Customer Success Story
Hatch Valley Public School District Deploys Rave Panic Button to Enhance School Safety
The Hatch Valley Public Schools district covers an area of 1,125 square miles and is the 42nd largest district in land area of the 89 school districts in New Mexico.
Students, teachers, staff and school leaders are now on campuses across New Mexico’s Hatch Valley Public School District after months of being remote during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of their return, school leaders have deployed the Rave Panic Button to over 150 teachers, staff and supervisors throughout the district. It includes five schools with about 1,200 students. One school is located about 10 miles away from the district office and the other four schools. The district has one school resource officer, who travels between these schools.
The Rave Panic Button, which is part of a critical communication and collaboration platform, is a one-click mobile app that allows employees to instantly connect to 9-1-1, first responders and necessary personnel simultaneously. The app shares critical response data, as well as automatically broadcasts to additional channels including desktop alerts and digital signage.
“We’re a small district, but we can always work on being more connected,” said Dr. Toni Hull, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instructional Innovation at Hatch Valley Public Schools. “One of our goals as a district is to connect our schools. We want to be more connected and consistent with our practices. The Panic Button is one way to do this.”
“Every staff will feel connected and informed because of Rave,” Hull added. “The schools all have their own individual safety plans. This [tool] unifies our district. It allows those who serve multiple roles to support them.”
Hatch Valley Public School District’s deployment of the Rave Panic Button app is part of a statewide initiative to enhance school safety across New Mexico. The mobile app will be implemented to all of New Mexico’s K–12 public and charter schools, totaling 866 schools across 90 districts.
The Hatch Valley Public School District is in Hatch, a village in Doña Ana County. The village is located approximately 40 miles northwest of Las Cruces, and about 80 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas.
The district’s rollout of Panic Button will also help the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA) respond to emergencies at the Hatch Valley Public School District. MVRDA is the 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the county, including the cities of La Cruces, Sunland Park and Anthony, the town of Mesilla, and Hatch. It dispatches for about 30 fire stations, seven law enforcement and one ambulance service agencies. There are about 7–14 dispatchers handling and dispatching calls to the proper agency.
“When there’s a 9-1-1 call from the school, we’ll get the information from the caller and confirm the location,” said Albert Flores, deputy director at MVRDA. “We’ll repeat it several times throughout the process. We don’t want to send anyone to the wrong location. We’re trying to verify their exact location at the school.”
Through Rave Panic Button, there will be a direct integration from the schools in the Hatch Valley Public School District to 9-1-1. MVRDA dispatchers will know about the type of emergency, the location and key contact information, and share this information with first responders. Dispatchers and first responders will also be able to access and view schools’ floor plans and maps, including entrances, exits and reunification sites.
“It will make things happen a lot faster,” Flores said. “In our field, we say, ‘9-1-1 saves seconds and seconds saves lives.’ We’re going to definitely shave off quite a few seconds [with the app].”
“There’s always that chance if they’re calling 9-1-1, I hate to hear it but it does happen, they’re going to hear a recording that 9-1-1 is busy right now,” he continued. “Now you’re not going to see that at all. It’s just going to come to our screens and get our attention. The call is going to be entered really fast.”
“It will make things happen a lot faster. In our field, we say, ‘9-1-1 saves seconds and seconds saves lives.’ We’re going to definitely shave off quite a few seconds [with the app].”
MESILLA VALLEY REGIONAL DISPATCH AUTHORITY
From a school leader perspective, Hull expects the Panic Button app to make emergency response efforts more efficient and ease any possible confusion.
“As a former school principal, I know that when a safety event occurs multiple things happen all at once,” she said. “First someone’s got to call someone, someone else has got to do something, and then someone is looking for the radio. You’re trying to think of all those people and it’s so difficult. It’s super chaotic.”
“This way it’s only one device and everybody who needs to be notified for that type of incident gets it,” Hull continued. “It’s what I think will be a game changer.”
Hull will be working with the district’s personnel to ensure other Panic Button features, including internal staff communication, will be part of their everyday routines. Internal staff communication allows authorized employees to notify staff about administrative updates, minor medical incidents and other issues without calling 9-1-1.
For both Flores and Hull, the Rave Panic Button’s ability to deliver details about an emergency will help keep everyone in the know and safe.
“Making sure everyone goes home safely is always our goal,” Flores said. “The safety of our public safety responders and our community is always important.”
Hull said the information Hatch Valley personnel will be able to share during an incident will allow school leaders to gain a better understanding of what happened as they hold debriefings.
“This is a way to keep people informed and information eases people’s mind and helps them feel safer,” Hull said. “Debriefing after an incident is critical because that’s going to give you that information. An indicator of success will be if they say, ‘It was scary, but I felt like I was informed. I knew what was going on. I knew it was under control.’”
“It’s going to be very helpful tool for our schools,” she continued. “Your number-one goal before instruction is safety. It’s the biggest responsibility that you have as a school leader. It’s not one to be taken lightly, but it’s not one to be fearful of. During the time of that panicked situation, you want to be able to press a button and people will be there to help.”
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