School board to consider emergency alert buttons

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 4/24/19

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County School District employees might be able to get in contact with emergency management services during an emergency with one touch of a button if the school board approves …

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School board to consider emergency alert buttons

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County School District employees might be able to get in contact with emergency management services during an emergency with one touch of a button if the school board approves the use of a new service at their meeting next week.

Following the Parkland shooting in February of last year, counties around the state like Lake, Seminole and Osceola have implemented an EMS system known as Mutualink. This service allows teachers and school-related employees to reach EMS directly to alert them of an active shooter, or a fire, medical or police need or any other general situation that would require a 911 phone call.

During the April 23 school board agenda review workshop, Superintendent Addison Davis told the board that he would be adding an item to the agenda for next week’s May 2 school board meeting.

“There’s one more [item] that I would like to add,” Davis said during the workshop. “This is Mutualink. This is an enhancement communication tool where teachers, on their phone, and they have to voluntarily interact with this – we’re not going to pressure anyone to volunteer for this – can push a button like the 911 button to link and alert all law enforcement agencies immediately.”

On their cell phones, teachers and all school-related employees who sign up for this service can press the appropriate button during an emergency. If there’s a fire, they would press the fire button and fire services in the area would be alerted. The same goes for the medical, police and active shooter buttons.

Before Mutualink is implemented, the school board must pass it with a vote. That vote will happen during the May 2 regular school board meeting. If passed, Davis expects Mutualink to be in service on July 1. It will cost the school district $80,245.50 this year and $44,955 in subsequent years. According to Davis, how this will be funded is still up in the air. The district is currently looking at grants that could cover the costs, but the millage could also be used.

If the school board votes to approve this program, all surrounding agencies including police departments, fire departments and even hospitals will receive the software free-of-charge.

“My job as superintendent is to make certain that we have platforms and structures to allow our teachers to signify when an immediate need is necessary and with Mutualink, they can contact local law enforcement, fire and rescue, first aid and other immediate assistance with our schools,” Davis said. “What this software allows us to do is to do just that. It’s just another tool that eliminates all of the other steps that staff has to take in order to signal assistance from law enforcement and fire rescue agencies. Clay County schools will be safer because of it.”

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