If you are involved in education or are a concerned citizen up to date on school security issues, you are aware that school shootings are increasing in the U.S. According to a December 2019 Education Week article, there were 25 school shootings in 2019. You’re also probably aware of movements like Alyssa’s Law Requirements.
Teachers, staff, and students routinely practice how to barricade themselves in classrooms, hide, so it looks like no one is in the room, and shelter in place until the threat has been resolved. Some schools and districts are even training teachers on how to create tourniquets to stop major bleeding.
Most classrooms have instructions for all emergency drills.
Most schools have instructions for all emergency drills that are to be on a clipboard or in a folder and located near the classroom exit. Accompanying the emergency information are two placards: one red and one green. For fire drills, these placards are held in the air to indicate all students are present and accounted for (green) or a student is missing (red).
Related Article: Keeping Safe – Preparing and Practicing for Emergencies
During lockdown drills, these placards are slid underneath the door or affixed in the door window to alert administration or emergency responders. Some schools equip teachers with two placards of each color, one for the door window and one for the exterior side classroom window. Teachers and students are well trained on what to do in intruder situations.
Still, an essential piece of the safety plan is missing, who is responsible for alerting an outside agency of an intruder, and how can the agency be alerted quickly/silently?
Enter Alyssa’s Law Requirements and the Kidio Safer Emergency Alert System.
Alyssa’s Law is named for 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, whose life was tragically taken during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting on February 14, 2018.
The Florida law states that each public school, including charter schools, “ shall implement a mobile panic alert system capable of connecting diverse emergency services technologies to ensure real-time coordination between multiple first responder agencies”.
New Jersey has also passed a similar law, while states such as New York, Nebraska, and Arizona have introduced similar legislation. Alyssa’s Law requirements stipulate that schools have that missing piece of the school safety drill puzzle.
The Kidio Safer Emergency Alert system is a customizable silent alert system that can be used to quickly and easily inform emergency responders of an emergency on your school’s campus via a mobile app. The Kidio platform allows schools to connect the correct responding agency to the alert for a particular crisis. When a user reports an emergency, Kidio will send out text messages and voice calls to the contact groups for the selected emergency, allow a group chat for involved users and provide the location ping of the emergency reporter.
As a former teacher, I applaud the Kidio Safer Emergency Alert system for
Alyssa’s law requirements include an alert system that notifies first responders in real-time. This will decrease what Steven Crimando refers to as the “response gap,” which is the time between the beginning of an incident and the arrival of emergency responders.
Because Kidio can be downloaded on all school staff members’ devices, an alert can be sent to the appropriate emergency response team by any staff member anywhere on campus at the onset of any emergency event. The need to be near a landline or PA system to inform administrators and teachers of an emergency is eliminated.
Being Easily Accessible
In the times we live in, most mobile devices are not far from reach. Kidio is an app teachers can put on their phones, and when an alert is triggered, a phone call and a text message will be sent to users in the appropriate contact groups. The emergency number can be added to phones so the alert can bypass Do Not Disturb settings that most teachers will have enabled on their phones during the school day.
My last teaching job was in a middle school. A common complaint among teachers was that sliding the red or green placards underneath the door or displaying them in the window indicates to an intruder that the room has students in it.
The Kidio, Emergency Alert system, allows teachers to silently respond in a group message that the class is safe and accounted for or a missing or injured student. The chat feature can also be utilized to update an intruder’s whereabouts to fellow staff members and emergency responders.
School environments are constantly changing based on the latest trends, research, or political legislation. One thing that should be secure, steadfast, and unwavering in a school is teacher and student safety. Alyssa’s law requirements oblige schools to have a mobile alert system in place to alert authorities in the event of an emergency.
Kidio Safer Alert System delivers a mobile alert for various emergencies, location services, and silent communication between staff and emergency responders. I frequently talk to my teacher friends about Kidio and bridge the gap between a drill and a real campus emergency. What does your school, your teacher friend’s school, or your child’s school have in place to ensure immediate communication and emergency response?