In active shooter situations, seconds can make a difference. Officials in San Luis Obispo County want to make sure they’re a step ahead.
On Tuesday, the SLO County Sheriff’s Department announced they were partnering up with SLO school districts to roll out a new emergency app that will help improve response times.
“We’re the only county that I know of that has developed a response plan with an app,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
A push of a button dials 9-1-1, while simultaneously notifying teachers and staff about an active shooter on campus.
“That’s pretty critical in an incident because it’ll give them the ability to lock down their classroom and protect their students,” Parkinson explained.
“It alerts law enforcement to where you are on that property and then a map is given of that property,” added SLO County schools superintendent James Brescia. “This is one tool in our tool belt to ensure safety and communications throughout our county.”
“I think it’s a great way for schools because that has been one of the major targets,” said 11th-grade student at Templeton High School Colby Wescom. “I’m definitely worried about some of the things that are going on in our country and kind of around the world.”
He’s not alone.
“I do get scared sometimes knowing that there are people out there that wanna do that schools,” shared 12th-grade Templeton High School student Madison Ceja. “But I think because of this app it will help us be safer.”
“Frankly we hope that we’ll never have to use this app,” said Parkinson.
Parkinson said he’s encouraging other departments – including Santa Barbara County – to try out the emergency plan.
The app is not available to students – just faculty and staff at SLO County schools.
The Rave Panic Button can also be used for other types of emergencies where medical or police assistance is needed. Templeton High School recently used it when a teacher needed help after choking.
“One of the staff members used the medical assist button,” said Assistant Principal at Templeton High School, Nancy Needham. “It automatically notified all of our nurses in our district, the administration, and deputy Munoz.”
The app is funded through a grant by the Department of Homeland Security, the SLO County Sheriff’s Office, and the county’s Office of Education.