Take down the active shooter with…wait, what? A sprinkler system?

Take down the active shooter with…wait, what? A sprinkler system?
The number of active shooter incidents in places like educational institutions and other public places are on the rise. An FBI report released last year showed that the years 2014 and 2015 each saw 20 active shooter incidents, more than any two-year average in the previous 16 years.

And although several experts have stressed on the importance of strengthening security solutions, they have mostly been limited to video surveillance and access control systems. Few security companies have actually considered going beyond these conventional solutions and introducing more proactive approaches. Crotega, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company is one among them.

Crotega’s Sentrē System is a new innovative interior threat suppression system designed to deter, disrupt, and delay active killers and other threats inside of buildings. When the system detects an active shooter in the site, it releases short bursts of water with nontoxic additives at the source of the threat.

This US-patented/international patent-pending system is the first of its kind, with applications in schools, public buildings, commercial buildings, airport terminals, banks, military facilities, shipping, and any other facility at risk of violent perpetrators.

How does it work?

Crotega Sentrē System is a rapid-defense, nonviolent security solution that can help save lives when a violent situation occurs. The solution is concealed inside a building, a virtual ‘invisible SWAT Team’ hidden in the ceiling ready for immediate action. Speaking to asmag.com, Jody Allen Crowe, President and CEO of Crotega explained how the solution functions.

“The system is deployed via an intuitive, fast-acting touchscreen that alerts when a threat alarm button is activated or gunshot is detected,” Crowe said. “The Sentrē devices release short bursts of water with nontoxic additives on the source of the threat. It causes significant irritation to eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin—virtually immobilizes the perpetrator until in-house responders intervene or law enforcement arrives. In-house responders or first responders are not impacted by residual materials, as the irritant is not vaporized.”

He added that unlike other irritating agents, the water-based Crotega Repuls has properties that allow for quick mitigation of the effects and ease of clean-up.  “This allows for building owners to quickly return to normal without the issues of oil-based irritants.  Industry standard testing provides the assurance of safe, effective use of the product.  Analysis by the International Code Council Evaluative Services determined there are no code issues related to installation of this system.”

The technology behind the solution

The system is made up of modularized stainless steel nozzle activators and hydropneumatics stainless steel tanks.  A system control panel with Crotega System Software supervises the pressures and provides the surveillance/activation controls.  Threat alarms are connected by zone to provide zone alerts to the high quality deployment touchscreen.  Components of the system can be integrated into current monitored surveillance systems.

What could drive demand for Crotega?

Crotega’s solution was initially designed for schools, but it has now grown to include all buildings where people are at risk of violence. Although schools mostly relied on access control systems to guard against potential active shooter threats, they were limited in effectiveness. In most cases, an active shooter issue ended only when the shooter committed suicide or an in-house responder took the shooter down. Crowe’s plan was to design a system that provided a way for the building occupants to maintain control of the building, rather than giving the control to the active shooter.

Clearly, the Crotega system is a disruptive product in the security field. Every active shooter event, whether it is ideologically motivated, politically motivated, due to mental illness or other causes, brings additional attention to the need for threat suppression inside buildings. According to Crowe, the company meets that need, and are the first and only one to meet it.

“This system is also being put into use protecting property, as well as life,” Crowe said. “Future anticipated demands include protecting ships from piracy, outdoor protection systems, adding Repuls to robots, and personal protection devices.”
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