'Panic button' for K-12 schools unveiled

Admin

State legislators unveiled an emergency alert button for K-12 schools, as part of the School Safety Act of 2015, during a news conference Tuesday at the Arkansas State Capitol.

The "panic button," a product of Framingham, Mass.-based Rave Mobile Safety, will be implemented at more than 1,000 public schools across Arkansas during the 2015-16 school year.

Its intent is to provide enhanced security measures for more than 500,000 Arkansas students, faculty and staff through what Rave Mobile Safety describes as a "simple five-button interface."

"Having the ability to instantaneously connect teachers and school administrators with 9-1-1 and other emergency personnel will give us, and Arkansas parents, a much greater sense of confidence as we begin a new school year," state Education Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement.

State Reps. Scott Baltz, D-Pocahontas, and Bruce Cozart, R-Hot Springs, as well as state Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock, sponsored Act 950, which spearheaded the project.

"It is truly regrettable that we live in a time when schools and other locations have to worry about and prepare for various crisis situations," Baltz said in a statement. "This powerful solution, which we hope to never have to use for an active shooter, will allow our response teams to have precious minutes, which translates to lives."

Teachers and administrators are able to receive quick notifications about an active-shooter scenario or other emergency situation on school grounds and can contact first responders directly with the "panic button," according to Rave Mobile Safety.

The product is integrated with the state's existing 9-1-1 service, Smart911.

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