Incident Alert Systems alerts Washington schools to grants

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Incident Alert Systems, a mass notification systems manufacturer, helped alert schools across Washington to $5,000 state mini-grants to implement “training services and equipment, including the purchase of enhanced alert systems to support emergency drills.”
Several schools used the grant to purchase IAS’s Fast Alert incident warning and management system, said Steve Baxter, vice president of marketing for IAS.
Fast Alert “is meant to be the first tool in a toolbox of incident-related components,” he said.
It’s a computer-enabled, incident warning and management system that enables teachers, staff and first-responders to communicate during an emergency. Its software includes alert options such as “lockdown, evacuation, and other specific instructions, available in multiple locations,” Baxter said.
The system is “decentralized, so [authorized personnel] can access the system from any computer on the network or a hand-held device on the network,” if, for example, the school office cannot be accessed.
In some situations, such as in the Las Vegas school district, the police department is on the same network as the school system, and can control the Fast Alert system.
In this school district there is an average of two lockdowns a week. An example would be if there were a “robbery, car jacking or fire in the proximity of the school,” where it’s appropriate to have the school on modified lockdown, but not necessary to interrupt the school day.
IAS developed the system two years ago. Baxter said it’s sold through sales consultants and security integrators.
The company’s target market is K-12 schools, but the product is “scalable for anything, it could do a campus, state capitol … or a one-room schoolhouse.”
The system is not tied into the fire system. As they were developing the product, “the input we had was to keep it separate … [people said they wanted} granular control of the alert system so that it could be used for communications specific to their clientele.” SSN