MARYSVILLE – Ever since the shooting tragedy at Marysville-Pilchuck a few years ago, the school district has been doing whatever it can to improve security.
One of the newest things it is going to do is the use of what is called the Rave Panic Button. It is being piloted at Shoultes Elementary School now, but the district plans to roll it out to the other schools by the end of the year.
Shoultes Principal Lynn Heimsoth is a big fan of the smartphone app. “We haven’t had to use it much, luckily,” she said.
With the cell phone program, the button communicates an emergency within seconds to 9-1-1, on-site personnel, staff and security. When someone initiates a panic call, everyone in the building is notified where the emergency is. That way teachers can keep students away from any danger the moment something happens. Lockdowns, evacuations and other emergency procedures are then done with more knowledge about what’s going on.
With this process, dispatchers can get vital information to first-responders, such as floor plans, emergency response plans and contact information about the school involved. It can be used for all types of emergencies, too. Shoultes used it when a student had a seizure and also on a weekend for a weapon on campus, which proved to be a pellet gun. In the medical emergency, Heimsoth said she was alerted right away while she was in a classroom.
“I knew right away what was happening,” she said.
Heimsoth said she likes the system because there can be a lot of misinformation going around during a crisis.
“Everybody hears the siren. It raises everybody’s anxiety,” she said.
With Rave, she can text the entire staff and tell them everything’s OK, and then send updates after that, too.
“Communication is more efficient,” she said.
When it came to the pellet gun, Heimsoth said she was at home in Bellingham, but was notified on the weekend when a community member reported a weapon seen on campus. What the principal likes most about the panic button is her staff feels better informed.
“When the staff feels safe they can concentrate on learning” for the students, she said.
Craig Dennis, facility director for the Marysville School District, said it is very easy to download the app on a smart
phone. For details, go to www.ravepanicbutton.com.