Technology to pinpoint active shooter being tested in Houston

By Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - The aftermath of the Parkland school shooting was filled with heart-wrenching images.

The massacre is still on the minds of many Houston parents, including Mark Hernandez.

“It overwhelms with you the possibilities of what could happen," he said.

Sherita Benson said she has one goal each morning.

“When I drop her off I want to make sure she is in safe hands," she said.

Safety in schools is one of key areas the "Firefly" Emergency Automatic Gunshot Lockdown is looking to enhance.

Channel 2 Investigates recently was introduced to the cutting edge technology, designed to save lives the moment an active shooter fires a bullet whether it’s at a school, office building, concert venue or even a stadium.

"In the event there is a shooting incident and our system has been deployed, our system receives that signal, analyzes it and through a dual validation we confirm that it is an actual gunshot,” said John Odell, a member of the Eagl Technology.

Normally attached to ceilings, the wireless device can even detect the type of weapon used after processing audio and energy waves.

The system can be connected to surveillance cameras which immediately pivot to track the shooter.

"So what's going to happen is I'm going to simulate a known device in the system. It will register right here in the very bottom left hand corner and it will pull up the cameras,” Odell said.

All of the information is immediately shared with local police, Odell said. People inside the building are notified through a smartphone alert system or loud speaker.

The goal: To minimize injuries and casualties.

"The faster we get information to the people who are responding and to the people who are in an incident during an active shooting, the better everybody is," Odell said.

Eagl Technology, the manufacturer of the Firefly, created the lifesaving system following Sandy Hook.

Odell happened to be in Houston in the days following Parkland. He was here to test the technology at a major local venue.

While the Firefly is not in place at any local schools right now, O'Dell said it performed well during tests on school campuses as well as during a recent test within the New York City subway system.

Odell said the Firefly has delivered in every instance.

"We have a zero false read," he said.

Hernandez supports any effort to bring better security measures to schools.

"Beefing up the security at school would just make everything better in the parents mind," he said.

Despite never seeing the Firefly in action, Benson is already a believer.

"It's something that needs to be introduced to all schools or all public areas where there are children or a gun can be introduced inside of a building," she said.

One might be thinking wireless technology, what if the power cuts off?

Eagl technologies says the system operates with a military-grade battery. The life of the battery is four years.

Translation? The system is always at the ready.

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