When tragedy strikes, many times it makes us think. It makes us reflect. Oftentimes we focus on how we could have avoided or prevented the situation, or how we could have handled the crisis differently when it happened. Sometimes, we take blame, or, we point blame.    
 The reaction that can prove most beneficial when a tragedy strikes is what we learn from the situation. When a Virginia Tech University student opened fire on campus in April, many people lost their lives. What do we do in a situation such as this? We reflect, evaluate and learn.

While covering this story, a pattern began to emerge that security experts brought up time and time again: being proactive. “We need to be proactive versus reactive,” Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor - education, at ADT Security Services Inc., tells SDM. “You’ve got to be prepared on campuses and secondary schools and put the best practices in place. Assessment is very critical, as well as talking to the right people and the right audience. Many times, that’s where we fail.”

Barry Nixon, executive director of National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence Inc., made it clear that often he has seen people react to a tragedy immediately after it happens, and then forget about the situation as time goes on. “I have somewhat of a jaundiced view,” Nixon says.  “It’s called the highway syndrome.” Nixon explains that when a major incident such as that at Virginia Tech occurs, often organizations slow down and react, just like people do when they see a police car or major accident on the side of the road. Five miles later, they speed up again and forget anything ever happened.


“In the short-term there will be bubble of changes, and a couple months of down the road people will reset and have it not be a priority,” Nixon predicts. That’s the challenge for dealers and systems integrators, to take a proactive approach and show educators why they need physical security and how it can help them do their jobs more efficiently and safely.

Security in education settings is a growing vertical market for electronic security providers and security systems integrators. Understanding the needs of campuses and schools across the country can help you to provide exactly what the education market is looking for.
In this issue, SDM launches a new series on strategic vertical markets. Education, which begins on page 49 is the first in this four-part series, which will take readers through growth areas in each market, opportunities for dealers and systems integrators, what buyers are looking for, and the specific and unique needs of each market. Future vertical markets will include healthcare, property management and industrial/manufacturing settings. If your company has a stake in one of these verticals and you’d like to tell us your story, e-mail us at mcfaddenm@bnpmedia.com.