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San Bernardino elementary school shooting highlights why the use of "mass-notify" systems should be banned

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Published by: StreamQuik staff

April 13, 2017

 

On Monday, April 10, 2017, an active-shooter incident occurred at the North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California.  Right away, a mass-notification alert was distributed to parents.  The result:  The roads around the school became clogged with traffic as parents and the media rushed to the school.  How do we know?  We obtained an audio transcript of the two-way radio traffic that occurred between on-scene first responders and their dispatcher that demonstrates why these types of mass-notify systems should be banned from being used.  To verify the problem yourself, click here to play the short audio clip (or right-click here to download it) where you can hear the on-scene officer voicing his concern about the clogged roadways and how emergency vehicles were having a tough time getting through.  It should also be pointed out that the use of these mass-notify solutions has created major issues for other campuses as well, including a recent incident at Ohio State.  This time, things worked out but what if this happens again and someone dies because first responders couldn't get there in time because of the clogged roads around the incident scene caused by the issuance of a mass-notification alert?  Who becomes liable for that person's death?  An investigation would certainly follow afterwards that would reveal fault along with a likely lawsuit.

Schools and college campuses unaware of the hidden dangers and risks associated with panic-button apps

Published by: StreamQuik staff

March 13, 2017

 

Schools and college campuses are becoming more of a security challenge by the day—threatening incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. Sadly, many of these institutions have been lured into deploying panic-button solutions giving them a false sense of being "covered" in the event of a serious public-safety incident on campus or at the administrative office.

The problem

These so-called "mass-notification" apps are leaving schools and colleges vulnerable to potential loss of life and increased liability and risk exposure.  Here's what every public-safety, security, risk and emergency-management department should know when it comes to using these apps:

Fumbling with your phone when you can least afford to

These kinds of apps get put on student and faculty phones at a time when their phones are awash with a sea of other apps making it difficult to find the right app when you need it.  Sound familiar?  When a serious incident occurs and someone with a smartphone equipped with one of these apps needs to get help quickly, panic usually sets in fast as the smartphone user tries frantically to find the app they're looking for to send for help.  In critical life-and-death situations, you may not be able (or have the time) to flip through your phone's sea of apps to find the one you need. especially if you're confronted by an attacker.

If you had a threatening person standing near you and you reached for your phone and started fumbling around trying to find your panic app or to make a phone call, do you honestly think that you'll come away from the incident unscathed?  The wrong move could be deadly.

The dangerous IN-BUILDING location-reporting problem that these apps don't address

Apps like this don't make it quick and easy for first responders to find a person inside a building when an alert is received; this is one of the BIGGEST problems that school officials are unaware of.  Sure, with GPS, these apps may tell a responder what building a person is in, but they don't tell you where INSIDE the building a person is located.  The result:  First responders spend time searching room-to-room when every second counts—we've all seen this scenario many times as responders "sweep" the insides of buildings.  Would YOU want to be laying on the floor with a serious life-threatening injury while precious seconds/minutes go by as first responders try to find you inside of a building because they don't know where you are?  Of course not.

Distribution of false and misleading information that creates unnecessary panic

According to reports from where these mass-notification apps have been recently used on campus, false and misleading information was distributed to students and others that created unnecessary panic.  The result:  False information got into the wrong hands which produced unwanted chaos leaving school officials to clean up the mess with concerned parents not to mention the media that usually appears.

The hidden back-end support burdens and costs

Unfortunately, these apps require a great deal of initial and on-going training and support placing a huge burden on already-overworked school IT and other staff.  These apps also require the use of special back-end software that needs to be installed on computers that poses all sorts of challenges to school IT staff not to mention the training and retraining that's needed when turnover happens.

No ability to integrate with live security-camera video for sharing with police

Most of these apps don't provide the integration of live video from existing security cameras to enable first responders to see what's happening on the incident scene before they arrive.  The result: First responders have to waste precious time once they arrive to determine how to best deploy resources.

The solution

StreamQuik's VidAware Alert panic-button solution solves the "fumbling" problem by eliminating the need for a special app; the alert button is always at the ready to send for help without having to even pick up the phone.  Our solution also sends PRIVATE alerts for help to only those that need to know such as security and first responders and can even integrate with your existing security-camera system regardless of make/model to enable you to share and control access to your security cameras.

StreamQuik's Alert solution is designed to be deployed inside of buildings in fixed locations where students and faculty spend most of their time and not on student or faculty's personal phones.  This enables the location of these devices to be always known and documented; the alerts can be sent quickly without needing to do anything but tap the phone's screen—no special app needed.

The VidAware Alert monitor (click here to see it) enables staff, security or police to instantly receive an alert with specific in-building location awareness.  With a simple click of a button, a pop-up message appears that indicates where an alert is coming from from within a building.  And since our solution is browser-based, it makes it easy to receive incoming alerts without needing to install any hardware or software.

Call us and we'll give you a live demo right over the phone, and that's not all.  We'll also offer you the chance to evaluate VidAware Alert on your own phone, desktop or tablet on your own campus.  During this time, you'll be able to see for yourself how our 'Simple-Click-Share' user experience is redefining emergency response.

 

To arrange a demo, call us above.  If you're serious about doing it the right way, you'll be glad you called whether you have an existing panic-button solution now or are planning to buy one.

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