Ralston Public Schools is taking extra precautions when it comes to emergencies. At its meeting Oct. 28, the school board approved a mobile panic button app for RPS staff.
The Rave Panic Button, which will cost about $10,000 a year, is a mobile application aimed to heighten emergency response by immediately contacting 911 and sharing details of a disastrous situation occurring within the district to all staff members throughout RPS.
Once the button is pushed and others are notified of the situation, staff members will follow district procedures depending on the emergency, said Jim Frederick, director of external relations and engagement for RPS.
Not only will news spread faster pertaining to emergencies, it will also update those who have the app. The updates are done through text, email and push notifications.
Frederick said the district’s goal is to have the app downloaded and complete training with a limited number of staff members by the end of the calendar year.
The remainder of the staff will get the app and be trained by the end of the school year.
“The safety and security of our students and staff is the number one priority for Ralston Public Schools,” Frederick said. “The district is always looking to be proactive in finding ways to strengthen our safety procedures to make our facilities the safest they can be.”
The app will allow for early intervention and a quicker emergency response time in situations such as an intruder, a threat outside the building, fire, medical emergencies and even inclement weather, Frederick said.
“We believe this will help improve the safety for all individuals in our schools by providing immediate information during the first seconds of a dangerous event,” he said.
With Rave, Frederick said the district believes it will further protect students and staff.
“Staff members will have this communication tool with them at all times wherever their location is,” he said.
“This app allows district staff members to alert others of an emergency situation from their smartphone.”
Ralston Police Chief Marc Leonardo said the app will be a useful tool, especially when it comes to an emergency like an active shooter.
“The quicker they can get to us, the quicker we can respond to the situation,” Leonardo said.
Rolling out the app is still in the early stages, but plans are brewing, Frederick said. Soon there will be a training session planned for district employees to ensure they feel confident using Rave if needed.
“When ready, employees will have the app download correctly to their phone and feel comfortable using it in an emergency situation,” Frederick said.
Protecting students and staff is a responsibility the district doesn’t take lightly, Frederick said.
“We feel this app is going to be a tremendous addition to our district,” he said.
“It will save us precious seconds if we did have a real issue inside or just outside of our schools. We’re excited about this technology and taking the next step in school safety.”