There is no set definition to describe a crisis response application or app in the K-12 education space, although the words 'crisis response' can give you an idea. A school crisis could be a range of different emergencies, such as an active assailant, severe weather threat, fire, or medical emergency. When a crisis occurs on school grounds, having the right technology to assist administrators and staff could mean all the difference.
During an active assailant situation, severe weather event, or medical emergency, seconds could cost lives. Could a crisis response app help? The answer is simply, yes.
What is a Crisis Response App
A crisis response app in K-12 education is typically considered school safety communication technology that is designed to help districts enable a faster response to school emergencies as well as effective communication between necessary parties including incident managers, first responders, other schools within the district, schoolteachers and staff. One example of a crisis response app is a mobile panic button app. During a school emergency situation or crisis, utilizing this technology can cut precious seconds off response times, which could mean the difference between life or death.
What Situations Would a School Benefit from a Crisis Response App?
There are multiple use cases for a crisis response app during school emergencies. Take a look at the following examples that prove the necessity of having crisis response technology implemented within a school or district.
- Medical Emergency: If there is a medical emergency on school grounds, such as a lethal allergy or heart attack, immediate medical attention is required. A crisis response app can instantly notify 9-1-1, school staff, and even onsite employees who may have medical experience and can help.
- Active Assailant: Having an active assailant on the premises is a school’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, it’s a situation schools must prepare for in this day and age, with the increase of active shooter events across the United States. During an active assailant event law enforcement typically arrive while the assailant is still active around 30-50% of the time, which proves how quickly this emergency escalates. A crisis response app, such as a mobile panic button, can reduce the time it takes to report an active assailant to 9-1-1, first responders, and school personnel, which prompts a faster response by first responders and alerts faculty to go into a lockdown to prevent further injury to staff and students.
- Severe Weather: Severe weather events are often unpredictable, especially natural disasters such as tornadoes or earthquakes, which is why it’s important to have crisis response technology. Immediately sending word out to school staff and faculty through a crisis response app, whether a panic button or emergency notification system, can help facilitate necessary emergency protocols and protect students and staff.
- Fire: Seconds count during a fire emergency on school grounds. It can take just minutes for thick black smoke and flames to engulf classrooms and school buildings, which is why using crisis response technology is essential. Crisis response apps can be used to accelerate the evacuation process for students and staff and simultaneously inform firefighters and first responders with critical information such as the location of the fire so that they are prepared when arriving on scene.
- Critical Report: A crisis response app is also an essential tool during a school violence incident, missing student, or in the instance of potential weapons or drug use on school campus. Mobile panic button technology can immediately place a 9-1-1 call and alert faculty and staff of what is going on and in what school building.
Helpful Tools to Look for Within a Crisis Response App
Although a crisis response app, such as a mobile panic button, is essential during a school crisis to communicate with first responders and school personnel, it’s important to look for the following features.
Is it an Autonomous Solution?
An autonomous school safety solution essentially means when one action is taken, a series of workflows are set up to prompt multiple features to work together. A mobile panic button app is an autonomous solution, for example. When a button is pressed 9-1-1 is contacted, location data and facility maps are shared, on-site staff receive a notification with actionable items or checklists, live video footage can be activated, as well as PA systems, digital and visual signage, and access control systems. Users don’t need to do any of the above as the technology takes care of everything itself.
Proven Ability to Send Instant Notifications
When investing in a crisis response app, it’s important that it has a proven ability to send instant notifications. If it does not, then there is no way to rely on the technology during an emergency situation or school crisis.
Accurate Location-Based Alerting
Accurate location-based alerting goes hand-in-hand with instant notifications. When a mobile panic button is activated, first responders must be alerted immediately with location information to help them when responding and arriving on scene. Some crisis response technologies allow users to map out, identify, and label specific school boundaries of all school buildings and outdoor spaces.
It Heightens Situational Awareness
Incident managers and district administrators want to have the ability to monitor an emergency situation as it unfolds. Finding a crisis response app that allows them to remotely log into an incident management dashboard can provide critical information and assist in helping users coordinate the appropriate response and school resources from afar.
Demonstrated Coordination and Response
Finding a crisis response technology that is able to integrate with local 9-1-1 center’s emergency response system is a great tool in enhancing overall emergency response. Providing critical information and data, such as floor plans, caller location, emergency exits and entry points, and emergency contacts to first responders during a school crisis is a great way to enhance coordination with first responders.