As part of a continuing effort to explore safety and security resources for its schools, the Cobb County School District has become the first in the state to test a new crisis management system called AlertPoint. Two schools, Kennesaw Mountain High and Bells Ferry Elementary, are serving as proof of concept locations for the system during the 2017-2018 school year.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale. “Before teachers can teach, and before students can learn, they have to feel safe.”
Using state-of-the-art technology, AlertPoint gives each employee the ability to activate an emergency alert anywhere on a school campus.
“It enlists everybody on staff as an active participant in the safety and security of the school,” said Officer Phil Bradford of the CCSD Police Department.
The creators of the system patterned the concept after the way schools handle fire emergencies.
“It has been 70 years since there has been a school death because of a school fire,” said Dean Olds, Co-Founder and President of AlertPoint. “If a fire happens inside a school, everyone knows to — quickly activate the fire alarm.”
AlertPoint works in much the same way with emergency buttons that instantly alert everyone in the school about a crisis through hubs, which look similar to smoke detectors, installed throughout a school campus.
When an employee activates AlertPoint, flashing lights, beeps, and voice messages over the school intercom system, alert everyone to the type of crisis ranging from a medical emergency to an altercation or a security breach. The location of the person who activated the alarm is displayed on a monitor of school’s floorplan in the front office.
In addition, the alert information is immediately displayed on the computers and mobile devices of administrators and police officers, both in the building and throughout the district, who have access to the AlertPoint mobile app.
“The alert can be activated if you are in a hallway or if you are in a cafeteria or, if you are outside at the tennis court, the track, or the football field. It brings emergency responders right to you,” said Superintendent Ragsdale.
The system empowers each employee to take action.
“If one of the staff members sees something that is that threatening, within in a matter of seconds, the entire building can know what to do,” said Officer Bradford.