Rapid Response For Your Entire Community

July 1, 2019
Safety Insight

Threats can emerge from virtually anywhere - from tornados, floods, hurricanes, and other severe weather events to health concerns like drugs, weapons, or violence - making it important to have response protocols to account for all of them. For many of the situations that occur, your onsite safety team can address them, however some will require outside assistance. 


When seconds count having a tight collaboration with your local first responder can drastically improve their response times. Watch our on-demand presentation and download the slides to learn how you can use converging technologies to save time in an emergency, improve role-based notifications and communications, and build a comprehensive safety network throughout your entire community.


If you would like to learn more about how we’re connecting school districts and first responders, download this guide

Video Transcription

Good afternoon or good morning, depending on where you're located. This is Dr. Joe Erardi. I'm really pleased that you're with us for this relatively brief webinar. We're looking to share information for about 25 to 30 minutes, answer questions, and hopefully you will leave with valued information for your new school year.


Thirty seconds just about who I am. I’m a retired school superintendent, and was a superintendent for nearly 20 years in the state of Connecticut. I had the privilege to end my career post Sandy Hook tragedy, the last four years of my career was spent on the rebuild and the recovery of Newtown Public Schools. Post retirement, I’ve had the privilege to work as a consultant for the National Superintendents Organization, AASA. Thus, my opportunity to go across the country more than a few times to share best practices on school safety.


What excites me about this presentation is that the information that we're looking to share with our listeners is information that is hands-on for safety school officials and safety public officials. Thus, the formula that I believe is the optimal formula for response time is going to unfold for you in the next few moments. Questions that you see on the screen, are things that are really just important, it's the who, the how, the why, the what, the where. All of those things matter in the moment.


What the country has learned, that I think you're all aware of this, is that we go back nearly 20 years to Columbine and play it forward to Parkland and in between Newtown, Sandy Hook. When the Columbine crisis took place, the SWAT team, a highly sophisticated SWAT team needed to assemble. By the time the assembly took place, too late. Newtown, Sandy Hook, their response, one plus one. First responder, wait, second person then go in. Parkland, first up, first on, first in. What we've learned is that school safety continues to have great debate, but one piece which is not debatable that's agreed by all stakeholders is that time is simply treasure.


What we'd like to be able to share with you is a very unique partnership, and a partnership resulting in the absolute best response time if your district or your community or your school is in a moment of great concern. Doesn't have to be an active shooter, could be a lot of different great concerns. Could be a gas leak in the science department, could be many different things. But each one of these partners are dependent on each other.


CrisisGo, which is an industry leader, AASA Safety Solutions partner in two-way communications. They're going out of their way to be user-friendly to public schools. They've partnered with Sonim and FirstNet. The Sonim Telecommunications, actually, you'll see a partnership that is very unique as we unfold the webinar. None of this matters if it's not a reliable network, thus FirstNet.


What we're planning to share with you is how this plays out to the user, how this plays out in the moment, and how we believe that this saves precious seconds for the absolutely best, and most efficient response if there's something active in your district. The interoperability between FirstNet, Sonim, and CrisisGo, will be further defined by Lee Ballentine. Lee Ballentine is an Executive Area Sales Rep for FirstNet. Lee, if you would.


Thank you, Doctor. I appreciate it. Thanks for the opportunity to speak about FirstNet today. Also, I want to thank the folks on the call and the role that you're playing in each of your schools to keep students safe every day during the school year. As the doctor explained, we're here to talk about ways we can together enable faster and coordinate better response during a crisis.


FirstNet. What is FirstNet? FirstNet came out of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission Report recommended that our country have a wireless network dedicated to public safety. That network was launched over a year-and-a-half ago. It is up and running across our country. This is a robust ecosystem incorporating many devices, services, applications, and a network specifically built for public safety and schools. We'll talk a little bit more about that as we progress. First responders, say your resource officers or first responders in your schools, they have priority on the FirstNet Network, and they can extend priority to administration and other groups during an emergency or crisis.


