Whether you’re an office worker, student, doctor or teacher, there’s nothing more important than safety when preparing for emergencies in places such as enterprises, school campus or hospitals. And many of us would agree that safety in our schools is paramount.
That’s part of what makes Helen Hironimus’ story so harrowing. A voice and data communications professional with 25 years' experience at the Palm Beach County School District in Florida, Hironimus in this Webinar with enhanced 911 solutions provider RedSky Technologies recalls an incident in 2000 when a student who was suspended from a high school went home, retrieved a gun and returned to shoot a teacher to death.
At the time, Hironimus recalls, the school’s infrastructure for handling emergencies amounted to a single phone in the main office area.
“It was called the emergency phone, the red phone, and you would just pick it up and place a 9-1-1 call,” Hironimus said.
With this “system,” 9-1-1 dispatchers cannot determine the exact location of the caller – nothing beyond a street address (not much help in a large setting). In an emergency situation, where each second may threaten lives and property, it’s critical to provide emergency responders with the most detailed, up-to-date information possible.
Today, despite more and more states adopting legislation that addresses the problem, some form of that school’s red phone still lives in offices, healthcare facilities and educational institutions everywhere.
The answer, an increasing number of risk management professionals and decision-makers know, is E911 – a technology that leverages location-based services to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of distressed callers.
In the Webinar, titled “E911 for Colleges, Universities and Large School Districts,” Hironimus describes how E911 emerged as a crucial solution for the district and formed the lynchpin of an overall emergency systems overhaul. From that single red phone (about one per school), following a partnership with RedSky (News - Alert) and communications giant Avaya – itself a RedSky partner – the district, including all 189 schools, went on to upgrade its entire enterprise infrastructure to an IP-based network.
The three-year, site-by-site plan, once in place, began to see E911 handle about eight to 15 emergency calls per day, nearly all of them injury-related. The “Emergency Response Center,” as it’s called, not only allows PSAPs to see the name of the school where the 9-1-1 call is originating from, but also the floor number and specific building ID and telephone number of the phone making the 911 call. Also, key contacts such as school principals or department heads are notified through e-mail whenever a 9-1-1 call is made.
Specifically, the district is using RedSky’s E911 Manager – a full-featured software application that manages every aspect of E911. Once installed, E911 management happens automatically, without having to be constantly monitored, saving valuable administration hours. With the system, administrators receive daily system updates and notifications via e-mail or SMS, updating them on the status of their E911 network.
During the Webinar, Ken Rosko, director of business development for major channels at RedSky, reviewed the company’s various enterprise E911 solutions, designed to accommodate a wide range of needs among not only school settings but also offices and healthcare facilities.
That Webinar is available for download from the RedSky Web site.
Free, Live Webinar Scheduled for Dec. 9
For an opportunity to pose live questions to experts in the area of E911 in school settings, register for “E911 Best Practices Webinar for Colleges and Universities,” to be held at 2 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 9. Listeners can learn how George Washington University uses E911 to protect its campuses through this Webinar, which will feature Hope Singleton, a telecommunications veteran with 30-plus years of experience, including eight as voice communications manager at GWU.
Michael Dinan is a group managing editor for TMCnet, overseeing TMCnet's Web editorial team and covering news in the IP communications, CRM and VoIP industries. He also oversees production of e-Newsletters in the areas of 4G wireless technology and smart products. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan