Police chief gives Panic Button 'rave' review

Milford, Mass., schools deploy software security system
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Friday, August 22, 2014

MILFORD, Mass.—Milford Police Chief Tom O’Loughlin looked at a number of systems to give him and his force better, faster emergency contact with local schools.

Having had “great success” in his town of 27,000-plus with Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 and SmartPrepare, he opted for the Rave Panic Button. All school staff members will have the mobile app on their cell phones.

Training for school staff and officers will take place this fall “and then we’ll be off and running with it,” said O’Loughlin. The software system was tested for two weeks and went smoothly, he said. Seeing how

the system works, town administrators now want to deploy it at the town hall, too, he said.

“This particular app is just awesome. Instantaneously, I get a message,” he said, as would others on his police force and also authorized school personnel in the event of an incident.

The Rave Panic Button, applicable to any type of mobile phone, is designed to shorten the time between the onset of an emergency and the arrival of first responders. It alerts responders to the exact location of the incident and provides information about the nearest exterior door and the school’s floor plans. It also alerts those at the scene that help is en route. When Milford adds an incident management module to the system, it will allow O’Loughlin to see where all his responding officers are on site as well. “That will allow me to make judgments and decisions” in a more informed manner, he said.

In addition, similar to Rave’s Smart911 and SmartPrepare, which allow citizens to program in information about their households in the case of an emergency, be it a single structure fire or a weather-induced evacuation order, the Panic Button lets teachers upload their classroom profiles. They will report the number of students they have, if any have disabilities or special needs and other items of that nature to give police and other emergency personnel a heads up when responding. Police automatically receive that information when the button is pushed.

Panic Button was designed for active shooter situations, according to Todd Piett, Rave’s chief product officer, but it also can help with less dire situations. If a student is injured on a soccer field, Panic Button can direct EMTs to the quickest route to respond, Piett said. Situational awareness always matters, he said.

“The whole goal is to shorten the time in responding to an incident and improve collaboration during critical first minutes,” Piett said.
Meanwhile, O’Loughlin said about 20 percent of Milford’s population has joined into Smart911, and with more promotion, he hopes to get more on board.