Escalating Emergencies by Directly Connecting with Responders to Save Precious Time

 

 

 

 

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Watch to learn how Tim Donohoe, Direct or Facilities for Evergreen Park Community High School has connected directly with first responders and how they even had an alert from CrisisGo reach first responders approximately 3 minutes before their standard emergency response through police dispatch.

 

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Welcome to today's event titled “Escalating Emergencies by Directly Connecting with Responders to Save Precious Time.” I'm Greg Peterson content manager for CrisisGo and I'll be your moderator. During today's presentation will be focusing on the importance of having an effective system for rapid response as well as the value of connecting with First Responders for emergency communication and response. If you have any questions throughout the presentation, I welcome you to submit those via the questions panel and we’ll be conducting a short Q&A session at the end of today's presentation.

Our guest speaker today is Tim Donahoe of Evergreen Park Community High School in Illinois. He's here to discuss how CrisisGo helps with emergency alerting and connecting with First Responders. Tim will share how his districts uses CrisisGo and how they were actually able to use a CrisisGo alert to reach their local law enforcement approximately three minutes before their standard approach through dispatch. So, without further delay, I'll let Tim take it from here.

Hello everybody. I'm going to simply show you, I don't work for CrisisGo as Greg mentioned. I will simply go through how our school district uses it. I happen to like it a lot and I talked about it to other school districts as well. It is a combination device for us as many of you probably know you've been solicited by, I'm sure, by other companies. There are other ways to make immediate notification. One of the reasons that we went with CrisisGo and really liked it. We been with it a couple of years, it’s also been able to serve as our crisis management plan. So as opposed to printing a hundred plus pamphlets every year we simply update our program here and we use it for a variety of things.

Alright, so we use it in a variety of ways like I was trying to explain. We use it as a crisis management plan. So all of these different events that can come up. Any other staff members can use their phone. We also have them on their desktops and make a notification. Each one of these situations goes to a specific group of people that need to be made aware. The things that go to everybody is the armed intruder alert and fire. So let me close out of this and show you how that happens. This little red icon is on any page that you go to so if you're using your phone app or desktop, I normally use my phone. And I'm updating or checking rosters or whatever I may be doing. If a situation arises, I can go to this click on it. I can click on the emergency. And then I can send it. If I do, everybody who has it on the phone, all our desktops go into call it a panic or alarm mode and a siren activates. It's very distinctive. Yeah, what I like a lot about this is we're also coordinated with our local police departments and the supervisors on the streets as well as the precinct itself have this. The supervisors have it on their phones, certain squad cars have it on their laptops, and the police department itself has it in their headquarters so that the instant, and this is the sell for me, the instance there's notification made using CrisisGo. Everybody in the building is made aware that, I should say that. Let me rephrase that all the staff is made aware that we have an emergency and they begin our lockdown procedures.

If someone forgets what they are they can use this app to go back and see what am I supposed to do during such an event and it tells them what to do. Here’s my steps. We also have this information on a staff card inside their classrooms as well. So that's gives us instant notification. Police are already on their way here. So, our experience has been this, as we also have an internal system because as I said students don't have this on their phones and as we know I'm sure our students like yours don't have their phones out when they're in class. That's how they get notified. There's an announcement that goes across the PA system that notifies everybody we are in a lockdown situation. It kind of goes through the protocols to lock the door, sweep the hallways in front of you, turn off your lights, keep calm, keep off your cell phones off, all while that's going on police are already on their way because our internal system also notifies 911.

During our last drill, I timed out how long from the time our internal system was used, to the point where the police department at the station was notified through 911 that we had an emergency situation at the building, it was over three minutes. It’s a small town, where on south side of Chicago outside of Chicago. We shared dispatch with several other smaller communities. So, it's not going right to a police station. Whereas the CrisisGo not only does that, it goes to the policemen on the street. We had a situation a year ago where we had a report of a student that brought a handgun to school. With our video system were able to find him and we saw his backpack and what appeared to be a handgun hanging slightly out of it. We then went into lockdown using our CrisisGo notifying system. I had 14 policemen here in well under 90 seconds.

Through these different systems when we do drills. We have one coming up next week and in Illinois it’s now mandated to have one within 90 days of starting school. Colorado, I know it's been a law for years they have two and each state has their own laws governing that. I highly recommended least two a year and we do ours with students and with the police but when we had the actual event, within and I think realistically from the time the notice went out, we were probably completely locked in 10 seconds or less. There was nobody in the hallways and the police where here. Again, it's a small community so the police are always nearby, it's not that large. We have police rolling in here in under 90 seconds.

Whereas for those of you who study these kinds of things, Columbine’s 911 call took over two minutes once it was made before police were dispatched. So, once I became aware of that and heard that 911 call, it became paramount to me at least, that we find a much faster way to get help here and get it here quickly. We've taken other steps internally to secure our actual classrooms with internal wax and things like that. But this was the key element that I liked; the school likes about CrisisGo.

