Grant helps districts prepare for emergency situations

Thirty-nine K-12 facilities started classes this fall with greatly enhanced active shooter panic alarm security systems, thanks to ESD 112’s Construction Services Group/Security & Tech Team, including CSG Security Staffers: Jay Garthwaite, Program Manager; Rod Roduin, Project Manager/Analyst; Arik Garthwaite, Assistant Project Manager II; Skip Mallang, Project Manager, and Director Doug Nichols.

CSG staff helped districts apply for an OSPI Emergency Response Grant worth nearly $1 million. Funding for these “pilot” installations arose from legislative hearings in 2013, where CSG Security Staff testified about innovative ways to reduce police response time, and improve an officer’s ability to remotely view and hear, live,  what was happening when a panic alarm was initiated.

Each school is now equipped with fixed and portable panic button devices that trigger immediate notification directly to 911 Dispatchers and building administrators wireless devices in less than ten seconds.   The direct connection replaces older style systems requiring calls to be routed through a private (often distant) monitoring center, with delays of more than three minutes commonly experienced.

For the grant program CSG selected one cluster of schools in an urban setting (Bellingham, with 23 sites) and another cluster in a rural area (Klickitat County, with 16 schools) to better capture the technical challenges with deployment of the complex technology.

Finding no “off the shelf” product meeting the schools’ needs,  CSG staff merged more than 30 components into a single integrated system and managed the installation and delivery to schools.