In February of this year, students and teachers experienced a frightening situation when a gun was found on campus at a school in Marion. Within minutes the school was in lockdown, students found a safe location, and police secured the building. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.

The quick reaction was set in motion when the principal activated the Rave Panic Button. This technology was developed after the 90th General Assembly passed the School Safety Act last year.

As many of us prepare to send our children back to school next month, we want to remind parents about this technology now available to every school in the state.

The Panic Button is a mobile app that allows authorized employees of schools and businesses to not only contact 911 when an emergency is taking place, but also to notify their co-workers of the incident simultaneously. The Panic Button also enhances first responders’ ability to aide during the emergency response by providing critical campus information to 911.

Every Arkansas public school has implemented the Panic Button since its deployment. This includes all 252 school districts protecting over 495,000 students.

Only one month after the Panic Button was introduced to Arkansas public schools, it helped to save the life of one of its employees. In the Blytheville School District, an employee suffered a life-threatening medical situation while at the school. The school nurse, after assessing the situation, pushed the Panic Button and was connected to 911. The Panic Button informed the first responders of the incident location

The schools and 911 centers in the state have also received training and support through webinars, regional onsite training, continuous online support, and the presence of our in-state director. All of our state’s first responders are also receiving certified training.

While knowing that help is on the way with just the press of a button in our classrooms is reassuring, we hope this is an investment that we rarely, if ever, have to utilize.