

5. Communicate with other teachers and administrators in the building

 

In many cases, safety starts with concealment

Whether it’s a distraction outside, flying objects from severe weather, or an aggressor outside the building, closing the shades plays a big role in creating a visual barrier and stopping or reducing debris and flying glass. Unfortunately, there’s a big problem with the simple action of closing the shades: oftentimes, this action can put the teacher in the direct path of the very threat they’re trying to protect students from. 

Teachers are in the line of sight when they go to windows, which can make them a target from outside the building in the event of an active shooter. There is already too much for teachers to do during the high stress situation of a real lock down and if the shades don’t get closed, or don’t get closed fast enough, there is too much visibility into the building. And even if everything goes according to plan, there is no one in empty rooms to close the shades. This alerts intruders and shooters immediately to which rooms are occupied and which are empty.

Fortunately, the combination of an innovative idea, new technology, and classic window shades has created a simple and seamless solution to this modern problem.

SECURSHADE automates a necessary task, saving time and saving lives

After looking at the problems teachers face during a lockdown protocol, SECURSHADE founder and inventor Gordon Clements used his 30+ years of experience in the window treatment industry to come up with a solution:

At the press of a button, SECURSHADE automatically and instantly closes all shades in the school at the same time, alerts authorities of a problem, removes teachers from window exposure, and visually alerts everyone in and around the building of the lockdown.

Does this sound like a lot for a single button to do? It is, and that’s exactly what makes SECURSHADE such an innovative and useful addition to today’s schools. Let’s break down how it really works.

At the press of a button, SECURSHADE automatically and instantly closes all shades in the school at the same time.

All teachers and school administrators have a remote control that can be worn on a lanyard or kept in a pocket. Each remote control has two buttons: one button to close all shades in a single classroom for daily use (for example, to darken the room for a video) and one button for emergency use that closes all shades in the entire building in just 4 seconds, as well as alerting authorities of a problem. This provides everyone in the building with uniform concealment in just 4 seconds.

SECURSHADE alerts authorities of a problem

Pressing the emergency button not only closes all the shades simultaneously. It also uses the school’s internet to alert school administrators and security officers in the building of the emergency. Additionally, it can notify local law enforcement of the threat and the specific location in the building that the emergency button was used, allowing for faster response times and no additional step in communicating the need for help. This lets staff know where the threat originated and police to strategize the best approach en route.

SECURSHADE removes teachers from window exposure

Using the SECURSHADE remote control to instantly close all window shades means teachers can stay with students throughout the entire lockdown and are not put at risk by standing in front of windows to manually close every shade. This dramatically speeds up the process and eliminates human error that can occur in a highly stressful situation. SECURSHADE conceals the interior of the entire building far more quickly, effectively, and reliably than manual operation.

SECURSHADE visually alerts everyone in and around the building of the lockdown

Because the emergency button closes all shades in the building, SECURSHADE eliminates the need for additional time communicating the threat to other classrooms. Any authorized school personnel can simultaneously report a threat and protect the building by closing all the window shades immediately—no need to rely on radios, phones, or PA systems in the midst of a stressful situation. Plus, anyone outside or around the building and potentially out of reach of other communication methods can see the visual indicator of lockdown from outside the building.

Why is SECURSHADE the best choice for schools?

First and foremost, SECURSHADE is the best choice for schools because it was designed specifically to address the problems that schools face! The shades use a combination of modern communication technology and time-tested window shades to create a truly one-of-a-kind solution that schools can rely on. 

All schools, universities, offices, and commercial buildings need window coverings to control light levels indoors, stop prying eyes from outside, and bring privacy when the sun goes down. While motorized, remote-control shades have existed on the market for quite some time, these are typically quite slow to lower and come at a cost that is not feasible for school-wide installation.

How do roller shades normally work?

Roller shades are window coverings that are made of a single sheet of woven fabric or woven polyester and vinyl-based material. When extended, they hang in front of a window to control light and privacy. When the shades are opened, a roller mechanism at the top of the window turns to wrap the shade around itself, storing it out of the way in a compact roll. Roller shades can be operated with a continuous-loop cord or a spring mechanism that assists with raising and lowering.

Motorized roller shades do the work on their own

Motorized roller shades are constructed similarly to manual operation roller shades, but instead of using a cord for raising and lowering by hand, the roller mechanism at the top of the shade contains a motor that can turn the roller to raise and lower the shades without needing a person to operate it. Motorized roller shades can be battery-powered or hard-wired into a building’s electrical system and controlled by a pre-set schedule, a remote control, an app, or even by voice activation using smart technology.

 

SECURSHADE vs. Motorized Roller Shades

SECURSHADE innovates on the trusted roller shade and the idea of motorized shades by using a combination of weighted shades and gravity to enable shades to lower many times faster than motorized shades—at a small fraction of the cost for standard motorized shades. The added security features (closing shades for the entire building simultaneously, alerting administrators and police) built into the SECURSHADE system bring many added benefits and cost only slightly more than the standard roller shades that schools typically install. Plus, the shades still function normally as high-quality, durable and effective window coverings in all non-emergency situations.

