Instant Lockdown with Shelter by Best

July 1, 2016
STANLEY's new BEST SHELTER combines code-compliant mechanical hardware and proven technologies to create responsive lockdown solution for education and business environments.

The need for an effective active-shooter solution has prompted STANLEY Security of Indianapolis, Indiana, to enter the active-killer prevention and mitigation market. Their high-tech tool of choice is an integrated security product called BEST® SHELTER™ (Shelter). Shelter is a perfect fit for professional locksmiths because it entails the installation of cylindrical electronic-mechanical locks and exit devices with a minimum of electronic hardware.

“BEST® SHELTER™ is an emergency lockdown solution that can secure individuals behind a locked door quickly and safely,” says Joe McCormack, President, STANLEY Mechanical Security. “With an increase in mass tragedies that are usually over in five minutes or less, the Shelter fob by BEST allows for quick communication with the Shelter wireless system to initiate a lockdown and third-party notification of an event.”

Shelter is a responsive building security system designed specifically to protect soft targets within educational K-12 settings, commercial businesses, healthcare facilities, high-rise office buildings, and other places where security is not up to the task of protecting people from an armed assailant. This product is designed especially for environments where a timely, armed response by law enforcement is questionable or unlikely. In fact, it’s a general lack of visible armed opposition in a situation like this that leads to an all too familiar tragic outcome.

“Whether it’s a school or business, creating a safe environment should not be a daunting task. With Shelter being one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market today, it is a valuable option to be considered in a variety of environments,” says McCormack. 

The primary objective is to quickly isolate a would-be shooter from a building’s general population. In the case of a school, Shelter does this by locking individual classroom doors, groups of classrooms, and/or an entire school building when someone activates a fob. This prevents the shooter from physically reaching innocent victims and gives law enforcement more time to reach the scene so they can deal with the perpetrator(s).

Active Shooters

An “active shooter” is an individual who seeks to murder as many people as possible in as short a time as possible without regard to his own survivability. The United States Department of Homeland Security defines him as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area..." (

New York City Police Department (NYPD) active shooter statistics show that 46 percent of such tragic events in the department’s jurisdiction have ended with police force. In 40 percent of the NYPD’s experience the shooter has taken his own life, 14 percent of the time the shooter has surrendered, and in less than 1 percent he has sought to flee the scene.

These statistics somewhat prove what many experts say about active shooters, that they usually go into such a situation without an exit strategy. This makes such an event even more dangerous as police are now forced to attack the shooter without negotiations in order to minimize the number of soft target casualties.

“Active shooters do not negotiate, killing as many civilians as possible, often to gain notoriety. Active shooters generally do not lie in wait to battle responding law enforcement officers. Few law enforcement officers have been injured responding to active shooter incidents; fewer still have been killed. As noted, more often than not, when the prospect of confrontation with responding law enforcement becomes unavoidable, the active shooter commits suicide. And when civilians—even unarmed civilians—resist, the active shooter [often] crumbles” (


Shelter operates wirelessly on the 900MHz radio frequency (RF) band. On the broad view, the system consists of a gateway with one or more wireless repeaters; a wireless fob that someone can wear around their neck, in a shirt pocket, or in a purse; a wireless cylindrical lockset (the model 9KX by BEST), and an electric exit device (the PRECISION Apex 2000 Series “E”). The gateway itself connects to the Cloud via the Internet and it can interface with up to eight repeaters to accommodate large buildings.

The fob is the means by which stakeholders are able to lock down a single room, group of rooms, or an entire facility. Fobs operate wirelessly over a 900MHz wireless network with an effective range of 200 feet. The most common way to administer the fob is by a lanyard around the neck.

The BEST model 9KX cylindrical door lock contains a visual means of immediately discerning wither the lock is in lockdown (red) or not (green). When the system goes from open to lockdown, the lock itself goes from standard classroom function to that of storeroom where it requires a key to enter from the hallway or outside. In addition, an audible indication alerts everyone in the room of the lockdown situation. Because the 9KX is wireless, almost any door can be included in the Shelter system, providing it’s within radio reception of a gateway or one of the repeater units.

The gateway itself communicates with a wireless door lock and/or an exit device installed on the exit door(s). The RF frequency used to make this happen also is 900MHz. Wireless is ideal because metallic wires are not necessary, thus saving money and time on the upfront.

Up to eight repeaters can be added to a single gateway device when the facility is large enough to warrant the additional coverage. The gateway and the repeaters both have a coverage of 400 feet, 1,200 feet in free air (line of sight). In addition, repeaters can be configured to send signals to the local alarm or access control system, making it possible to send event data (as in a call for help) to the client’s central monitoring station (CMS). The CMS, in turn, will dispatch first responders to the scene as quickly as possible.


To realize the full potential of what STANLEY’s Shelter system has to offer, it should be connected to the Cloud through the Internet. Although the system is wireless, to make Internet connectivity happen, some additional wiring is necessary. This requires the placement of a Category 5e or 6 cable from the client’s network (data switch/router) to the Shelter gateway device (see sidebar). If there is no LAN (Local Area Network) on site, run this cable to the client’s router. According to Stanley, there is an option available where the gateway also can be connected to the Internet using WiFi.

Low-voltage power also must be provided for the operation of the gateway and the repeaters in the system. Battery backup is suggested for all components, although this can be done locally at the location of each repeater. Battery-operated power supplies are available at your local supplier where you purchase the BEST® SHELTER™ system.

For locksmiths who are unfamiliar with the installation of cable, power supplies, and the like, I suggest you partner with the alarm/access control company that’s already on site. If there is none available, find a local firm that is willing to work with you. It might be advisable to enter into a no-compete contract that stipulates the said firm will not interfere, contact, or assume control of your clients. If you know the owner or manager of the firm well enough, such a contract may not be necessary.

“Similar to our STANLEY portfolio, they can purchase from an authorized wholesaler or distributor,” says STANLEY Mechanical Security’s McCormack. “STANLEY Mechanical Security has a field services team that can be utilized for installation of product. When connecting to third party systems, the facility integration resource should be contacted to complete the integration of the repeater to the existing third party system.”

For more information on the BEST® SHELTER™ system, go to: