Florida Public Schools Must Have Mobile Panic Alarms by 2021-22 Academic Year

The Martin County School District has installed an $800,000 Centegix alert system.

To comply with Alyssa’s Law, public schools in Florida are required to have a mobile panic alarm system up and running for the 2021-22 school year.

The system installed at the Martin County School District enables school employees to send an alert to local law enforcement at the press of a button. At the same time, students and staff are notified of emergencies by flashing strobe lights alarms, and messages displayed on computer screens.

The district spent $800,000 last year to integrate its alert system from Centegix, and officials there consider it money well spent, reports WPTV.

“Everyone in the district gets one of these cards, and it’s a badge that they have to wear on their person, right behind their ID card, and it gets them the help they need within seconds,” said Frank Frangella, Martin County School District safety and security director. “Having every staff member at their fingertips a way to notify first responders to get there as quickly as possible makes all the difference in the world.”

The Centegix system can be configured to transmit different types of alerts based on the severity of the situation. In addition to notifying local authorities of events like active shooters, school staff can call for on-site help to break up classroom fights or address medical emergencies, for example.

Further setting an example for other Florida schools, Martin County School District also uses technology to keep track of students on buses. Students use ID cards when they get on the bus. The system can then inform the driver if those children are on the right bus, as well as where they get off.  It also is used for contact tracing by producing a seating chart that shows drivers how long each student was on the bus to determine with whom they’ve had close contact. The system is currently being updated to also notify parents of their child’s whereabouts.

Other school districts are following suit. St. Lucie Public Schools and the School District of Palm Beach County are both deploying mobile panic alarm systems, while Okeechobee County School District plans to implement an app-based program that speed dials 911 in an emergency.

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