Here's a great video that's available out on YouTube, we'll send you the link after the presentation. This is a success story from Texas City ISD. In this video, the school district talks abouts the most important thing to them is communication and communication during a crisis.


What happens during an emergency or a crisis at a school? We've learned that every kid picks up their phone, every parent calls the school, and within a matter of minutes the wireless networks are congested around that support with first responders and support the schools. FirstNet is the answer. FirstNet allows you to have priority above the student and above the parent so that you can coordinate your response, evacuate the kids, and protect the safety of the kids. 


Let's break it down a little bit here. We've talked a little bit about the network, but this is a dedicated network, purpose-built just for first responders and approved organizations like schools. It provides priority and preemption on the FirstNet network. What that means is, when you're on your wireless device, you're at the top of the tower, you have priority over all the users on that tower.


Preemption means you come up to a school or a situation and the tower is full, Preemption ruthlessly removes a user off that tower and makes room for that first responder. These are two things that we learned at 9/11; we've also learned them over again through whether it's hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods.


Part of this program is to expand coverage. We're spending $40 billion dollars at AT&T and six-and-a-half billion dollars from the Federal government to build this network out and improve coverage in the rural parts of the country. The next part is purpose-built devices. We'll talk about this a little bit later, but there are unique devices that have been built just for FirstNet, just for a push-to-talk communications, rugged devices. You can also use existing devices that you have today on the FirstNet platform in many cases.


Customer service is a big part. We have dedicated support. We also offer 72 deployables. Think of a deployable as SatCOLT, satellite on light truck. If you're a FirstNet primary user, you can request the SatCOLT during an emergency, crisis, or recovery event. There's no cost for the SatCOLT. They just bring coverage to an area that may be down. We're committed to a 7 to 14-hour response time for the SatCOLTs. Never been done before, it is part of our contract for FirstNet. This contract is a 25-year agreement that we will provide FirstNet services, AT&T will provide FirstNet services for our country.


Security, this is a highly secure crypto network; and Apps and Solutions. CrisisGo is a great example of application that's gone through the approval process and the security process in order to be part of the FirstNet ecosystem.


Sonim is a great partner. They are a purpose-built device, which is a highly rugged device. It's a perfect solution for school buses, for maintenance as well as for security officers, police officers, and schools. If you'll notice, there's a red button on the side. That button will integrate in with CrisisGo; it's an emergency notification button. It is a purpose-built device just for FirstNet and works hand-in-hand with CrisisGo. Here, I'd like to introduce Jim Spicuzza. He's the founder and Chief Product Officer at CrisisGo. Jim?


Thank you, Lee. As you see, FirstNet and Sonim really do a great job of connecting school safety leaders with first responders on that reliable network that's always available to them. Where CrisisGo comes in is CrisisGo connects those safety leaders at the school district with all of their staff and administration, as well as their students, to provide safety communication throughout the organization.


As critical events happen at the school district, they are instantly escalated to the first responders through the CrisisGo app, so that everybody can participate on the same communication channels, to make sure we have the best situational awareness and response possible. CrisisGo can also activate your safety and security devices instantly at the same time, so that whether it's your strobe light outside your building, it's the siren that you have going outside the playground, or even your door lock system, everything happens at once, reducing the time that Dr. Erardi had mentioned that it takes to get a response.


CrisisGo provides a few tools that school districts need to handle the workflow that happens once a critical event happens. Things like two-way real time communication, having that emergency plan on their mobile device, the ability for staff to check in so we know that they're safe, account for students on their mobile devices, for fast and efficient identification of missing students, and even post-event student reunification. CrisisGo does this on all device types. Whether it's your mobile devices, your Mac, your PC, your Chromebook, whatever device you're using, you need to be connected. CrisisGo also provides a Student Safe Companion app, really important part if we want students to participate on our safety network. Dr. Erardi, I'm going to pass it back to you.


