NY Schools Get Direct Line to Emergency Responders

Twenty schools in two New York counties will be testing out a new emergency response system that connects them directly to police and other public safety responders. Oneida and Rockland counties will each have 10 schools outfitted with a Mutualink K12 system, according to an announcement made by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This Internet-based communications solution enables real-time information sharing, including voice, video, data and text, between schools and emergency responders. School radios, phones and mobile devices connect directly to emergency dispatch systems to alert responders immediately, with the goal of helping them to arrive on the scene faster and with the appropriate resources for the emergency.

The company also provides a "panic button" feature that allows school people to expedite notification and provide law enforcement with fast access to communications.

The deployment is being handled this month by the state's Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services (DHSES), working with each county's sheriff's office or emergency management office.

"Accurate information and situational awareness are critical to any emergency situation. This platform will give law enforcement and emergency managers real time access to voice, video and data to make smart, timely decisions on how to respond rapidly to any emergency situation," said DHSES Commissioner Jerome Hauer in a statement.

"In an emergency, mere seconds can make all the difference in averting tragedy," added the Governor in a statement. "This new technology is yet another step we are taking to better protect students and ensure that first responders and law enforcement have access to quick and accurate information. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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