Gun violence in schools is a problem at the forefront of the minds of parents, educators and law enforcement. In 2021 alone, there have already been at least 43 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 12 deaths and 19 injuries nationally.
What can be done to improve school safety?
Safety at school hinges on timely, informed response. In Florida, Alyssa’s Law provides for the implementation of a silent alarm system to help alert first responders to a situation quickly and without escalating the situation. This type of legislation is expected to quickly spread to other states.
Being able to swiftly and silently inform authorities about incidents of gun violence in schools is critical, and so is providing more data on the incident to first responders so that they have as much information as possible to arrive on scene faster and better informed.
How can ECCS help improve safety at school?
Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) are central to facilitating fast, appropriate response to reports of school violence. The more information that is transmitted to ECCs, the more can be passed to law enforcement and emergency personnel arriving at the school.
ECCs need to be involved with efforts to increase school safety, and be able to receive the data from silent panic alarm system providers and other sources in a format that will work with their existing 9-1-1 infrastructure.
The simplest way to achieve both goals is for ECCs to reach out to school districts as influencers, offering to help with the selection of their silent panic alarm solution and other school safety measures.
ECCs can be leaders for this type of safety at school even in areas that don’t yet have legislation, guiding school administrators in their efforts to make schools safer against the threat of gun violence.
5 ways to work with your district to improve school safety
ECCs can assist in school safety efforts through collaboration with local school districts in the following ways:
1. Help to select a silent alarm system that works for your ECC
Silent alarm companies may install multiple buttons throughout the school which can be used to trigger a discreet alert to 9-1-1. This allows anyone to report a threat without drawing undue attention to themselves or escalating the situation. These systems need to be RapidSOS Ready to make sure that data can be digitally routed to 9-1-1 using systems already in place — such as the RapidSOS Portal. The following silent alarm companies are compatible with RapidSOS:
You can download a sheet for evaluating these companies for your schools here.
2. Pull in live video streaming from cameras in school
Accessing cameras installed on school property can allow live video feeds to be pulled, providing real-time data to first responders arriving on the scene. A RapidSOS Ready video monitoring service can stream a live feed to 9-1-1, which can prevent responders on the ground from being completely blind and alert them to dangers or persons in need of rescue in real time.
3. Implement a gunfire detection system
Take advantage of modern technology’s ability to recognize guns in camera feeds and match sounds of gunfire against weapon types. RapidSOS Ready gunfire detection systems such as the ones listed below can deliver critical information that can be invaluable during moments of crisis:
- ZeroEyes leverages artificial intelligence for real-time weapons identification and alerts
- SafeZone uses smart tech sensors to instantly identify gunfire and pinpoint its source
4. Integrate with indoor mapping for a birds-eye view of the scene
Mapping can help first responders reduce their response time and find their way through a chaotic scene. RapidSOS works several solutions that are integrated into RapidSOS Portal to better unify these tools for telecommunicators, including:
- Critical Response Group (CRG) mapping helps coordinate emergency response both outside and inside a building
- GeoComm delivers supportive map data and live location content directly to 9-1-1 for enhanced, informed response
5. Encourage the creation of emergency health profiles
An emergency health profile sends health and medical information to 9-1-1 in case of an emergency. EHPs, such as the ones available through a partnership between RapidSOS, The American Heart Association, The American Red Cross, and Direct Relief can be created for free and send the following information to 9-1-1 during an incident:
- Name, DOB and address
- Pre-existing conditions
- Medical notes
- COVID-19 symptoms
- Emergency contacts
How these steps increase school safety
When these measures are implemented, all data can be funneled directly to 9-1-1 through the RapidSOS Portal. ECCs can communicate critical info to first responders, including the number and type of shots fired, location data supported by floor mapping, information from two-way chat with monitoring companies, live videos from camera streams, and medical data from injured people calling for help. Telecommunicators can get all of the information they need in one place to provide a complete range of support and effectively backup personnel on the ground.
Interested in learning more about one or more of the solutions or companies above? Reach out to your ECC Engagement Manager today to learn more.