Physical Security and the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program

CIS uses an analytic approach to evaluation and design of physical security based on the Estimate of Adversary Sequence Interruption (EASI) model developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The key principles behind the EASI model are the integrated function of three major system elements: Detection, Delay, and Response.

In an effective Physical Protection System (PPS), detection of the threat occurs early and a response force is deployed reliably and quickly. Delay elements then slow the adversary down long enough for the response force to intercept. The system is effective if the total assessment and response time (from the time of detection and notification) is less than the Adversary Task Time (time it takes to the adversary to breach delay elements and access protected assets)!

If these three elements (Detection, Delay, and Response) are deficient or out of synch, the system will fail. In virtually every school attack perpetrated by an outsider (Sandy Hook, West Nickel Mines, Platte River Canyon, etc.), there was a major failure in one or more of the three key functional areas. As of present, very few schools in the United States have a physical security program that truly meets the criteria for performance effectiveness.

Click here to view a series of slides analyzing PPS performance in relation to previous school shootings.

As part of the initial assessment, the CIS planning team evaluates the design of physical security and identifies key areas for improvement. Accomplishing the performance-based goal usually requires a combination of approaches to increase Delay and reduce Response time.

Common examples of improvement measures include recommendation of cost-effective barrier improvements (window film on windows, quality door locks, etc.) to increase delay time, enhanced lockdown procedures (also a Delay measure), improved communications systems and implementing an on-site response force (CIS School Protection Officers) that is selected and trained for the mission of intercepting intruders.

If schools don’t have the financial resources to initially implement all of CIS’s suggestions, the planning team aids in prioritizing improvements by using a cost-benefit approach.

On-Site Response: A Key Element of Effective Physical Security

Fact: In most active shooter incidents in the United States, effective response time by police averages between 10-14 minutes. In most previous mass violence incidents in schools, the perpetrator entered the school and started victimizing long before law enforcement arrived on-site.

Even with improved barriers and lockdown procedures, it is usually impossible (and financially impractical) for schools to create 10+ minutes of delay time for classrooms. The only way to guarantee effective system performance is with an on-site response force tactically capable of neutralizing an armed threat.

For this reason, all CIS School Protection Officers are required to meet the following requirements:

  • Physically-fit (essential for the mission of intrusion response)
  • Qualify annually with a 90% or better handgun score
  • Successfully complete annual Active Shooter Response tactical training
  • Practice timed response during periodic school drills

Click here for more information about CIS School Protection Officer training.

Click here for more information about the CIS Operations Center and our unique system for emergency communications and schools.


For information about the CIS School Protection Program contact:


CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program Links:

The CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program (Main Page)
     •  Risk Management and School Security
     •  Physical Security and the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program
     •  CIS School Protection Officers
             •  School Protection Officer Training
             •  CCBPI and the Guardian SafeSchool Program (School Culture & Climate)
     •  CIS Emergency Communications for Schools
     •  CIS Student Threat Assessment and Management System (C-STAMS)
     •  CIS SPO Peer Review Report, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2014 (PDF)
     •  Recommendation for the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program, Shorecrest                 Preparatory School (PDF)


Download the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program brochure (PDF)

Member of the Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA).