A new study by a US organization promoting school safety has found the troubling trend that bomb threats in US schools have surged significantly in recent years. Against this backdrop, security solutions that deliver information in a timely, accurate matter among students, staff and law enforcement become key in the event of a threat, be it a bomb or an active shooter.
In a recent report by the Educator's School Safety Network, it was found in the 2015-2016 school year, US schools have reported 1,267 bomb threats, an increase of 106 percent compared to that same time period in 2012-2013. The report also found that, on the contrary to the popular assumption that bomb threats mostly take place in high schools, 44 percent of threats took place in elementary or primary schools during 2005-2006, compared to 35 percent in high schools and 20 percent in middle schools.
Amid these disturbing trends, solutions that ensure rapid communication to all stakeholders have become critical. “Misinformation and confusion can travel quickly so institutions must have a strategy and the right technology to instantly deliver actionable information to the community,” said Todd Miller, VP of Public Safety at Rave Mobile Safety, an emergency response solutions provider. “Keep in mind, these types of situations are often fluid and can evolve quickly. Being able to continually communicate with the members of the instruction can not only go a long way to calm fears and maintain order, but more importantly it can provide actionable information that saves lives.”
Rave’s solution is called Rave Panic Button, which can either be triggered by faculty and staff in school or initiated by public safety officials. “Through the use of mobile phones that we all carry, school staff now have a way of instantly and automatically notifying both 9-1-1 and other staff members in the event of an emergency,” Miller said. “As an example, if there were an active shooter, pressing the active shooter button would notify all staff associated with the facility via a push notification, text message, and email while simultaneously calling 9-1-1 and delivering critical incident information to the 9-1-1 center such as floor plans, emergency response plans, and more. The notification sent to staff provides actionable information, allowing for lockdowns and evacuations based on school protocols.”
During a medical situation, Panic Button can also apply, except this time it will inform a reduced list of individuals for example school nurses or people with medical training. Finally, the app can help find missing children too. In a Washington county where the solution is deployed in the public school system, one of the schools reported a missing child using the app, which sent notifications to all stakeholders, leading to the eventual location of the child.