No business owner or public official wants to imagine an active shooting will happen to them or in their community. But the deadliest shootings thus far in 2022 and 2021 took place in everyday commercial and public settings: 

  • Elementary School (Uvalde, Texas): 22 killed, 17 wounded
  • Tops Friendly Markets (Buffalo, NY): 10 killed, 3 wounded
  • FedEx Ground Plainfield Operations Center (Indianapolis, IN): 8 killed, 7 wounded
  • Kroger Grocery Store (Collierville, TN): 1 killed, 14 wounded
  • Various locations (Phoenix, AZ): 1 killed, 12 wounded
  • Oxford High School (Oxford, MI): 4 killed, 7 wounded
  • King Soopers Grocery Store (Boulder, CO): 10 killed


Unfortunately, active shooter incidents have grown frighteningly more frequent – doubling, in fact – in the last five years (2017 to 2021). The F.B.I. defines an active shooting as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

As a result, active shooter preparedness plans – among other protective measures and policies – have steadily become more dire.

What Is A Shot Detection System (SDS)?

The average length of an active shooter incident is less than 13 minutes, and 60% of incidents are over by the time first responders arrive. This means your active shooter response plan must be timely. 

A shot detection system (SDS) can be your most effective first line of defense if an active shooter steps onto your commercial or public property.

Here’s how it works: When a weapon is fired, the system registers the shot and proceeds to notify the appropriate parties not only that there is a shooter, but also where the gunshots occurred.

Herring Technology specifically recommends the Guardian, an indoor active SDS equipped with acoustic gunshot identification software and infrared gunfire flash detection. The Guardian offers the highest rate of detection and accuracy on the market – with zero false alerts.

Learn more about Herring Technology’s shot detection systems, and contact one of our technicians today with questions.  

What Happens When Your Shot Detection System Goes Off

Response time, accurate information, and saved lives are the primary goals of your shot detection system. For this reason, when a gunshot is fired, the following things happen:

Employees Are Notified

With every minute that passes from the moment an active shooter incident begins, victims’ survival rates fall by 7 to 10%. A shot detection system alerts employees and other key personnel via desktops and mobile devices that a shooter is in the building. If the emergency communication system allows for two-way messaging, employees can reply with updates or request assistance.

With more advanced indoor SDS technology, like the Guardian, the system also provides a floor plan map illustrating the location of the shots to building occupants. With each shot, the system tracks and reports information in real-time, allowing them to move away from the shooter and to a safer location.

A Lock-Down Is Initiated

Because there are no false alarms with an SDS, your employees will know the seriousness of the situation when they receive an alert and specific information regarding the shooter. This expedites the proper steps that need to be taken to lock-down the premises.

However, don’t neglect creating an emergency plan ahead-of-time. Equip your employees with the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy. When running is not possible or safe, sheltering in-place by locking and barricading a hiding place until law enforcement arrives and gives the all-clear is the next best thing. Finally, and only as a last resort, should employees fight the assailant.

First Responders Are Contacted Immediately

The average time it takes for someone to call the police following an active shooter’s first gunshot is 5 minutes. What’s more: Over half of active shootings end before help even arrives.

With a shot detection system, first responders are contacted immediately. And as emergency personnel are dispatched and arrive at the scene, the Guardian SDS relays critical updates and information – while removing human emotion, interpretation, and error from the situation – to increase the likelihood of survival.

SDS has the ability to integrate with your current security system and video cameras. If you have questions about how to best protect your business or property with security technology, contact Herring Technology today


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