It's now been six months since the recent Uvalde shooting, which was just the latest in the series of 35 school shootings that have taken place so far (as of Oct. 11, 2022), resulting in 30 deaths and 79 people injured.
The rise in school deaths and violence is mind-numbing, but states and districts are becoming more proactive in their efforts to stem the continuing rise of school threats and emergencies. One example is the new grant programs for schools to purchase silent panic alert technologies that schools can use to signal a life-threatening situation or emergency--such as an active shooter, intruder, or other incident requiring a response from law enforcement and/or other first responders.
What is a Panic Alert System?
A Panic Alert System — sometimes called a "panic button" — is a simple, intuitive, and turnkey application used by school and workplace staff to instantly alert and request help from colleagues and/or 911 emergency assistance.
Approved users can access the Panic Alert System on their mobile phone or desktop. Individuals can request assistance with the touch of a button - sending the emergency type and location to colleagues and/or 911 responders. Administrators can quickly and easily send teams — and emergency responders — custom alerts and preloaded response plans based on incident type.
Four Steps to Achieving Better Outcomes with a Panic Alert System
A Panic Alert System simplifies your emergency response planning and creates more optimal outcomes in the event of an emergency. Here are four steps to integrating your Panic Alert System with your safety planning. Many of these steps involve streamlined communications for faster, more impactful responses.
- Link Directly to 911 Emergency Assistance - One of the first steps in any emergency is to alert 911. What if this could be done with the push of a button while you simultaneously alert other teams and individuals in harm's way?
- Centralize Team Communications - You don't want to waste time and response resources on decentralized updates. Integrating with 911 is key, but so too is centralizing your internal team communications within your school or workplace.
- Customize Alerts & Response Plans - Every school or workplace needs different response plans and alert types for unique circumstances like natural disasters, school protocols, and environments that have varied risks. The good news is that the best Panic Alert Systems can be integrated into these unique situations. Your team can customize buttons, preloaded response plans, and alerts to suit your situation and get the most appropriate help.
- Combine With Comprehensive Safety Solutions - Panic Alert Systems are just one element of an overall safety solution. Combine your Panic Alert System with other safety solutions such as Anonymous Reporting System Threat Assessment Case Management and training curriculums to create a comprehensive safety net.
What is an Anonymous Reporting System?
Anonymous Reporting Systems (ARS) empower individuals to report safety and misconduct concerns BEFORE they escalate into a crisis. This powerful tool provides a mobile app, website, and telephone hotline for users to gather and submit actionable information, including screenshots, photos, audio, and videos, to intervene and get help for individuals who may want to hurt themselves or others.
A 24/7/365 Incident Response Center with certified specialists monitor, manage and notify officials and 911 (as needed) of submitted incidents. When needed for any life-threatening situations, the specialists alert assigned officials via escalation email, text, and phone calls.
Some solutions, like STOPit's Anonymous Reporting System, will connect students or staff with a crisis counselor 24/7 using text or Facebook messenger. A live-trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds from the ARS platform. Counselors are trained to help move individuals from a hot to a cool place
The system documents steps taken when an incident is submitted and captures all responses, actions, and plans. This documentation allows you to reference, track, and/or gather inputs to comply with your organization, state, and federal policies.
Simplicity is Essential for Rapid Response
In any school crisis, time is of the essence. With no time to waste, your technology should make reporting, alerts and notifications, collaboration, and communication as easy, fast, and accurate as possible. An all-in-one, mobile-first technology for panic alerts, communication, emergency management, and incident resolution systems can provide a comprehensive solution with the flexibility to meet your district's needs.