It’s been three years since the Ramapo Indian Hills school district made the decision to use Share911 as a part of their security system. When Security Director, Charles Wolff, made the recommendation to Superintendent, Beverly Mackay, it was clear that it would be an asset to their crisis plan. This was reinforced by the New Jersey school security task force put together in 2015 that resulted in a list of 42 recommendations. The second recommendation on the list was to improve response time in emergency situations. And the third was to enable all school security personnel to communicate directly to emergency responders. Wolff says it was important to the district that they find something to implement that could achieve that and Share911 passed the test.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, Wolff says that the app has even more value “because it provides a measurement of reassurance”, especially for the teachers he works with.
Wolff is a big believer in empowering people in the event of a safety emergency and Share911 allows him to do so. He’s given everyone in the building the ability to activate an alert, and with good reason.
“We’re looking for the earliest opportunity to detect a threat or crisis and obviously to notify the masses and the police as quickly as possible,” says Wolff.
While some teachers may initially be hesitant to accept this amount of responsibility, Wolff acknowledges that it involves a lot of training, something that Erik and Ray never fail to provide. Not only was training administered when Share911 was first implemented, but they continue to send out videos and resource documents to ensure that every teacher is up to date. Plus, they’ve recently introduced option-based protocols so that their employers are aware there’s not a one size fits all solution.
“We’re not telling them that locking down is the only thing to do. We want them to make the best decision, which could be evacuating, it could be locking down and barricading the door, or attempting to prepare a plan if they gain access,” explains Wolff. “If we’re going to empower our people, they all have to have the ability to see something and react accordingly.”
Both Mackay and Wolff instill that trust into their teachers, while also reinforcing that there is no way to mistakenly activate an alert.
Currently, the app is used twice a month for drills, whether it be a lockdown, fire drill, or medical emergency. Luckily it hasn’t been used in an active shooter situation, but there have been other instances where the app has been helpful.
Mackay says she would easily recommend the app to other districts and she’s been especially impressed with Erik and Ray’s customer service. She’s even made a few recommendations that they’ve taken into consideration.
“They’re all about client-serving and making sure it benefits the user,” she says.
Over the years, Wolff has learned that school faculty wants information and as much transparency as they can get during an emergency because it provides a sense of comfort. If only for this reason, Share911 adds a significant value to their security protocol.