Guest Column | March 11, 2013

Unified Communications, Improving School Safety

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Patrick J Jones

By Patrick J. Jones, Ed. S., Director of Technology, Valley Park School District

Valley Park School District has implemented unified communications in order to improve school safety

In the wake of recent, national school safety and weather events, school districts across the nation are conducting needs assessments and re-evaluating their policies, procedures, and resources related to security or natural disaster situations.  These needs assessments are bringing together teams of stakeholders focused on the same goals: How to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a campus safety and security event.  While many of the answers to these questions might require additional funding for procurement of equipment, there are many elements that can be accommodated through exploitation of existing resources.

One of the greatest needs discovered in these assessments is communication and coordination during the response to event phase of a situation.  Statistics have shown that, in an active shooter scenario, an average shooting event lasts 13 minutes, and the average first responder arrives on scene in 10 minutes.  Any opportunities to increase communications that alert of the issue quickly, allow first response to the appropriate location on the scene, reduces the shooter’s event, and mitigate issues is essential to the safety of students and staff.

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