Jim, thank you. Folks, as we wind into our final third of the formal presentation, part of what I speak to and what I absolutely believe is, I don't ever want a school leader or public safety official to stand in front of the crush of a national or international audience and say, "I wish I had, I wish I could have, I wish I would have. I wish I'd paid better attention too." Really, what this formula allows public and school safety officials to be able to emphatically state is that they've examined a critical piece of their safety plan.


Again, I'm a believer that a safety plan is never done. However, you've examined a critical piece of your safety plan and that you're able to stay truthfully and through research that you're first responders, your admin, and your staff are all understanding that time is critical and they're all on the path of saving precious seconds. 


When the day is done, if you ask parents across this great country, they're not going to necessarily talk about their child's test score. They're going to talk about two things: They're going to talk about when they send their child to school, there's an expectation that their child is safe; and when they send their child to school there's an expectation that the adults in front of that child has been the absolute best mentor and role model for their son or daughter. I do believe that with CrisisGo, with Sonim, with FirstNet, with this equation for time, you as a school leader and as a safety official, you're able to put a check in a really important box that says, "Optimal response in case of emergency." 


What we've talked about over the past 15 or 20 minutes is everyone on the same page, a community acting and understanding together, a community caring together and a community responding together. A response and the care within the community that's all done within best practice. I've vetted out dozens, if not hundreds of safety products. Part of my present work is to only endorse and recommend what I believe works at a high level and works in real-time. Thus, the reason why I'm excited to share this with you, with CrisisGo, with Sonim and with FirstNet. 


A picture tells you a thousand words. If there's a picture that shows connectivity between all of your stakeholders, transportation, education, public works, so on, things all right working. This is just not a picture, it's an opportunity to take a look at what could be in place, what should be in place in every school district in the country. Let me bring back, if I could, Lee Ballentine to bring it to close with Jim. Lee?


Thanks. If you're interested in how to get to the next step with FirstNet, my email address is in the lower left-hand corner. You're welcome to send me an email and I'll connect you with the solution consultant in each one of the states. We have representatives all across the country. FirstNet is available on many of the group purchasing contracts that are available today that you've been using today. FirstNet is also available on most all state contracts across the country. We like to say that FirstNet will cost you the same or less than you're paying today for your wireless services. Most all of the time that is the case. There's always an exception.


We would love to talk to you a little bit more about it, we'd love to answer some questions that you have about it. There is an eligibility process that you have to go through, but schools qualify for FirstNet. The police department within a school is Primary, and administration and school buses are what's called, Extended Primary. We'll explain that in more detail. I'd like to give it back over to Jim.


Thank you, Lee. If you're interested as a first responder about how you can make your community safer by connecting everybody together using this equation, contact us at crisisgo.com. We'll work with FirstNet to present for your community on how to get everybody on the same page and response. If you're a school district and you're interested in using CrisisGo at your school district, please reach us at crisisgo.com. We currently have a good re-offer plan with Sonim, as well as the ability to provide you our Student Safe Companion app at no cost. We're looking forward to talking with you. Again, crisisgo.com. Dr. Erardi?


Thank you, Jim, and Lee. Thanks so much for being a partner and sharing this message. I want to leave our listening audience with one final thought. As you move forward with your professional learning and listening, I have always believed that the greatest learning or the greatest speech doesn't matter if nothing changes. What I'm hoping for our decision makers who are on the webinar that was relatively brief but pretty deep with information, that you don't click off and then continue without further investigating. I would love that if our listeners took the time, tried to better understand the opportunity and made those connecting contacts that were listed. That's the way that we become a safer community and a safer nation.


The piece that troubles me is when I speak to safety, everyone appears to look to their left and to their right and never in the mirror. What I'm asking to close out our webinar is to look in the mirror. If you believe that this is an enhancement or a significant enhancement on your present practice with response time, and response is critical to school safety, I'll ask you to spend a bit of your summer doing the investigation. I think my personal dream would be every district across this country has this type of response in place for the new school year.


Cari Struble