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New gunfire-detection system alerts police of shooters in seconds, not minutes

Safe Zone

There are some technologies that, paradoxically, we really wish didn’t need to exist, yet are still kind of glad that they do. One of these is the Safe Zone Gunfire Detector, a fast gunfire-detection system with the ability to provoke a police response to an active-shooter situation within a matter of seconds. In doing so, it could play a valuable role in averting potential tragedies in public places like schools, malls, religious centers, or anywhere else that a mass shooting might occur.

“Safe Zone is a stand-alone, fully automated gunfire-detection system that alerts authorities within seconds of a firearm discharge,” Mike Anderson, president and co-founder of Safe Zone, told Digital Trends. “It provides the location of the shooter, the type and caliber of the weapon, and the number of shots fired. This allows law enforcement to dispatch, move directly to, and end the threat sooner than they normally would be able to. This reduces the number of casualties inflicted, and allows [Emergency Medical Services] to treat the victims sooner. Saving minutes saves lives.”

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The idea is that the Safe Zone Gunfire Detector can be installed in each room or hallway, similar to a smoke detector. It then captures the infrared and acoustic signatures of every anomalous event. This data is sent to Safe Zone’s cloud-based machine learning system, where it is analyzed. If a firearm has been discharged, the system generates an alert. This is then transmitted to 911 and system administrators, with information showing the shooter’s location on a building floor plan. As such, it can potentially allow the shooter to be apprehended more quickly, while increasing the chances of possible victims being able to evacuate safely.

“When shooting starts, seeking safety is the first priority — so much so that police are not typically notified until 5 minutes after the first shot,” Anderson said. “When arriving, they must assess the situation, obtaining corroboration from multiple traumatized, likely in shock victims. This information is critical to safely confronting the shooter, however, more precious minutes elapse before the threat is neutralized.”

After a development period of three years, the first Safe Zone devices are shipping this month. Several prototype systems have already been installed to prove efficacy. “We have done extensive real-world testing, and can proudly say the system is reliable and accurate,” Anderson said. “In the next few months, we will have thousands deployed in schools, businesses, houses of worship, government buildings, and late-night retail locations.”

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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