Our nation’s schools face emergency situations all too often. The unfortunate reality is that the institutions that educate our youth, and which are supposed to be places of safety and protection, are plagued by violence – both on campus and on the surrounding streets. But emergencies aren’t just limited to violence; extreme weather and natural disasters also impact schools, the students and staff. When emergencies arise, school leaders need immediate access to information, and they need to be able to get that information in teachers’ and other staff member’s hands right away. Sending individual text messages or calling individual classrooms is ineffective. PA systems are not always a good option either, as oftentimes principals don’t want to broadcast information out to the entire school and potentially cause panic among students. This is where In-telligent is filling a huge need.
In Florida’s Miami Dade County for example, neighbor to Broward County (where the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting took place one year ago), the Miami Dade Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center (MDPD-RTCC) is using In-telligent to provide a direct and immediate line of communication to school officials at private and charter schools within the several districts they serve. With In-telligent, MDPD-RTCC can alert principals and other officials when something happens that needs immediate attention.
While it serves many purposes for MDPD-RTCC, one of the primary functions of In-telligent is to ensure that when violence breaks out in a certain area or a crime has been committed and a perpetrator is on the loose, police can notify school principals and other officials right away. School officials can use the same app (and many of them do!) to alert teachers and staff and give direction on what to do to keep students safe. The technology is a win-win for MDPD and local schools, by providing MDPD-RTCC personnel an easy way to communicate with schools, and by giving school principals peace of mind that local law enforcement is keeping them protected and informed.
Barbara Higgins, Technology Director at St. Patrick Catholic School in Miami Beach, brought In-telligent into her school for internal communications purposes during emergency preparedness drills, lockdowns and other time-sensitive events. Higgins says that the main reason St. Patrick School uses In-telligent is to enable reliable, immediate communication with all teachers in the K-8 school and preschool to give them advance notice of emergency drills. “Thankfully, we have not yet used In-telligent for a real emergency, but we are glad to know it’s in place if we need it,” she said.
St. Patrick School is made up of several old buildings that were constructed in the 1920s. Each building has its own fire alarm but none of them are connected together, or to the main office building fire alarm. In order to alert teachers in the different buildings when a drill is about to happen, the school secretary previously had to call each classroom before each alarm was set off – a highly inefficient process that was also unreliable, as teachers and their students would sometimes be in other locations on campus or walking between buildings. Because all teachers have cell phones, the school now uses In-telligent to alert all teachers at once when the need arises.
Among its various features, the app has an audible notification over-ride which guarantees that an alert is sounded on the recipient’s phone, even when it’s set on silent or Do Not Disturb mode. Higgins says that in the near future she may use In-telligent to communicate with parents for emergency situations or simply for important notifications that need to be sent.
Our goal at In-telligent is to keep people everywhere safer and more informed during emergencies and other time-critical events. We are proud of the work we’re doing with MDPD-RTCC and with the schools in the Miami region to provide a reliable, much needed tool to handle their emergency communications. We look forward to helping many more law enforcement agencies and the schools that they serve in order to keep everyone connected and informed.
Interested in keeping your school safer with In-telligent? Contact us: https://in-telligent.com/contact2/
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