Emergency Notification – and So Much More: The Raptor Emergency Management System

Emergency Notification System

For as long as people have faced potentially dangerous or even life-threatening situations, they have needed a way to communicate the presence of danger to their fellow citizens. In the modern day, television, radio, and civil defense sirens represent just a few of the forms that emergency notification has taken. But the purpose is always the same: to warn a targeted audience of impending or present danger. Modern technology can more efficiently drive emergency notification, and further, current emergency notification system technology can be an integral part of a broader emergency management tool. One of the best examples of comprehensive emergency notification and management technology is the Emergency Management system from Raptor Technologies®.

The Raptor Emergency Management system combines proven emergency notification and management practices with 21st century technology to provide K-12 schools and districts with a comprehensive emergency system including drill scheduling and management, active incident management, and coordinated parent-student reunification. The Raptor system is built around personalized service and comprehensive implementation and technical support to help districts prepare for, respond to, and recover from practically any emergency. Comprehensive training approaches built into the implementation process help schools and districts organize and focus the people, protocols, and technology that comprise an efficient, proven response.

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Increasing Need for Emergency Notification and Management Systems

school bus emergency exit

On the heels of Columbine, Sandy Hook, Santa Fe, and Parkland, K-12 school safety and emergency management have forced their way to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness. Schools and districts have moved to formulate and implement security plans that incorporate both specific contingencies and efficient notification protocols. How involved parties respond during emergencies, and how specifically prepared they are for each kind of incident, both have significant effects on ultimate outcomes.

Natural disasters and weather-related incidents have also always threatened school safety and security, but climate scientists inform us that these events are occurring more and more frequently, and with increasing strength and severity. As meteorology advances scientifically, emergency notification and management systems can play an increasingly effective role in safeguarding the lives of students and staff members in our schools.

As our population increases and our society becomes more complex, we appear to be seeing an increase in the number and types of events necessitating emergency notification and management. Thankfully, technology and safety protocols have not just kept up, but in some cases have anticipated perceived need. The best emergency notification and management systems do much more than send out mass alerts. With tools like the Raptor Emergency Management system

Why an Emergency Notification and Management System?

balance scale

Simply put, the old methods simply aren’t good enough.

OLD: Display Cards And To-Go Kits  Accessing existing data during an emergency means carrying around pre-printed copies lacking efficient, up-to-the-second data access when it really matters the most.
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NEW: Mobile Application Technology  The Raptor mobile app allows teachers to instantly access class rosters to account for their students and seamlessly broadcast data to incident managers.

OLD: Stale SIS Data In Emergencies  Schools attempting to utilize existing data systems to account for students and access important SIS data when it is needed is clunky and inefficient.
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NEW: Integrated SIS Student Roster Data  The Raptor Emergency Management system provides automated student data imports from your existing SIS into a format optimized for mobile access.

OLD: Disjointed Emergency Plans  Paper-based plans are be difficult to manage and use, not to mention the costs to print and replace them every time changes are made.
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NEW: Mobile Access To Emergency Plans  The Raptor Emergency Management system provides quick and easy access to a school or district’s incident-specific action plans, facility maps, and emergency procedures.

OLD: Scattered Report Management  Verifying and reporting details regarding state-mandated emergency drill performance is difficult and doesn’t allow for insightful incident analysis.
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NEW: Detailed Incident Reporting  The Raptor Emergency Management system provides detailed post-incident reporting for improving any district’s incident response.

OLD: Who? What? Where?  Incident managers depend on walkie-talkie communication to determine where students, staff, and visitors are located.
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NEW: Real-Time Incident Management  The Raptor mobile app provides real-time reporting dashboards, giving incident managers the ability to track status and location of every individual.

OLD: Paper-Based Reunification  Paper-based reunification is time-consuming, inefficient, prone to error, and provides little to no after-incident reporting.
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NEW: Streamlined Reunification  Streamlines reunification by providing mobile guardian validation, instantaneous reunification processing, and real-time student release tracking.

