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Cutting-Edge Lockdowns Turn Teachers Into First Responders

When it comes to school shootings and other emergency situations, gone are the days when educators were simply instructed to lock the classroom doors, turn off the lights, and hide until police arrived. Today the response includes “Run, Hide, or Fight,” and staff and students are encouraged to use one or more options based on their own judgment. 

According to Fast Company, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently announced new school safety guidelines in all of the state's schools that suggest “each school should have a system for school staff to communicate with each other as well as first responders during an incident.” The guidelines push schools to consider using smartphones because they ”cannot always depend on the school’s public address or internal phone system.”

In response to this need, Massachusetts-based ELERTS built a system that allows teachers trapped in a volatile situation to use “Internet of Things” technology to keep their students safe. Educators can lock down a facility and cut off key card access with the click of a button while sending and receiving communication to other faculty and arriving police--all from a smartphone app.

ELERTS partners with the ALICE Training institute, which follows 2013 national guidelines for school safety developed in response to the Newtown, CT, school shootings. ALICE (stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) is used in districts across the country to prepare educators for the unthinkable.

A teacher or student inside a locked-down building is “really the first responder,” Frank Griffith, ALICE Training Institute’s executive vice president, told Fast Company. Griffith added that when a teacher has been prepped to think about his/her options, it increases the chances of survival.

Read the full story.

Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor

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