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  • School Security: Better Emergency Response on a Tight Budget

  • As school budgets shrink and safety risks rise, keeping students, staff and visitors safe is a BIG job — one that often exceeds the time, funding and skill sets you have available.

    Understandably, reading up on emergency management advice often highlights how far you still have to go, and the gaps you can’t do much about at the moment.

    So we’ll start with the good news, based on real experiences from real schools:
    (We’ll link to case studies below.)

    FACT 1

    You can double or triple your emergency/mass communications capabilities just by integrating technologies you already have.

    We’re talking about greater automations, reach and accuracy, with fewer buttons to push. Altogether, integrations enable you to reach more people faster, without having to replace tools you already have.

    FACT 2

    You can start small, adding new integrations as your needs change and funds become available. There’s plenty of room to experiment, tweak and adapt, versus sinking a fortune into an all-or-nothing solution that may or may not deliver everything you need, or that may not be suitable years from now.

    In fact, all schools we’ve worked with have embraced ongoing, incremental changes to transform their routine/emergency communications, affordably. (More on that below.)

    Push vs. powered mowers: an analogy

    To borrow a landscaping analogy, think of integrations as the difference between a push power and a powered one. Both can get the job done, but one takes a ton more effort, time, and manpower. (On that note, time and manpower isn’t something you typically have in an emergency.)

    By integrating disparate tools, you’re able to reach more people in less time, with less chance of human error.

    Which of my existing technologies can be integrated?

    Chances are most or all security and communications technologies you have today can be integrated behind a central dashboard. The same goes for third-party tools you might purchase in the months or years ahead.

    That includes:

    • Security cameras
    • Fire alarm systems
    • Door and card access
    • LED signage
    • LCD panels
    • Digital signage
    • Video PA
    • Audio PA/Intercom
    • Phone systems
    • Mobile app
    • Wireless panic buttons
    • PC alerts
    • Two-way radio, and more.

    Here’s a handy visual:

    How are schools actually using these integrations?

    We’re glad you asked.

    • In this case study, Robert Iocona, CTO for Kingsway Regional and South Harrison Township Elementary School Districtsin New Jersey, shares how his schools integrated disparate technologies.
    • In this article, leaders from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) and the American School for the Deaf(ASD) describe how they’ve integrated technologies like the ones listed above to ensure they can reach all audiences instantly, despite barriers like blindness or deafness.
    • Lastly, the Visual Campus video illustrates how you can view suspicious activites across your entire campus at once. As Iocona puts it, “Say a kid pushes a blue lockdown button. Within a minute, our officials can bring up Visual Campus on their phone, see where the button was pushed, and respond accordingly.”

    Want to see how integrations might work at your K-12 or higher ed institution?

    Drop us a note or give us a call. We’re happy to help.