How SECURSHADE works to make schools safer

SECURSHADE is a non-intrusive enhancement to school security. Schools already have window coverings and, while they are durable and can last many years, they do eventually need to be replaced. This replacement cycle is the perfect time to upgrade schools to the SECURSHADE system in a cost-effective safety measure that does not instill fear—SECURSHADES look nearly identical to regular roller shades and don’t cause students to feel like they’re spending their days in a lockdown facility.

Where is SECURSHADE installed?

The SECURSHADE system can be installed building wide, or rolled out in select classrooms and offices as shade replacements are needed. Our patented system uses a wireless network to provide communication between personnel who first identify an outside attacker, all other rooms equipped with SECURSHADE, and the administrators and police by notifying them of the situation.

Each authorized staff member is outfitted with a remote control that communicates with wireless communication nodes. Depending on which remote button is pressed, these nodes send a signal to either lower SECURSHADE within a single room (daily use) or all rooms in the building simultaneously (emergency use). Pressing the emergency remote button lowers the SECURSHADE system for the entire building in less than 4 seconds. This provides:

 

» An instant visual barrier
» Reduced exposure to threats
» A visual and electronic lockdown alert
» Student and staff safety and comfort
» Early warnings to faculty and authorities of potential danger
» Protection from flying glass and storm debris
» Improved weekend security and energy efficiency

How does SECURSHADE operate?

In the event of an emergency, all it takes is one staff member pressing a button on their SECURSHADE remote to close all shades for the entire building. This immediately conceals everyone and alerts all other rooms, staff, and students to the possibility of a threat.

When the remote button is pressed, a short pulse of electricity releases the shades to free fall with the force of gravity. The two main forces at work in SECURSHADE, magnetism and gravity, are naturally occurring forces. The only force for teachers to manage is the minute pulse of electricity that is sent with their remote.

When the emergency button is pressed:

1. A duress signal is sent from the remote control to the wireless communication node installed in the room.

2. The communication node sends an alert via ethernet cables to the control PC, turning the screen bright red and alerting authorities. It also sends a signal to drop the shades in the room where the remote button was pressed.

3. The control PC sends an alert to the communication nodes in all other rooms.

4. The communication nodes in every room send a signal to drop the shades in every room.

5. Last, each room’s shades send a confirmation signal to their room’s communication node, which also sends the confirmation on to the building’s control PC.

It might sound like a lot of steps, especially when you consider that all of this takes place in under 4 seconds, creating near-instantaneous concealment for the entire building while also alerting everyone to danger! You can leave the technical know-how to us, and simply trust that it works: Tested in real school operation, SECURSHADE was highly reliable, achieving a 98.9% reliable operation.

Non-emergency benefits of the SECURSHADE system

The SECURSHADE system’s real beauty lies in its simplicity. A wireless electro-mechanical device is added to a standard roller shade and integrated with the school’s systems. This means that under regular everyday use, SECURSHADE may be raised and/or lowered manually by a chain lift system, as well as function as an energy efficient window shade that lets natural light in while keeping outside heat out in summer and retain interior heat in winter.

Roller shades have long been the window covering of choice for schools, campuses, offices, and commercial buildings—with good reason! This durable, low-maintenance window covering holds up to many years of daily use. They are easy to operate, can block excessive heat and glare in the summer, and even help retain heat indoors in the winter, reducing utility costs and making sure seats near windows aren’t drafty and cold.

Thanks to the special woven construction of roller shades, natural light can still filter inside even with the shades down. This is important in an educational environment, as “exposure to bright blue light during the day boosts mood, alertness, concentration and energy levels. Studies show that exposure to natural light improves student test scores, attendance and behavior.” This same woven structure is what allows you to see out through roller shades when they’re down—at the same time blocking the view in, from those outside the building. This is what makes roller shades excellent for privacy and security. Available in nearly unlimited colors and styles, a suitable roller shade can be created for every environment.

SECURSHADE for Your School

Effective communication can break down during a lockdown event. Window coverings provide effective concealment for classrooms, students, and teachers, but are risky to operate with the threat of a shooter. Manually lowering window shades is both slow and dangerous.

Our system simplifies things for teachers, who are tasked with protecting students, notifying others in the school, and calling for help. SECURSHADE does all this and more with the simple press of a single button, removing the most dangerous and slowest steps in lockdown protocols. Plus, the patented SECURSHADE quick release takes just 4 seconds to take all students and staff out of the line of sight.

SECURSHADE offers a safer, faster, and effective way to protect students and their teachers in the case of a needed lockdown. Make the lockdown process more efficient and more effective so teachers can spend more time and attention focusing on and protecting students in the event of an emergency—and less time thinking or worrying about emergency protocols beforehand. Plus, SECURSHADE isn’t just for schools – these shades provide a safety enhancement for places of worship, offices, day care centers, labs – any building where there could be an active shooter threat. Unfortunately, mass shootings continue to increase. There was an average of less than one per year from 1980 to 1990, while CNN reported 417 in 2020 and 621 mass shootings in 2021. That’s why we created SECURSHADE, and why it’s becoming a necessity in public spaces.

 

Earlier Warning Can Save Lives.

Eliminating Sight Lines Can Save Lives.

Faster Response Can Save Lives.

SECURSHADE Can Save Lives.

 

SECURSHADE is your answer to an affordable safety upgrade to your school’s security system.

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