Features of an Effective Emergency Notification and Management System: Raptor Emergency Management

Emergency management system

The Raptor Emergency Management system facilitates emergency preparation by simplifying drill scheduling, drill management, and compliance tracking. It allows schools or districts to conduct and automatically record required drills from a centralized dashboard or via a mobile app. Further, it allows district safety and compliance officials to view and track drill compliance at the school or district level in the district dashboard.

A highly effective emergency notification and management solution such as the Raptor Emergency Management system will prepare emergency commanders and personnel  for every phase of an emergency – from drill scheduling and management, to emergency initiation, to notification, to in-incident management, to reunification and recovery – while minimizing the opportunity for human error in the process. Emergency notification and management systems that use automated technologies like the Raptor system are most capable of reaching this level of efficiency.

The Raptor system features:

  • The ability to create customized drill requirements for an entire district in minutes. Automated notifications remind schools of upcoming required drills, and alerts to district administrators let them know of any schools out of compliance.
  • Schools can initiate drills from a smartphone or tablet, and a record of the completed drill is automatically populated in real time within the software, so no extra time is required to record drill completion. Any additional forms required can be uploaded into the software for record keeping.
  • Detailed tracking dashboards allow administrators to scan school drill compliance status quickly for every building, drill type, and compliance status. A reporting tab enables administrators to produce complete and accurate status reports with the click of a mouse.
  • With the system’s mobile application, any authorized administrator or staff member can initiate an actual emergency alert with the touch of the screen. Automated text, email, and smartphone emergency notification alerts are instantly transmitted to all pre-selected recipients, which can include building staff, district personnel, local police, fire department, or any other designated first responders. Alerts provide information on:
  • the type of emergency
  • the location of the emergency
  • the time the emergency was initiated
  • by whom
  • Emergency responders aren’t always familiar with a school building’s layout, and some staff may not remember the protocol during the stress of an actual emergency. Within the mobile application, first responders and staff can quickly retrieve building maps and emergency plans on the mobile device.
  • Automatically synced SIS data allows teachers and staff to immediately pull up a list of students and confirm the status and location of both themselves and their students. That data is then instantly transmitted in real time to the incident commander, giving full visibility into the current status of everyone who was in the building at the time of the incident. Easy-to-read dashboards are updated in real time as students and staff are accounted for in terms of both status and location. A timeline of events for each student is also recorded for post-incident reporting purposes.
  • In an offsite reunification scenario, coordinating student status, location, and reunification with authorized guardians can be complicated and time consuming. The Raptor Emergency Management system makes it much simpler. In timed district comparison trials, the Raptor Emergency Management system was 4 times faster than paper-and-pencil based reunification methods. And time matters. Research shows that the sooner students are reunited with their parents, guardians, and caregivers, the less likely they are to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Implementation, Training, and Support

support staff

Technology is just one part of the Raptor system. The best emergency notification and management plan involves close coordination of people, protocols, and technology. The Raptor team advises client districts on proven practices and processes, walks them through every implementation phase, and assists with comprehensive staff training plans. To help keep district teams ready in the event of an emergency, the Raptor technical support staff also offers the following:

  • Live technical support Monday through Friday, 7 AM–6 PM CT
  • Raptor University, a 24/7 online learning and development platform, which includes FAQs, user guides, best practices, on-demand videos, and information about product functionality
  • Live training webinars as well as webinars from school safety and emergency notification and management experts on broader school and emergency safety topics

 

When choosing an emergency notification and management system partner, look for critical characteristics in the technology they offer: simplicity of the interface; speed of both integrated systems and automated, outbound messages; seamlessness of messages and ease of integration of third-party technologies; scalability of the system to encompass all schools within a district; reliable service; and the kind of customer and technical relationship that ensures help when you need it.

Plenty can go wrong in an emergency. Your emergency notification and management protocol will be most effective if it can provide procedures to an emergency response team as well as guidance to every recipient of an emergency alert. Choose a provider that puts the “system” in emergency notification and management systems—because notifications alone simply aren’t enough. Fingertip access to a comprehensive emergency notification and management solution gives school districts the best chance of safeguarding its students and staff members, regardless of the nature of the emergency.

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