How Mobile Panic Buttons Better Protect Students and Staff
A smart, cost-effective school safety solution
By Bryan Tracey
Education budgets are tight, and schools need a cost-effective, scalable system to alert staff and law enforcement in case of an on-site emergency.
Many schools see fixed panic buttons as the simplest way to meet security mandates. However, fixed panic buttons may actually create significant gaps in security and lead to a false sense of safety. Fortunately, wireless technology provides the optimal solution.
“School administrators or teachers need to provide responding officers with immediate and accurate information so they can respond accordingly to eliminate threats, manage panic and summon additional first responders if needed.” -Kenneth Boudreau, Commanding Officer, Bureau of Organized Crime and School Safety
Real-time Alerting, Anywhere, Everywhere
The mobile Help Alert® Wireless Staff Duress solution presents faculty a portable lifeline, ready for activation, anytime, anywhere. With traditional systems, the teacher observing the incident during an emergency must travel to the panic button, wasting critical time. Instead, the small, discreet Help Alert pendant fits in a pocket, can be worn on a lanyard, or clipped to a belt. Help Alert leverages the school’s existing Wi-Fi network, allowing alerts from throughout the school facility and grounds – including the front desk, classrooms, the cafeteria – and even the playground.
Help Alert transforms every staff member into a critical element of a school’s security system. They become the eyes and ears of a security program anywhere and everywhere on campus. The system enables staff members to alert at the very first sign of trouble or even suspicious activity, potentially preventing the escalation of violence. And because faculty and staff can discreetly wear Help Alert tags, they can issue an instant alert, without telegraphing their actions to threats, such as bullying incidents, weapons carriers, or unauthorized personnel on campus.
One press of the Help Alert pendant sends instant, simultaneous notifications to all security monitoring systems, law enforcement, and available mobile devices. The alert process only takes seconds. In fact, fixed location panic buttons simply cannot meet the scenarios detailed above without forcing the incident reporter to take extra steps before issuing an alert.
Districts can use Help Alert as a key component of their overall safety and security infrastructure, greatly extending and leveraging other investments such as video cameras, mass notification systems, and School Resource Officers (SROs). The system ranges beyond the reach of most video systems by allowing activation by staff members in the classrooms, restrooms, locker rooms, anywhere that safety and security issues arise, and not just in the front office.
A Low-cost, Entry-level Solution that Scales
In today’s climate of doing more with less, districts need a system that meets the needs of both basic and complex security requirements. Some districts may only need a simple panic button at the front office and at strategic locations, while others may require an intelligent, mobile wireless panic button. Help Alert helps schools meet all these needs while providing a cost-effective, future-proofed solution.
Districts, Principals, and faculty should seriously consider the wide range of benefits of a mobile wireless system like Help Alert. Help Alert can quickly be installed using any existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, without having to add additional access points. What’s more, faculty and staff can use their pendant to selectively activate a basic alarm call for a local response, or a higher priority alarm to immediately notify law enforcement of active shooter, stabbing, weapon on campus, and other life-threatening emergencies. Help Alert serves as both a mobile pendant and panic alarm, allowing users to send the alert signal from anywhere, including areas video systems cannot capture.
“Help Alert eliminates the cloud of confusion in the first moments of an incident and allows for an informed approach to assist first responders in these tragic occurrences.” -Kenneth Boudreau, Commanding Officer, Bureau of Organized Crime and School Safety
A Proactive Force Multiplier
Help Alert serves as a force multiplier, enabling SROs and security teams to quickly arrive where they are needed, reducing the threat to faculty and students. The location of an alarming tag is updated every 10 seconds. The location and a photo of the alarming staff member can be viewed on a site map from the Help Alert User Interface. Maps can be accessed on desktop computers, Apple® iPhone® and other iOS devices, tablets, and Android™ devices. Responders can activate and remotely view video camera images selectable on the map via the User Interface. Alarm information is also distributed via email or SMS and can be integrated into a district’s existing messaging platform.
Schools gain a proactive solution that seamlessly integrates and complements an overall school safety plan. Districts can now free up resources and provide the right information to the right responders, quickly and efficiently – while presenting a safe environment for students, parents, and faculty.