Public Address Systems, Personal Intercoms & Pagers

Whether a security officer uses a two-way radio, telephone, public address system, intercom, or pager, the goal is identical – to send a message and for the receiver to understand the intended message.

Public Address (P.A.) System

Security officers may use the public-address system for routine paging of employees, for phone calls or during an emergency evacuation when all employees must evacu­ate the facility immediately. Many public-address systems or satellite systems are stationed at security posts. Usually there are clear and explicit instructions as to when a secu­rity officer is permitted to use the public-address system. If it becomes necessary to use the P.A. system, the following guidelines should be followed:

  1. Speak slowly and confidently. It is best to have what you intend to say written down in front of you. Practice reading it a few times before using the P.A. system.
  2. Keep your statement brief.
  3. Upon completion, repeat your statement completely and you may want to state something to the effect that, “This message will be repeated in twenty seconds/minutes.”
  4. Have another security officer or member of management verify that the message could, in fact, be heard.
  5. If necessary, continue to repeat the message.

As with all communication equipment, security officers must assume that all of their discussions, dialogue and background noise (music or conversation) can be overheard by others. Security officers must assume that others may be in the vicinity of the person receiving the communication. For that very reason, be sure that all communication is brief and professional at all times!


Intercoms are either “hardwired” between receiving stations or they are “wireless”, whereby transmission is re­layed through the air. For security purposes, most intercoms are used to gain access through a secured area that is nor­mally controlled by security, usually by way of an electronic lock. Ideally, a CCTV camera is used in conjunction with an intercom in order to ensure that the security officer on duty is not granting access to someone based solely on voice rec­ognition. However, it is not uncommon for intercoms to be used without a camera or other means for providing positive identification.

When a person calls using an intercom, the security officer will normally be alerted via a beeper, buzzer, chime, or bell. The security officer should push the “talk” button on the intercom and identify him/herself by stating, “This is s security officer Jones, may I help you?” The caller should identify him/herself and should be asked to state the reason they desire access. Once the security officer has positively identified the person, instructions should be given to the per­son and grant access, if warranted. If the security officer can­not identify the person, the visitor should be directed to an entrance to the facility that is controlled by a posted security officer.


Pagers are normally of two types: voice activated or phone activated. With voice activated pagers, the security officer will dial a number and after hearing a series of tones, will verbally transmit a message such as, “Bob, this is Officer Jones at the Acme plant. Please call me immediately at the plant at 216-555-3245.” The message should be repeat­ed a second time. Remember to speak slowly and clearly.

With phone activated pagers, the security officer will use the touch tone buttons of the telephone to call a number. After hearing the tones, the phone number that is to be called is “touch-toned” and either the # button is pressed or the caller can just hang up. With either type of pager, please lis­ten to any available verbal instructions as different systems can vary.