DeKalb tries out new smartphone app for school emergencies
December 11, 2015
Southern Torch (3854 articles)
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DeKalb tries out new smartphone app for school emergencies

By Joseph M. Morgan

joseph@southerntorch.com

DeKalb County, Ala.— The DeKalb County Board of Education recently announced that DeKalb County Schools would be taking part in a pilot program that utilizes, “Lokdown,” a smartphone app used for emergency communication during times of crisis. The application arms teachers and staff on the front lines, allowing them to communicate with administrators, crisis teams, and even the authorities in real time during an event. Lokdown is cloud-based, so it is accessible from anywhere via broadband or where cellular connections are available in the event of a power outage or loss of wired internet connection.

In the event of an emergency, notification messages are immediately sent to BOE staff and building administrators via email and text messaging. A “dashboard” keeps administration aware of the current status of every teacher and staff member during an emergency situations. Lokdown is a secure and very simple communication tool and can be used by teachers and staff to announce a school lockdown, update their location and status, including the wellbeing of students and themselves. The same function allows administrators and authorities to follow the most secure procedures to lift a lockdown when the emergency or potential emergency event has ended.

“This is a great asset to the administration, faculty, students, and parents of DeKalb County,” DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Hugh Taylor said. “It gives us the ability to quickly communicate alerts and events that will provide security for all of our campuses. Accountability of students during lockdowns, evacuations, and other related events are a top priority for our system.

“This is a great preventative tool that could save precious time and lives, if in the event of an emergency. We are extremely pleased to be afforded the opportunity to pilot this program and look forward to the day it will be a permanent fixture to our safety features here in DeKalb County.”

DeKalb County schools will be testing the pilot program until February. If the pilot program is successful, Alabama Legislators will request that this technology be included as a line item in the Alabama Education budget in the next legislative session. School officials hope this system will shore up any gaps in schools that may not have a School Resource Officer on duty at the time of an emergency. According to the application’s creators, response time during emergencies for those areas could be cut in half. If use of the application were adopted statewide, the cost for the system for each school in the state would amount to about 25 cents per student.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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