Minnesota District Deploys Emergency Alert System

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Both Detroit Lakes School District and the city of Detroit Lakes in Minnesota are deploying a mass communications system to help notify parents, students, and residents at large of emergencies.

The city and district signed on with Honeywell to deploy the Honeywell Instant Alert notification service, which can deliver mass communications to land lines, mobile phones, e-mail accounts, pagers, and PDAs. The system, which is hosted off site, can deliver "up to 200,000 30-second phone calls and 125,000 text messages in 15 minutes, and is capable of storing pre-scripted alerts to help ensure a rapid and measured response in a crisis," according to Honeywell.

At Detroit Lakes School District, the system is being used for both routine and emergency communications and to provide information to specific groups and subgroups.

"The Instant Alert message explained the situation and assured everyone that the kids were safe," said Doug Froke, superintendent of Detroit Lakes School District, in a prepared statement. "Without Instant Alert, the details would not have reached parents so soon and misinformation could have complicated the situation. With the push of a button, we were able to control the rumor mill."

Detroit Lakes School District serves about 2,700 students in two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one learning center.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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