As urbanization grows exponentially across the world, it brings along its own set of problems, viz., socio economic and environmental instability, communication bottlenecks, as well as threats to public / child safety and security.
Meanwhile, many countries have started to employ ‘connected technologies’ to solve these modern-day problems.
One such innovation that promises to revolutionize school and child safety is the Panic Button App System.
What is a Panic Button App?
As the name suggests, the panic button app is the ‘smarter’ version of a physical panic alarm button, that can be downloaded on mobile phones and desktops. It has been designed on the following two premises:
Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere. Traditional wall mounted alarm buttons cannot help in a medical emergency on the school playground.
In times of emergencies, time is of the essence. You cannot hope to save a child’s life if you spend precious minutes calling 9-1-1 and explaining your emergency situation.
Let us see exactly how this app system enhances school safety:
1.Improves Emergency Response Time:
Integrated with mobile technology, this app can send out emergency alerts simultaneously to multiple stake holders, including the school authorities, faculty and first responders. This drastically cuts down on response time.
E.g., In case of a stroke or injury on the football ground, first-hand information could go to coaches, first responders, as well as administrative staff all in one go, so that immediate medical attention could be rushed to the spot.
2.Enhances Emergency Response:
Schools and children can be affected by a wide variety of security threats or emergencies: bomb scare, threat of explosion, gas leakage, chemical lab spills, fire, stampede, civil disorder, riots, shooting, kidnapping, hijacking, missing children etc.
Naturally, every emergency situation requires a different kind of emergency response. With the smart panic button app, emergency detail is part of the first information relayed so that first responders can promptly offer the most appropriate solution.
3.Relays Precise Location Data:
Traditionally, the 9-1-1 team would route an emergency call via the cell phone service provider to get the location of the emergency, which was time consuming.
However, this app sends out the exact location co-ordinates at the first go. What’s more, you could even share detailed floor plans, emergency exits and entries etc. so that the problem is tackled at its source.
4.Encourages Early Tipoffs:
Many times, children or staff members have prior knowledge about a particular threat but they hesitate, for fear of consequences or being judged by others.
But in this case, even a child can give an anonymous tip on the desktop app or send a text message to the authorities, without anyone knowing. This could help authorities nip the problem in the bud.
5.Improves School Bus Safety:
Children on a school bus are also very vulnerable to a vast number of threats, both internal and external: mechanical breakdowns, crash, fire, intruders, suspicious objects, bullying, weather hazards, missing children, hostage situation etc.
The school bus driver or attendant could use the panic button app to share the exact location co-ordinates, the bus type and make, as well as the type of emergency situation to the local traffic and police authorities, so that they could rush the appropriate relief team.
6.Facilitates Control and Coordination:
The school authorities could monitor a particular emergency situation via a dashboard, send out mass notifications to staff or segregate the staff into groups and relay group wise instructions.
E.g., in case of an intruder on a floor of the school building, the principal could immediately send out an instruction to all staff members on the floor to initiate a lock down to keep the children safe.
7.Facilitates Real Time Communication:
When an emergency does occur, the app can also allow two-way conversation in real time.
This feature is particularly useful in a hostage situation wherein the police can communicate with the school to get the latest update and also give detailed instructions on what to do next.
The more situational information the first responders get, the better equipped their team will be when it reaches the location.
Some advanced systems can also have the facility of live audio recordings so that law enforcement can listen in and gauge the situation.
8.Encourages Proactive Measures:
An additional benefit of this system is that the staff and children would tend to be more aware of what to do in an emergency situation. They could carry out mock drills from multiple locations in the school premises.
Besides, the school could maintain a relationship with local law enforcement authorities, share their own emergency procedures, building layouts, contact numbers etc.
9.Provide Access to Resources:
There can be a provision to access, download and store all information regarding various emergency procedures- what to do and what not to do in particular situations, emergency contact numbers etc. so that in times of emergencies, even if two way communication is not possible, the staff can access this information and at least take preliminary steps to safe guard themselves and the children.
10.Cost Effective Solution
It is true that most schools today are cash stripped and hesitant to spend on new technology. However, new technology is not necessarily expensive – this is essentially a cloud-based technology that uses mobile phone networks which are obviously already in place. The cost of deploying this valuable and life saving solution is literally as little as the cost of a daily newspaper.
The Panic Button App System is a huge step forward in managing school and child safety, and is the need of the hour for all schools.
Additionally, with a School Bus Tracking System in place, parents too can be informed about the child’s whereabouts via app notifications; and in the event of an emergency, they can be completely in the know of what actions are being taken to safeguard their children.
What do you think about this smart technology? Let us know by commenting below.