Keeping people safe and informed is crucial during an emergency such as severe weather, a building intruder, or active shooter situation. Effectively communicating information to people who may be impacted by the situation can save lives. K-12 schools should consider adding discrete alerting methods, such as panic buttons, to their emergency notification plan. Panic buttons are popular emergency notification methods because they allow people to discretely notify first responders and safety personnel without alerting the entire school. A notification that draws a lot of attention, such as an alarm or strobe, can intensify the crisis by inducing panic and confusion among bystanders. This can trigger a hostile intruder to react, ultimately putting people in harm’s way. In this article, you’ll learn about six types of panic buttons that your school can use to effectively communicate and rapidly receive assistance in the event of an emergency through ACTIVATE’s integration with Intrado, a global leader in public safety. We want to thank Intrado for this helpful information, and how current technology can easily integrate with our ACTIVATE emergency notification solution!
Modern Wearable 911 Panic Button
With Wearable 911 Panic Button, schools can simultaneously alert 911 first responders for assistance while silently notifying staff and instantly initiate a lockdown. Location data, incident details, floor plans and more are automatically shared with first responders via the panic button data. This technology helps schools comply with Alyssa’s Law and others like it, which requires public schools to implement a silent panic alarm capable of directly alerting local authorities and first responders in the event of an emergency. This can mean a matter of life and death depending on the emergency. Additional features deliver a thoroughly modern approach to wearable safety devices:
- Triple redundancy (Bluetooth Low Energy, WIFI, and Cellular/LTE) for 100% coverage on or off campus.
- Dual SIM cards for enhanced Cellular/LTE connectivity.
- Programmable to differentiate the type of incident and response required.
- Instantly initiate building or campus lockdowns and more.
- Device is now available for use on FirstNet®
Intrado is a leader in 911 technology solutions, with more than 90% of 911 calls passing through its network across North America. It leverages Intrado’s robust network to pass emergency incident data directly to the public safety answering point (“PSAP”). The Wearable 911 Panic button provides users 100% connectivity on or off-campus.
Soft Key Buttons on IP Phones
With Intrado Revolution, admins can configure soft keys on supported IP phones to serve as panic buttons. This is a simple and cost-effective solution that does not require any additional hardware since most schools already have IP phones located throughout their buildings. Admins can set up the notification to share pertinent information such as the time, date, extension from which the notification was activated, and more.
IP Device Panic Buttons
The Smart IP Button by Advanced Network Devices (AND) is a small, discrete PoE panic button that automatically registers with Revolution. When someone pushes the button, Revolution automatically alerts your list of predefined recipients. This panic button is typically mounted in a discrete location, such as under a desk, which allows users to silently call for help without the intruder noticing.
Analog Panic Buttons
Analog buttons can be used to activate Intrado Revolution notifications using GPIO contact closures. Although analog technology is older, it is still being used by customers today. Notification software, like Revolution, can extend the life of your existing analog infrastructure by allowing you to leverage your analog and IP equipment together for mass notifications. This strategy can save customers time and money because you won’t have to rip and replace your equipment or train personnel on how to use a new system. To leverage analog buttons, you’ll need to connect each button to a supported contact closure device that is compatible with Revolution:
- Intrado Paging Relay: Connect one analog button to the Paging Relay sensor contact pin.
- Barionet 400 by Barix: Connect up to four analog buttons with the Barionet 400 to use with Revolution.
Mobile App “Request Assistance” Button
The Request Assistance feature in Intrado’s Revolution and Safety Shield mobile applications is another way to leverage panic buttons in your emergency notification plan. They allow iOS and Android users to activate a notification to request help or initiate incidents directly from their mobile app. Users have the option to allow the app to use location services while running the program, which enables authorities and first responders to respond quickly to the incident.
For example, a school administrator can create a mobile trigger that allows the school’s mobile app contacts to request assistance during a crisis. The sender can include a picture to show what’s going on, a text message describing the situation, or record an audio clip to share more information with first responders. These solutions give users without access to physical devices nearby the flexibility they need to trigger an alert from wherever they may be located.
Desktop User Interface
Another form of panic buttons can be found on the dashboard page in Revolution and Safety Shield’s user interface. The dashboard buttons enable users to quickly trigger an emergency alert with the click of a button. Each user can create up to three different panic buttons on their dashboard. Customers can use these buttons for lockdowns, active shooter, building evacuations, take shelter alerts for severe weather, and more.
Navigating Panic Button Options
There’s no argument that deploying technology solutions that offer robust integration helps schools enhance their physical security and improve day-to-day communication. For example, choosing a solution that provides seamless incident management, 911 integration, unified bell scheduling, district-wide mass notification, one-touch lockdowns, desktop and mobile alerts, live and pre-recorded announcements, automatic weather alerts, and more – all while leveraging existing network infrastructure – but it may be hard to find a trusted solution that checks all these boxes. Global CTI offers decades of experience helping schools create a smart campus environment to manage their emergency and non-emergency needs. Our team understands education and how teams function during different emergency situations, from lockdowns to fire drills to medical scenarios. Our team has seen districts that have cobbled together various solutions, trying to build customized response platforms to suit every situation, but with the technology available today, that’s no longer necessary.
We’re happy to help your district explore the many emergency notification solutions and recommend an integrated approach to help manage day-to-day communication and unforeseen crises that require quick action. Just visit GCTI.com to get started, give us a call at 800-366-1711 or email Sales@GCTI.com.