Most agree, in times of crisis situations in a school, every second counts. The Onslow County School System is doing everything it can to shorten response times and expand communication and awareness during crucial situations.
On Aug. 6, school principals were introduced to the Sielox Crisis Alert Status System (Class) being installed throughout the school district this fall. Onslow County Schools is the first in the state to have such a system. With the Sielox Class they and other district administrators will have the ability to identify a problem and pinpoint its location within the school through its mapping capability, which will enable administrators and first responders to address a crisis quickly and efficiently, which can make all the difference in saving precious student lives.
With the push of a button from a teacher or administrator’s computer, Smartphone, tablet, or any device that can tap into their browser-based system, a school can be placed on lockdown. It also enables silent communication between school officials, teachers, officers and others in real time.
Gary Hinton, with North Carolina Sound who is installing the system, said whenever a teacher changes their color code from red to green, whoever is in the school office will be able to reach them via instant message to verify the alert is legitimate, then will pull the panic button, which will automatically notify law enforcement. At the same time six other administrators from the Central Office, including the Department of Safety and Security will have been notified by the same means and be on their way as they continue to receive information. Law enforcement can view interactive classroom maps that pinpoint the danger area or areas on their computer screens or in their patrol cars so they can respond accordingly.
“It is automating an evacuation plan in a response to a crisis situation,” said Hinton. “The system is automating the FEMA system of the red/green cards. And it creates a graphical map for law enforcement to respond quickly to areas in the school instead of walking in blind and not knowing where the crisis is … What we are going for is speed.”
The Onslow County Board of Education made the commitment to increase safety and security measures throughout the school district last December by approving $400,000 through the district capital outlay fund.
In addition to the Sielox Class system, schools will have upgraded classroom door locks on the school system’s 1,600 doors, a visitor management system on each campus will require visitors to scan their driver’s license, and panic buttons have already been installed in each school. Since the panic buttons were mandated by the state OCS received a $74,000 grant to help with that purchase.
Putting in all these measures in place amounts to approximately $10 per student this year, after this year the cost is cents not dollars,” said Dusty Rhodes, the director of safety and security.
“We want students to come to school and feel safe and we want to save lives should a crisis arise, that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” he said.
For more information on the visitors management system go to http://www.onslow.k12.nc.us/Common/News2/HomePagePopUps/Default.asp?ItemID=66603&ISrc=District&Itype=News