School safety spending in the United States continues to climb. Since 2018, legislators in more than half the states have approved nearly $1 billion for school safety programs. Allocations range from personnel (School Resource Officers, Counselors, etc.) to training to technology and security measures. In the rush to do 'something' to improve the safety of students and schools, there is little consistency from district to district—or state to state—in terms of what measures take priority.
Think about all the security devices in your schools today. Consider what has been recently added. And don't forget about the measures that have been in place for a long time. Security cameras. Visitor management systems. Strobe lights. LED signs. Maybe your district recently implemented panic buttons or even more advanced technology like electronic door locks, gunshot detection sensors, or metal detectors. The list of options is virtually limitless.
These devices are all designed to enhance the safety of your schools—but they perform their function in isolation. Consider:
- Suspicious activity is picked up by a security camera—only the person monitoring the feed is aware.
- A potential threat posed by someone at the visitor management system—only the person monitoring the entrance is aware.
- A cook dials 911 from a landline phone in the cafeteria—but cannot notify the on-site safety/response team while they are speaking with the dispatcher.
- Emergency lighting needs to be activated by a switch seconds—or minute—after the incident has begun.
In many cases, alerting the on-site safety team responsible for managing these incidents is delayed. And getting the word out to first responders, if needed, is subsequently delayed. Time is the most vital resource in responding to a critical event—and reducing the time it takes to notify the right people about a situation remains a top priority.
One of the most effective ways to save time in an emergency is to make sure the safety and security devices you invested in work in unison, and that they are able to instantly alert your safety response team. Imagine what it would look like for your safety systems to work together:
- When motion is detected by a camera in a restricted area, enable to camera to alert the safety team to investigate.
- Ensure your visitor management system can immediately notify your safety team of a potential problem with someone trying to enter the building.
- When evacuation is required, activate your lights, signs, and speakers with one touch of a button.
Synchronizing devices to automatically notify personnel significantly reduces response time.
Think about those devices in your schools again—now consider how much more efficient your response and incident management would be if these devices worked together.
Investing in school safety enhancements is the new normal. The next step is making sure these connected devices work together to ensure the safety of your students and staff. Integrating these isolated devices is possible with a safety and rapid response platform that enables a connected device—including cameras, help or panic buttons, phones, and sensors—to automatically trigger alerts that instantly notify the safety team to accelerate the response. An effective integration platform would also allow you to customize alerts—segmenting them into different levels of severity and allowing you to automatically escalate the alert to first responders like local law enforcement, fire, or medical response as warranted. Integrating school safety solutions is how you maximize your investments, reduce response times, and ensure you are providing the safest learning environment for your students and staff.
Download our School Safety and Security Tool Buyer's Guide to learn more about safety and rapid response platforms and what criteria you should consider when selecting a solution for your district and schools.