Compliance with ‘Alyssa’s Law’ Improves Safety and Accelerates Emergency Response

On February 14, 2018, 17 people lost their lives—and 17 others were injured—when an assailant opened fire on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Fourteen-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, a New Jersey native, was a victim of the tragedy. Her mother, Lori Alhadeff, lobbied legislatures for passage of ‘Alyssa’s Law’ to urge schools to adopt instant emergency panic buttons. Recently passed into law in New Jersey and gaining traction in states around the nation, ‘Alyssa’s Law’ is becoming a crucial consideration for school districts everywhere, not only to meet state requirements, but also—and most importantly—to better protect schools, students, and staff who find themselves in emergency situations.


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All NJ Schools Are Required to Comply

Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill A764 (Alyssa’s Law) into law in February 2019, mandating that all New Jersey public elementary and secondary schools install silent panic buttons in every building or to have an alternative emergency mechanism approved by the Department of Education.

This panic button solution must be a silent security system that is manually activated by the device user and alert authorities of life-threatening and emergency situations, including non-fire evacuation, lockdowns, and active shooters. The estimated cost of compliance for New Jersey schools is between $2.5 million and $12.5 million.

A Grant Can Fund—or Reimburse You for—Your Panic Button Solution

New Jersey schools can apply for a grant through the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act (P.L. 2018, c. 119), which will provide $75 million in funds for school security upgrades in public schools. The panic alarm systems that comply with ‘Alyssa’s Law’ are prioritized, and grants will be given both to schools that are currently in compliance and those who are not in compliance.

To apply, districts must submit one application that includes all eligible school buildings to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). The application is completed on NJDOE’s online Electronic Web Enabled Grant (EWEG) system, accessed through NJDOE Homeroom. As of January 2020, the anticipated grant application period opens in April 2020 with a deadline in May 2020.

For those already in compliance, and if your system was installed no later than January 1, 2016, you can apply for reimbursement by providing detailed and dated invoices, along with other requirements listed in these Preliminary Guidelines. The guidelines also detail required submissions for schools that are seeking funding, which include submitting estimates and an anticipated installation completion date.

It is recommended that schools become certified before applying for the grant, since being certified informs the school’s grant application.

Becoming Certified Is Quick If You Partner with Raptor

Helping schools better prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, the Raptor Emergency Management system meets Alyssa’s Law requirements. Users can initiate emergencies from their mobile phone or tablet with a touch of a button, instantly sending alerts to first responders and a customizable list of recipients. Raptor also digitizes your Emergency Operations Plan and school floorplans, so users can instantly access key documents and ensure they are following protocol.

With Raptor solutions, trusted by more than 32,000 K-12 clients, you can do more than simply comply with the basics of ‘Alyssa’s Law;’ you can have the tools you need to fully address emergency preparedness, emergency response, and emergency recovery—all at a low cost—and with a partner who is committed to protecting every child, every school, every day.  

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