Alyssa’s Law, which requires schools to have silent panic alarms installed and linked to local law enforcement, is now on the books in New Jersey, and is pending in New York and Florida. Federal legislation could take it nationwide.
What is Alyssa’s law and how does it involve emergency mass notification technology?
Named for Parkland shooting victim Alyssa Alhadeff, Alyssa’s Law is designed to shrink the time it takes to get first responders on the scene of a school security emergency such as a lockdown, active shooting or non-fire evacuation.
“In a school shooting, it’s over in six minutes or less, and time equals life,” said Alyssa’s mother, Lori Alhadeff, to lawmakers. “The faster we can get law enforcement and emergency medical services on campus, the more likely we will save lives,” MSN reported.
How emergency mass notifications & Alyssa’s law will help law enforcement and first responders
If Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ) has his way, Alyssa’s Law will go into effect nationwide. “Right now, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 27 percent of schools report using silent alarms that are directly connected to local law enforcement,” he explained. In scenarios where risk of harm or death increases with each passing second, that’s a problem.
But aside from compliance with a state or federal mandate, student safety is the bigger issue, worthy of new solutions. Put bluntly, it shouldn’t take a legal decree for school leaders to improve emergency response.
How much does it cost to update your mass notification technology and comply with Alyssa’s Laws
Funding can be an obstacle, though upgrades to security monitoring and mass communications technologies can be surprisingly affordable. That’s particularly true when schools go the route of integration, boosting the capabilities of technologies they already own.
Many schools we’ve worked with have found, integration among existing systems — from fire alarms to security cameras, digital signage, phone systems and more — allow for a high degree of customization and automations without having to replace tools that are already paid for
This means schools can increase both emergency and routine communications capabilities dramatically without a hefty investment. (See related case studies and resources below.)
Should a tragedy strike next week or next month, how many seconds would it take your school to get first responders to the right spot? What steps can you eliminate or automate to speed up that response?
“A lot of folks are in denial. [We think] it can never happen [where we are] until it happens, and that’s the reality,” said Ilan Alhadeffs, Alyssa’s father, to NJ lawmakers.
All things considered, investment in prevention sure beats the human, financial and reputational costs of preventable failures.
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