Q&A with Todd Miller: How Rave Mobile Safety Keeps Schools Safe
- By Kristal Kuykendall
Todd Miller, senior vice president of strategic programs at Rave Mobile Safety, recently spoke with THE Journal about Rave’s panic button app and how it’s helping keep schools and students safe, how Rave helps automate the instantaneous sharing of information that helps safety responders, and why he believes a statewide approach to school safety technology works best.
The Rave Mobile Safety app provides about 10,000 K–12 schools with a “panic button” app that, when activated by any staff member, immediately connects to first responders as well as to other campus staff and leaders, the school nurse, and parents, if the situation calls for it.
Rave announced today it has acquired AppArmor, a provider of custom-branded safety apps and emergency notification systems for healthcare and higher ed organizations.
THE Journal: How does the Rave Mobile Safety app work?
Todd Miller: What we call the “Rave panic button” is actually five main buttons: active assailant, police, fire, medical, and other. When a user presses any of them, the app dials 911 and connects the user to an operator as it simultaneously sends the user’s precise location within the building and its floor plan to first responders. When that button is pressed, it also intelligently notifies the key constituents or stakeholders based on who is pressing the button, where it is pressed, and the type of event button pressed.
If the user pressed the active assailant button, then as the app calls 911, it also immediately texts and emails every student and staff member with actionable real-time intelligence that might say something like “Todd has reported an active assailant on campus,” so the students and staff can immediately go on lockdown and take their protective measures. If instead the medical button had been pressed, it would only notify those staff identified by administrators during set-up as being needed for a medical emergency, such as first responders, the school nurse, and perhaps campus leaders.
And from the other direction, it can also be used to check in with school staff during an incident, such as counting how many people are within a facility. So in an active assailant situation, the app would allow 911 to push out a query to all teachers and staff through the app asking them, “Are you in need of assistance? Is anybody in your area hurt?” and so forth.
THE Journal: How useful is the Rave Mobile Safety app in information-sharing and communications when there is not a major safety emergency?
Miller: We recognized there was a need to provide incident-response information at the point of demand, a way to give that teacher or staff member the help and the guidance they need right when they need it. A 50-page guidebook is not that helpful when an emergency happens. But this is not just an emergency tool; it can be used on a daily basis to communicate important events to faculty and staff members, and it provides a better connection between local public safety and the schools.
Oftentimes, public safety officials will know about a safety threat before a school will — such as a robbery down the block from a campus, or a wildfire in the area — and the Rave panic button app helps keep that communication and information sharing open in both directions.
The platform is also configurable for anonymous tips; in Oklahoma, which has the Rave Mobile Safety app deployed to public schools statewide, they have an anonymous tip line where students can send a text message. In other locations, it’s an app or a website. This allows schools and students to be proactive and help avoid safety incidents.
You can expect to see continued enhancements to the anonymous reporting capabilities we offer, as well as more resources for student mental health response.
THE Journal: Why do you advocate for a broader approach to school safety technology, versus district-by-district solutions?
Miller: To best ensure our schools are safe, there has to be coordination at scale – we can’t leave it to individual schools to figure out safety and security on their own. Delaware, Louisiana, Oklahoma are a few examples of states that have deployed school safety technology on a statewide level. We can be much more efficient this way — share information and collaborate on safety — if we implement the same type of safety technology on a statewide basis. By having a standard approach, we see better results when incidents happen. With floor plans embedded within the platform, first responders know where to quickly find that information and how and where to respond.
Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can
be reached at [email protected].