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.
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 be equipped with a panic alarm linked to local law enforcement.
This panic alarm must be a silent security system signal that is manually activated by the device user and alerts law enforcement authorities of life-threatening and emergency situations, including non-fire evacuation, lockdowns, and active shooters.
The deadline for obtaining Alyssa’s Law compliance certification or submitting proposed work to comply through the compliance application is August 12, 2020.
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 provide a proposed plan for 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 April 2020, the school security grant application deadline is August 12, 2020. Note that all districts are required to demonstrate compliance with Alyssa’s Law by this date using the Homeroom application regardless of whether they intend to apply for a school security grant.
For those already in compliance, and if your system was installed after 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. Raptor integrated school safety systems will help you exceed Alyssa’s Law requirements. Raptor Emergency Management combines proven emergency practices with 21st-century mobile technology, helping schools better prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies with drill management, active incident management, and parent-student reunification.
Raptor Alert™*, a component of the Raptor Emergency Management system, is a mobile panic button solution that lets users initiate emergencies from their mobile phone or tablet with a touch of a button. Initiating the panic button sends instant situation-specific notifications to a customizable list of recipients and connects diverse emergency services to ensure real-time coordination between multiple first responder agencies. Raptor Alert also has two-way messaging that allows users to communicate across all devices, including smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, and desktops.
Raptor, trusted by more than 32,000 K-12 schools, empowers you to do more than simply comply with the basics of ‘Alyssa’s Law;’ you will 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.
*Raptor Alert is currently in development