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Teachers to get panic buttons for emergencies

Teachers in Henderson County public schools and Blue Ridge Community College will be equipped with panic buttons that allow them to communicate emergencies with 911 telecommunicators, on-site staff and first responders with the touch of a button, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and school administrators announced on Thursday.

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The Rave Panic Button provides first responders with the caller’s exact location, campus floor plans, emergency contacts and other information. The app has an interface that allows users to select the type of emergency: active shooter, police, fire, EMS or other.

“One of the benefits of the panic button app is that it gives staff on campus the ability to let our 911 Center know what type of emergency response is needed,” said Lisha Stanley, communications director for the sheriff’s office. “Administrators on campus along with school resource deputies receive simultaneous notifications when an emergency call has been placed.”

“We know that every second counts in an emergency, especially in an active shooter situation,” said Sheriff Charles McDonald. “Over the past few months, our Sheriff’s Office along with school administrators and county officials have been working to equip our campuses with this potentially lifesaving technology.” Supplying panic button licenses to faculty is the latest addition in a wide-ranging school security plan involving additional school resource deputies, ongoing extra security checks, enhanced protocols and continued training.

Henderson County began testing the Rave Panic Button in the spring with a limited number of users. Since then, minor medical emergencies have been successfully reported using the app. The goal is to have every public school employee and Mountain Community School employee equipped to use the panic button as the traditional school calendar begins. Year-round schools have already been equipped with the capabilities.

“Our students, faculty, and staff across the county are already protected by the best local law enforcement,” said Bo Caldwell, Superintendent of Henderson County Public Schools. “Now they’ll be immediately connected to 911 and other emergency personnel through the best technology.”

The addition of the Rave Panic Button follows closely behind the release of the Report It, Don’t Ignore It threat-reporting app developed by the school system to enhance communication among its students, parents, teachers, administrators and law enforcement concerning bullying, drugs, threats and other concerns.

Henderson County officials, in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office, plan to equip Henderson County government buildings and staff with the Rave Panic Button in the next few months.