Arkansas schools to use panic button app for active shooter defense

arkansas panic button

A five button mobile app tied into the state 911 system will be available to select staff in Arkansas public schools (Photo: Rave Mobile Safety)

Funded through a $1 million grant, teachers and faculty at public schools across Arkansas will be able to have access to a virtual panic button in case of emergency.

The program, mandated by the 2015 School Safety Act, calls for access to the Rave Panic Button by September. The button, utilized through a downloadable smartphone app to authorized persons, can instantly call first responders to an active shooter or other situation while pinpointing the location of the user activating the system.

“We felt it imperative to put a solution like this in place to protect the students, teachers and administrators across the entire Arkansas public school system every day,” said Johnny Key, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Public Education, in a statement. “Having the ability to instantaneously connect teachers and school administrators with 9-1-1 and other emergency personnel will give us, and Arkansas parents, a much greater sense of confidence as we begin a new school year.”

The app gives users an option to select the type of emergency, be it an active shooter, police, fire, EMS or other and immediately contacts authorities while simultaneously alerting others on a preloaded list. First responders will have access to floor plans and key personnel lists at the facility and the panic button will work in conjunction with the Arkansas Smart911 system.

The panic button system is the latest installment in the effort by schools to use technology to defeat potential active shooters in the months and years following the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, that claimed the lives of 26 students and faculty.

This effort has seen sidelined emergency barricades in Ohio, bodyguard blankets, gunshot detection systems and up-armored whiteboards.

“To our knowledge it is the first statewide deployment of our technology in the U.S.,” said Noah Reiter, director of industry solutions for Rave Mobile Safety, who fielded the system.

The program is set to cost $850,000 to set up and $100,000 to maintain per year, funded through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.