Va. Beach company installs system that detects gunfire

It could be used in an active shooter scenario

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – An office building, a Planned Parenthood clinic, a community college and a church. It seems no place is immune to the possibility of violence anymore.

The numbers of mass shootings are beyond shocking. There have been 355 so far this year. That’s more than the number of days so far in 2015 there have been 337.

Incidents like these have companies and schools looking for ways to stay safe in a worst-case scenario.

A Virginia company has just what they may be looking for: a device that detects gunfire and a possible shooting.

The device fits in the palm of the hand. It can go on any wall or even in the ceiling tiles. Sensors instantly detect where a shooter is. The message is sent through a text message so anyone inside can respond much quicker.

The new technology could make a difference if there’s ever another mass shooting.

“We inform law enforcement officers within seconds. We inform occupants in the building within seconds, and we can also leverage technology and integrate with existing systems to inform the shooter that you’re on the clock,” Dan Marshall said.

A retired Navy SEAL, now working for Shooter Detection Systems Marshall said the technology is similar to what’s already used in the military to detect snipers.

“Two acoustic sensors are listening for the sound of a gunshot,” Marshall said.

In addition to the text notifications, the system can be set up to lock doors, sound an alarm or even create announcements to alert building occupants of the threat.

“It’s something that’s critical today in the environment we live in, unfortunately,” Ross Vierra CEO of Axis Global Enterprises said. Vierra owns the small Virginia Beach business that installs the device.

“Right here in Hampton Roads the same situation could happen at any moment at any day. We don’t know when an active shooter is going to enter your workplace or enter our educational facility,” Vierra said.

Both men said the system is not about prevention, it’s about preparation.

“We see the violence, we know it’s out there, it’s just going to be a matter of when it’s going to be in our own backyard when we’re going to have to deal with this situation,” Vierra said.

The sensors have already been installed in one school and one business in Hampton Roads. For safety, we are not identifying them.

Vierra admits the system isn’t cheap but says it is a safety measure that matters when seconds count. “I think when you look at the return on investment it’s priceless,” he said.

The company is in talks with lawmakers from several states including Virginia to get the Shooter Detection System part of legislation, much like smoke detectors. They want this technology to be required in new buildings.

For complete San Bernardino massacre coverage, click here.

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