“It took 69 seconds before the first law enforcement officer was notified. At that point, Cruz (the assailant) had already shot 23 people on the first floor of Building 12.”
The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a grim example of what can happen when there is delayed communication between 911 callers and the appropriate emergency responders.
As individuals at the high school called 911 from their mobile devices that day, their calls were routed to neighboring Coral Springs dispatchers. Callers had to explain the emergency to those dispatchers, who then had to ask each caller to stand by as they transferred them to Broward County Regional Communications. This system prohibited Broward Sherriff’s Office (BSO)—the nearby police station that services Parkland—from receiving direct calls from those at the school.
According to the initial report, many of the callers hung up before being transferred to BSO, and because BSO dispatchers could not speak directly to callers, they could not receive updated information while responding to the crisis. “Specifically because of this system being in place on February 14, it took 69 seconds before the first law enforcement officer was notified. At that point, Cruz (the assailant) had already shot 23 people on the first floor of Building 12.”
A Need for Smarter, Enhanced 911 Call Routing
Being in an emergency can jeopardize your ability to clearly communicate with responders, whether it’s due to stress, fear, losing connection, or being in a situation where you cannot verbally share critical details. You may also find yourself in a situation similar to those at Marjory Stoneman where your call is being routed to a neighboring Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)—a dispatch center that receives 911 calls and dispatches the appropriate first responders—instead of the one closest to you and the emergency.
Enhanced 911 (E911), informally referred to as location services for 911 calling, connects you to the appropriate PSAP that is closest to your location and automatically sends your validated physical location and telephone number to the connected operator. This helps ensure that responders are dispatched to the correct location even if the caller cannot verbally communicate their location with the operator. Basic911 calling, on the other hand, requires the distressed caller to tell the 911 dispatcher their location.
E911 Calling Directly in Your Panic Button System
Initiating a panic button and connecting with 911 are two critical steps in alerting first responders, law enforcement agencies, and your school community that there is an emergency.
Raptor Alert, a mobile panic button system for schools, greatly expedites emergency response by providing critical information automatically to first responders, law enforcement agencies, and other applicable individuals both inside and outside of your school. Once the panic button is initiated, instant alerts provide the type, location, and time of the incident, as well as who initiated the emergency. Users can also connect with dispatchers through E911 calling directly in the Raptor Alert mobile app.
“Raptor has given us the unique opportunity to save lives by letting us quickly notify authorities and get the right help immediately.”
– Toms River Regional School District, NJ
Unlike other panic button systems, Raptor Alert does not require PSAPs to install software. Instead, Raptor Alert uses the native 911 public safety infrastructure to route the call to the closest PSAP and intelligently know each jurisdiction’s routing processes. This automatically gives the dispatch operator the campus address and the caller’s callback number so first responders can quickly get on scene.
Precise, Coordinated Response
We all know every second matters and that emergency response hinges on everyone having the information they need to act. There have unfortunately been numerous incidents where response was delayed due to misinformation or callers being routed to the wrong PSAP and dispatcher. Raptor Alert gives schools across the nation peace of mind by instantly sharing critical emergency information and expediting emergency awareness and response.
Continued Success and Support
In an environment that encounters frequent changes to staff, protocols, and industry best practices, we provide resources to encourage your continued success for years to come. Each district is assigned a Customer Success Manager, who will be your point of contact and ensure you are supported and satisfied throughout our partnership. We provide weekly live learning and development sessions, quarterly data analysis and business reviews, as well as exclusive roundtable events and webinars. Raptor also provides 24/7 telephone, email, and remote assistance support. Our support team’s average speed to answer a client call is 00:13 seconds, with an average resolution time of just over 9 minutes. Our focus on our clients’ success is just one reason Raptor maintains a 98% annual client retention rate.
“When you’re in an incident, your adrenaline is pumping, and you may not be thinking as clearly as you usually do…Giving each teacher and staff member access to Raptor Alert means we can react quicker to any incident.”
– Bay City ISD, TX