Is your school prepared in the event of an emergency? Whether it’s a natural disaster, an intruder, a medical emergency, or even a global pandemic, schools need emergency response tools to ensure on-site safety.
Having the best possible emergency response and panic alarm solution in place is the ultimate investment in the safety of your school. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 69.8% of active shooter incidents end in 5 minutes or less and 36.5% of incidents end in 2 minutes or less. The amount of time it takes to report and respond to an emergency can literally mean the difference between life and death.
What is a School Panic Button? Panic buttons are a tool that allows staff to request help in the case of an emergency. However, not all emergencies require the same response and only some ensure that the right people are responding to the right emergencies. For example, a student having a seizure will require medical attention whereas a fight between students requires the response of a resource officer. The best panic buttons will pinpoint both the type of incident and the exact location in which it is occurring. That’s the only way to provide the quickest and most appropriate response.
Panic buttons are not one-size-fits-all so it is critical to find the best solution to protect your school community. Here’s a look at some of the solutions on the market.
Hard-wired wall buttons are installed throughout the school in offices, classrooms, and hallways. During an emergency, a student or staff member may push the button to send an emergency notification. While they are widely used, hard-wired buttons cannot be pushed discreetly and could be hard to reach in certain situations. Additionally, they do not provide any information about the type of emergency that is happening or what help is needed.
Smartphone apps are an increasingly popular choice for panic buttons because they require minimal installation. The app is installed on personal smartphones and alerts are sent through WiFi or cellular networks. Smartphone apps may also send location information through GPS. They are easy to access and discreet, however they pose a major privacy risk to staff. They give little or no disclosure about which third parties have access to this data and put the personal data of staff and students at risk.
WiFi or GPS-enabled panic buttons are typically portable pendants that can send emergency alerts and location information. These panic buttons are suitable for schools that only require one type of response. For instance, WiFi and GPS-enabled panic buttons work for active assailant events to discreetly send a lockdown alert. While convenient and simple to use, WiFi and GPS are completely unreliable during natural disasters or emergencies where power or internet connection is unreliable. GPS location information is also imprecise for indoor location positioning, resulting in “room bouncing” or “floor hopping”.
Keep classrooms safer with Volan Technology’s precise people positioning software.
Bluetooth mesh networks provide the most accurate location information of all the panic button solutions, delivering room-level precision in both indoor and outdoor settings. A Bluetooth mesh network operates independently of WiFi, cellular, and GPS with no impact to school networks or infrastructure. Bluetooth-enabled panic buttons can also function during emergency situations when no power is available. Bluetooth connections only work in a designated range and automatically disconnect once a user is off-premises. This is vital to protect user privacy. Volan Technology’s Bluetooth panic button solution is uniquely capable of silent two-way communication to report incidents and receive safety instructions.
Contact the Volan Technology team of experts to make an informed decision about the best panic button solution for your school community.
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