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New Technology Offered to Missouri Schools Aims To Increase Safety

In the News

This article originally appeared on KFVS12. To view the original article, click here.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – If there’s an emergency at your child’s school, how can every teacher know what they need to do to keep your kids safe?

Now, there’s a new tool designed to help teachers communicate with one another and call for outside help at the same time.

Missouri’s Department of Public Safety is offering an app called Raptor Alert to every public school district statewide. It’s like a panic button teachers and other school personnel can use on their phones to alert each other and get emergency help as quickly as possible.

“It gets it to 911 and it also gets it to any types of law enforcement personnel, emergency response personnel that the school has designated,” Mike O’Connell, with the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said.

Just opening an app and pushing a button, that’s how easy the Missouri Department of Public Safety wants it to be for schools to make contact in an emergency.

“This is another progression in our efforts to make the schools and everybody in them safer,” O’Connell said.

“When you’re in an emergency situation, seconds matter,” David Rogers said. He works with Raptor, the company behind the alert app.

“The buttons can actually be programmed by the district, be whatever they want them to be,” he added.

According to Rogers, a school can use the app to communicate inside the building, as well as reach out to law enforcement. Different button in the app can alert other school personnel or emergency services of different situations. In one example, Rogers showed the app loaded with buttons labeled: secure, lockdown, evacuate, shelter, and hold. Secure would indicate an outside threat, advising teachers to keep students inside. Lockdown can be used for an active shooter, evacuate if there’s a fire, shelter can be used for a tornado, and hold to keep students in their classrooms.

O’Connell said schools can give anyone access to those alerts.

“Generally, it’s going to be all teachers, certain key administrators, you might want to have some law enforcement people maybe the school resource officer,” O’Connell said. ”Or if it’s a smaller community, maybe the sheriff would even want to be connected to the system.”

According to O’Connell, since Missouri introduced this tool six days ago, more than 70 school districts have registered.

“We’re doing everything we can to protect students and teachers, staff, everybody in a school,” O’Connell said.

“It’s part of a bigger grander scheme around school safety,” Rogers said.

O’Connell said schools should register by Friday, June 30 if they want to have the program ready to go by the start of next school year. If you miss that deadline, your school could still be enrolled by November.

Missouri schools can register here.