Now, I will tell you this if you're considering going forward with this a). I would recommend you do so, but if you do then use it. By that I mean because I know other districts that have had this in our area and said yes. Yeah, it's okay. Upon further conversation, I learned well they didn't really train their staff. They didn't have situations where they taught them how to use it. We discovered when we first implemented this that a lot of our staff were afraid to touch their phone or even open CrisisGo because they didn't want to send out an emergency call. So, we actually train them. We make them take their phones out and use it. As I said earlier, we're going to do a drill next week, and we will pick a staff member at random. Our assistant principal will walk into that room and say hello. Mrs. Jones, we have an emergency. Please activate our CrisisGo notifying system immediately. We have a shooter in the building. So that people, I can take my phone out and activate that in under 5 seconds.

So that is the sell to me. Quick notification to the people who can come and help you. Combine that with the fact that now our staff knows we care about them and we want them to be safe and we're offering them a way to accomplish that and the feedback I'm getting from staff members is excellent because then every other month we have staff meetings myself and our assistant principal, Mr. McCarthy who has been very active with this, with me. We give them different scenarios. What would you do and now you've got 60 seconds to decide. We break them into groups just to get people thinking and understanding that this is what you need to do during an emergency situation. The feedback has been great.

I had a former staff member after the Douglas shooting in Florida send me an email saying I just want you to know the teachers really appreciate all you do to keep them safe because had they had the same protocols we have here that probably wouldn't have happened or certainly been as severe. So, like everyone else across the country. Unfortunately, we're learning from other people's tragedies. But we do pay attention to, I do study it. I stay on top of this. I've worked with CrisisGo and let me give them a plug in this regard as well when we bring things to them and say, hey we noticed when we use the system it does this, we'd like it not to do that and they listen and then there's been changes. There’s been a lot of changes in the program itself. So, I'll let whoever you're talking to from CrisisGo talk to those situations better than I can. That is pretty much what I explained to staff members why we do this because it works, its quick, and that's about it. So that's all I've got if you have any questions, how what we do here, I'd be happy to take them.

Thanks Tim. I appreciate you sharing, and we really appreciate your district's commitment to safety. Well we give Tim just a second to catch his breath and have a drink water, I’ll like to remind everyone that you can submit any questions you might have for Tim or CrisisGo by submitting them to the questions panel and we'll get those in just a minute. I just wanted to touch up on what Tim was saying about CrisisGo emergency communication response features as I'm sure most of you know, when an emergency occurs, you need to make sure that all of your people can instantly know about the danger and respond accordingly. So to properly alert your staff you need a reliable system that allows you to send organization-wide warnings for any severe safety threat and CrisisGo not only provides the ability to alert everyone in harm's way and keep your stakeholders connected through communication. Our platform also lets you connect with First Responders, like local law enforcement, so you can immediately have them become aware of the situation and they can receive live communication updates from the school safety staff. So, it not only helps to reduce response times, but also provides better situational awareness to the officers who were responding kind of like Tim alluded too. So now that he's had a second to catch his breath. We'll see if we have any questions here.

Let's see. First question. Was it difficult to get First Responders on board to be a part of this?

No, actually. Because we made them part of the decision-making. As I mentioned earlier there are other options available and we looked at several. In fact, we had to deputy chief along with a couple of the captains’ involve. Let's look at these systems together. What are your thoughts? What do you like? What don't you like? And they like CrisisGo for a variety of reasons. Some of them were probably already covered so know no, we included them from the beginning is really the answer.

Wonderful, and another question how much difference does a few seconds or minutes make an emergency response?

Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I don't know how you quantify that but from the history of all these tragedies that have become so common. A lot of them don't even make the papers anymore. I mean seconds a minute is an awfully long time. So yeah, you can do a lot of damage with an automatic weapon and 60 seconds. So yeah seconds count a lot.

We have another question about First Responders. Do you have any advice for how to start building relationships with local First Responders?

I'm almost going to repeat my answer earlier. I think the solution is to involve them in the process. A). they are the experts. So, when I reached out to them, I wasn't just trying to coddle them. We have a security issue. That's your field of expertise. What do you think? Here's what we’re thinking/ Here's what we're looking at. I've had them walk through the building with me. In fact, we now have them trained here. So, I have found if you just consider what anybody you're talking to they get that and they want to be part of the solution. I can't imagine the police department saying we're not interested in school safety.

Very well said and in looks like our final question, let someone else has a quick one. How has CrisisGo helped with your safety drills and practices? You indicated you’ve practice with it.

We do. We use every system we have. We use CrisisGo to make the initial notification. That notifies our security task which then activates our internal there's a red button that they then push and that then activates our automated PA system. We also have blue lights throughout the building to indicate to someone who didn't hear the announcement that we are in a lockdown so to me, I mean, I'm sure there's other good systems available. But to me this one I can activate it in under 5 seconds in I really feel if I saw something happening out in the parking lot while I'm talking to you. I could notify campus place and lockdown in 15 seconds.

Wonderful. Well, I don't see any more questions. Thank you everyone for participating. And once again, thank you for attending. If you'd like to learn more about CrisisGo and how we can help make your district and school safer. You can visit our website at crisisgo.com. Also follow us on Twitter or on Facebook, or send an email to marketing@crisisgo.com if you'd like to learn more. Will be sending a follow-up email soon with a link to this recording in case you want to share it with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for attending and enjoy the rest of your day and thanks again Tim.

Let me add this if anyone want to think of a question later CrisisGo has my contact information feel free to call. Thank you very much. Have a great evening. You too, bye.

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