Alyssa’s Law requires all public elementary and secondary schools be equipped with a panic alarm for use in a school security emergency including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. The panic alarm, which will not be audible within the school building, must be directly linked to law enforcement authorities and must immediately transmit a signal or message to the authorities upon activation.
What does Alyssa’s Law mean for Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs)?
The intent of Alyssa’s Law is to reduce law enforcement response times for events occurring on school campuses. While there are several solutions that are Alyssa’s Law compliant, these offerings may vary in price, functionality, and effectiveness. Emergency Communication Centers should collaborate with education departments to ensure that the selected silent panic alarm solution is compatible with technology used in the jurisdiction’s ECC and by first responders.
Alyssa’s Law presents a great opportunity to develop a partnership between public safety and education departments – and ECCs can play a key role in inter-agency planning and coordination. Here are some things for ECCs to consider to guide the selection of an Alyssa’s law compliant silent panic alarm system:
Collaborate and communicate with community stakeholders
Consider hosting a stakeholder meeting that brings together practitioners (such as school administration, school staff, law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians and more) to discuss operational needs of the solution. Together, talk about what is most important to each stakeholder group in a panic alarm solution and co-create a long-term vision for what success looks like. As a follow-up, make sure to schedule monthly or quarterly working group meetings to discuss the vendor selection process, implementation, and operations. Lastly, put the chosen solution to the test in school lockdown exercises – determine what works well and what needs improvement. Ensure that user feedback is provided to your prospective provider so that improvements can be made.
Evaluate the panic alarm solution’s integrations and interoperability
It’s probably safe to say that the last thing your ECC needs is another standalone application to manage. So look for a school safety partner that integrates with your existing applications. RapidSOS is an industry leader in integrating life-saving data to its emergency data platform and displaying actionable data for a more informed response. Either through RapidSOS Portal or an integration with one of the dozens of computer aided dispatch (CAD), call handling equipment (CHE), or tactical mapping applications, RapidSOS is relied upon by over 4,800 agencies across the United States to securely deliver critical emergency data to 911 – including school-originated panic alarms. When choosing a silent alarm panic solution, ask providers if they are RapidSOS Ready to ensure that your 911 agency can seamlessly access panic alarm data. School safety emergencies often result in multi-agency response making interoperability a critical capability for sharing incident information.
Seize the opportunity to add on additional safety capabilities
What other information and capabilities does your ECC need to provide a more informed and efficient response to school events? There are several other applications and data sets that your ECC can leverage in addition to a silent alarm system to improve outcomes in the case of an emergency. RapidSOS’s Partner Network members offers a wide variety of functionality to optimize for faster, more efficient response – from Collaborative Response Graphics® that reduces response time and improve command and control during an incident to Axon’s body worn camera on the school resource officer – RapidSOS Ready partners deliver context and capabilities to improve emergency outcomes.
Alyssa’s Law presents Emergency Communication Centers both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is finding the solution that meets the mandate to connect schools directly with public safety to reduce response times. However, the law also presents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with education departments to take school safety to the next level. RapidSOS’s emergency data platform serves as the foundation for thousands of ECCs across the United States and RapidSOS Ready silent alarm panic systems like 911inform, Rave, 911Cellular, Raptor Technologies, and SaferWatch can help your schools become Alyssa’s Law compliant with a system that also works with public safety.