News Feature | May 20, 2014

The Importance Of Connecting Schools To First Responders With Tech Solutions

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Connecting Schools To First Responders

School security continues to be an increasingly important issue. Parents, teachers, administrators, and the U.S. government all have recognized the need to improve our schools’ current security measures. The Department of Homeland Security has increased funding for training and resources for efforts such as providing money for emergency preparedness, training school bus drivers in security, and hardening school buildings’ vulnerabilities.

VARs could find one particular area of interest as schools fortify their security. In many schools, the current response time to an emergency or intruder is slow. Safety officers, administrators, teachers, and first responders are disconnected from one another, which leads to delays in response time and increased risk to students.  One key component in updating school security and increasing emergency response time is utilizing technology to connect physical security measures to safety personnel and first responders on one broad network across the entire district.

Recent news includes stories of schools opting for these solutions, including the Sudbury school system in Massachusetts that opted for this type of solution at the urging of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim’s mother, who relocated with her family to that city.  

A modern network allows physical security solutions — cameras, smart phones, and tablets — to facilitate communication among all parties, and cameras can detect activity and automatically send alerts and real-time video to appropriate staff. Administrators can remotely lock doors using a smartphone. The office can send a text or audio page to phones in classrooms, notifying teachers and providing up-to-date information and instructions. Parents can be informed and notified as well through voicemail messages. 

VARs should be aware of opportunities to assist schools in strengthening security by giving their teams the ability to communicate with each other — and with help — in real time.