Are American K-12 schools safe? Many people believe they aren’t. At the present time and since 2012, nearly 140 people including children were killed and 300 others were wounded in American schools. Sixteen of these tragedies were mass shooting events according to the Gun Violence Archive.
One of these tragic events took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed. Another tragic gun event took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. The Parkland shooting event killed 17 and dozens of people were wounded.
Unfortunately, school shootings are becoming all too common. For that reason, it is essential that school leaders become prepared to respond to these tragic events as well as any other potential threat that could possibly result in loss of life and/or injuries. One thing that can help to prevent loss of life and/or injuries should a crisis occur is a Mass Notification System.
What is a Mass Notification System?
A mass notification system (MNS) is the sending of one-way messages to report an emergency. Organizations in need of emergency or crisis notification include police and fire departments; local, state and federal governments; communities and cities; school administrators and personnel; emergency personnel such as hospitals; students of school; and parents or guardians. Mass Notification Systems can not only improve the safety of the school but also provide both alerts and real-time instruction during a crisis.
Components of a Mass Notification System
Click here to navigate to this website and get a clear description of the many components of a Mass Notification System. A good MNS provides the following services as well as others.
- Students and staff should be allowed to report behaviors or activities that are suspicious. By allowing this, threats can be prevented to become something more serious.
- A mass notification system should have the ability to reach everyone quickly.
- MNS should monitor 911 calls. Whenever 911 is dialed, the call should be recorded automatically.
- The MNS should let everyone know when the National Weather Service reports severe weather such as a tornado possibility.
- The MNS should include an intruder alert.
- With just the touch of a button, the MNS should be initiated whenever an emergency takes place.
- Computers, phones, speakers and other devices in the school should receive text, audio, and video notifications.
- Administrators should be able to choose who receives a mass notification. Those receiving a mass notification could be the entire school, a department, and/or a single person.
- The MNS should be able to issue a mass notification from a mobile phone, desk phone, or panic button. This should activate the building’s lighting systems and its physical security.
- Mass notifications should be set off from and to other physical systems such as systems controlling lights, systems granting access to the entry of the school building, and fire alarms.
- If an emergency should occur, the system should be able to perform a building lockdown.The most important characteristic of any MNS is that everyone is notified if a crisis should occur in order to guarantee his or her safety.