In the US, over 27,000 security incidents at post-secondary institutions were reported to police and security agencies in 2019. In that same school year, 37% of public schools reported at least one violent incident on school property to local law.
Schools are responsible for the safety and security of their students, teachers, and staff while on campus property. This is no small task.
When threats and emergencies emerge on school property, communicating dangers to all persons at school is vital to contain the incident and lessen its potential for harm. School emergency notification systems can help achieve that goal and are meaningful measures that help teachers, staff, and students communicate effectively in an emergency.
What is an Emergency Notification System for Schools?
An emergency notification system allows all building or public space occupants to be notified of an imminent threat or emergency as quickly as possible. They are also called Emergency Mass Notification Systems, or EMNS.
Traditional School Alert Systems
In a school setting, traditional emergency messaging methods everyone can recognize include fire alarms, live PA messages or outdoor campus speakers, and an internal phone system. Each notification tool disseminates urgent messages from a centralized location to all persons on school property.
Present Day School Emergency Mass Notification Systems
Modern EMNS systems have grown in sophistication and capability compared to their original counterparts.
Elite EMNS systems like ACTIVATE can integrate and unify numerous communication tools into one centralized emergency alert system for schools. This gives schools faster, more effective means to instantly notify campus occupants of an urgent situation over multiple communication streams such as smartphones, PA systems or even a pop-up alert on devices within a school’s network.
These innovations give schools more power to reduce harm and save lives in an emergency.
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For instance, let’s say a teacher in a classroom notices a suspicious person wandering the school halls and realizes they need to initiate a lockdown. With a comprehensive EMNS system, the teacher can use their EMNS tool to start lockdown procedures instantly, alert all building occupants of the threat and notify first responders within seconds.
Examples of how ACTIVATE eases a school’s emergency notification processes:
- Panic button capability
- Two-way texting among faculty and staff
- Communicate with emergency responders in real-time
- Wellness check notifications
- Easily schedule security drills
Why a Mass Notification System for Schools is Necessary
In the 2019-20 school year, 77% of public schools recorded or reported one or more crime incidents at school. 46% of those incidents involved reporting the incidents to law enforcement officials.
It’s easy to see that schools today need reliable measures to communicate potential and persistent security threats inside and outside classroom walls.
Examples of everyday situations where EMNS tools are needed in an education setting include:
- Disruptive and escalating student behavior in a classroom
- Missing student
- Medical emergencies involving students or staff
- Natural disasters, including earthquakes, severe thunderstorms or wildfires
- Fire or chemical leak
- Active shooter
- Public health emergency
- Communicate important, non-urgent information
4 Components Vital For a Responsive School Notification System
When looking to upgrade or replace an emergency notification system for an educational institution, there are several features and functions to consider. Each one should support your institution’s processes to plan, prepare, prevent, protect, and recover in the event of an emergency.
Notification Software. Notification software is the backbone of any school’s emergency communication solution and is the key to unifying all communication sources and channels. This will allow for delivering messages via multiple channels such as text messages, voice calls, email, social media, and mobile apps.
Contact Database. A contact database is crucial for any alert messaging to effectively reduce harm and shorten emergency response times at school, community college or university campuses. A school’s database should be kept up-to-date and accurate to ensure the right people are notified in an emergency.
Additionally, an EMNS should allow administrators to assign rules regarding how and when a contact should be contacted. For instance, teachers at an elementary school need different notification rules in the contact database than a student’s family and emergency contact. That way, in an internal situation, such as a conflict between two students, teachers would be notified of the incident as it unfolds, whereas the student’s parents would not.
Multi-Channel Communication: The alert system should enable notifications to be sent through multiple channels simultaneously. This can include text messages, voice calls, PA announcements, and email notifications.
Training and Support: Any EMNS service provider should have a comprehensive training and support program as part of their implementation and ongoing maintenance services. This is best to ensure teachers, staff, and students can operate the system effectively during an emergency.
Connect with Global CTI For Top Emergency Notification Solutions
Global CTI offers robust EMNS solutions that help schools, and educational institutions secure and safeguard their staff, students and the general public.
With our ACTIVATE platform, schools can rest assured they have up-to-date technology in their corner, allowing them to respond faster and safeguard their school community more effectively in an emergency.
Contact us today to learn more about how Global CTI’s Activate solutions can help your school streamline communications and stay safe during emergencies.