Montgomery County School Safety System Activated

NORRISTOWN, Penn. – The Montgomery County Commissioners activated a wireless silent-alarm “panic button” system Wednesday that provides an added layer of protection to schools.

The Countywide Law enforcement Alerting and Safety System (CLASS), which was demonstrated at Stewart Middle School in Norristown, also provides responding officers the ability to call up floor plans of the school on their laptop computers so that they can have a better idea of what they’re dealing with.

The button aspect of the alarm will give school personnel a means to communicate the critical information that an emergency is occurring in a discrete fashion and not place themselves or others in further danger.

This system was originally conceived a year ago year in the wake of the West Nickel Mines School tragedy in Lancaster County. There have been several incidents involving Montgomery County schools since then that have highlighted the need to increase safety for our children.

Activation of a CLASS alarm will immediately alert a 9-1-1 dispatcher that a critical incident of some type is occurring at that location.

The dispatcher can then immediately contact police officers in the vicinity via radio, mobile data computer or pager and other text-enabled devices.

The system is currently deployed in 59 schools throughout the County and there are plans to have several hundred in place by the end of the year.

Eventually, this system will be installed in all 650 public, parochial, private and nursery school in the County.

This system has a number of advantages over traditional alarm systems. It won’t require that the signal be received by a private alarm company and then relayed to the 9-1-1 Center via telephone.

CLASS was also developed with the intention of expanding its capabilities in the future.

It can also be developed into a Personal Computer-based system that will have the capability of two-way text communications and a printer to maintain messages in hard-copy format. A light-and-buzzer system could be added to draw attention to alerts, particularly of impending severe weather, the need to evacuate or the need to lock down an installation because of a nearby incident.

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Intergraph Oct. 29 press release

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