Keeping School Children Safe Outdoors with an Emergency App

Picture of Mary Kate McGrath By Mary Kate McGrath

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With the season for outdoor recess in full swing, school administrators need to put plans into place to keep the children in their care safe from danger and injury. They should consider the most effective ways for seeking emergency help when unforeseeable emergencies occur.

Every school administrator would like to be the architect of a safe, supportive environment in which children thrive educationally and socially. Sadly, this is not always possible. Children are children and they do not always recognize the signs of danger and act accordingly. As a consequence, some children suffer unintentional injuries in avoidable accidents. 

Many schools have introduced safety measures to mitigate the risk of injury to children. From installing safer playground surfaces in order to prevent unintentional injuries, to engaging School Resource Officers in order to enhance security, efforts are being made in many different areas to keep school children safe during outdoor recess. Unfortunately, injuries still occur, but by putting a plan in place the dangers can be minimized. 

Accurate School Injury Statistics are Hard to Find

Accurate school injury statistics are hard to find for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is that school injury statistics are factor into commercial school rankings. The safer a school appears, the higher a commercial score it achieves. Furthermore, many states offer Safe School Programs in which K-12 schools qualify for grants if they can show an improvement in their safety records. 

These financial incentives mean that school injury statistics are frequently under reported, including both injuries suffered by children and by teachers. Often, incidents are only reported if the police or emergency medical services have been involved, or if a parent has filed a lawsuit against a school for a breach in its duty of care. Therefore, most school injury statistics found on the Internet are unlikely to offer a the whole picture when it comes to a school's overall safety. 

Seeking Emergency Help When the Unforeseen Occurs

For all the mitigating measures implemented by schools, it is impossible to anticipate every possible event in which dangers can be present or injuries can occur. When such events do occur, it is important that mechanisms are in place to help educators or other bystanders seek emergency help as quickly as possible. In dire emergency situations, minutes can cost lives. Ever second counts in a fire, when a child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, or when an active shooter is on school premises.

Various mechanisms exist to seek emergency help, but few of them are fully effective at getting the right emergency response to the right location in the shortest possible time. For example:

  • Hard-wired panic buttons installed on a wall or under a desk can be valuable during emergency, and are somewhat effective when the emergency is occurring where the panic button is located. However, many panic buttons contact an alarm company instead of reaching law enforcement or first response teams directly. When the button is pushed and reaches this third party company, it doesn't notify authorities of the nature of the emergency, or who is seeking help. Even worse, by routing the call through the alarm company it can put off the response. In emergency situations, seconds can count, and the last thing school administrators need is a delay in getting help. Should the emergency occur in a playground or on a sports field, this is added time in addition to the valuable minutes lost before the panic button is activated. The panic buttons aren't equipped with two-way communication either - once it is pressed, there is no way for the alarm company or law enforcement to stay in touch with individual who requested help. 
  • A similar scenario occurs when playground supervisors are equipped with walkie-talkies. Although a walkie-talkie will enable a playground supervisor to communicate the nature of an emergency faster to a school administrator, the process is not as quick as seeking emergency help directly from 9-1-1.
  • To eliminate any delay, wearable wireless panic buttons have been issued to some teachers. These key rings, watches and pendants can be effective if the teacher remembers to wear them and keep them fully-charged, but they often come at a high expense. School budgets can be tight, and no administration should have to choose which teachers or employees are offered these technology. Also, many of these solutions  connect through an alarm company, like a stationary panic button would. While eventually contacting 9-1-1, the rerouting of the call and the fact that these tools can't communicate the nature of the emergency will again take additional time.

The Rave Panic Button for Keeping Children Safe Outdoors

The Rave Panic Button is a smartphone app that overcomes the issues mentioned above and can be used for keeping children safe outdoors . Teachers can activate the Panic Button with the press of a screen and, rather than just alert 9-1-1 to an emergency, teachers have a choice of selecting which emergency service they need (fire, medical, active shooter or other event requiring police assistance).

When the Rave Panic Button is activated, 9-1-1 dispatchers immediately see who activated the button, where they are located, and the type of emergency service being requested. They can also view details of the school premises, including the best access points, floor plans and utility cut-off points. This level of information helps accelerate the dispatch of the right emergency service and can better prepare first responders before they arrive.

As well as saving time, and potentially saving lives, the Rave Panic Button can be used in non-emergency events to summon help from on-premise security or medical personnel. If, for example, a child has been injured in a playground accident - and the accident is not sufficiently serious to warrant calling 9-1-1 - teachers can seek help from colleagues without having to leave the playground unattended. This feature helps improve the safety of other children enjoying the recess.

There's another key feature of the solution that teachers might not get from a traditional panic button tool. While a panic button might alert law enforcement of the emergency, it doesn't allow for teachers or administrators to communicate with each other. A unique feature of Rave Panic Button is that it allows the user to communicate the emergency to the entire campus, keeping the whole community informed. When law enforcement or a first response team does arrive at the scene, other teachers and students can also act accordingly. 

Find Out More about the Rave Panic Button for Schools

The Rave Panic Button for schools will always be within reach, and has an advantage for that reason. A smartphone is not so easy to forget as a wearable pendant and is more likely to be kept fully charged. It represents a quick and economical way to seek emergency help in the event of danger or injury to either a child or a teacher, and can be integrated with incident command and mapping systems to enhance situational awareness and improve communications during an emergency.

To find out more about the Rave Panic Button for schools, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of technical experts will be happy to answer any questions you have and will discuss your specific requirements with you in order to organize a demonstration of the Rave Panic Button tailored to your needs. It costs nothing to find out more, so contact us today. You could be making a valuable contribution to a safe, supportive environment for the children in your care.

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Mary Kate McGrath

Written by Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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