Hancock County schools make major safety upgrade with new ‘panic button’ for teachers

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – Schools across the country are implementing more safety measures, and Hancock County is making a major upgrade with a smartphone app. It could save precious time in an emergency all with the push of a button.

“It’s all about seconds,” said Greenfield Central Community School Corporation Superintendent Harold Olin. “If teachers can notify the office of a medical emergency quickly, certainly that’s something that saves time and helps kids.”

Hancock County now has an app called “Panic Button” operating in all of their schools. Made by the company Rave Mobile Safety, the phone app allows school staff to alert first responders of emergencies like an active shooting even before dispatch has relayed the info.

“The officers will have already received a text message based on the activation that the button has been pressed,” said Hancock County 911 Director John Jokantas. “So they will already be responding.”

Not only does the app alert first responders, it also alerts teachers and staff throughout the building.

“If you’re a teacher in another part of the building, you would know that something was happening in your building and have an idea where it was happening,” Olin said.

The app can only be used at the school and uses geo technology, meaning the app can provide an exact location within the building. With a cost of $11,000 a year, the county feels it’s absolutely worth it.

“As you look at other school systems that are implementing hundreds of thousands worth of infrastructure, this is something that could be done at a fraction of that cost and really make a difference,” said Hancock County Board of Commissioners President Brad Armstrong.

The app is being used in schools across the country, and so far has been mainly used for medical emergencies. While the county hopes their schools won’t have to use it, they feel better knowing they’re prepared.

“We really feel like it helps that response time for a multitude of different emergencies we might have,” Olin said.

The company behind the app says Shelbyville schools will be implementing the panic button soon. It is also being used at schools in Lawrence County and Fountain County.

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