HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County School District is investing in technology aimed at protecting students in case of a massive emergency like a mass shooting.
The district will be the first in the state to use this alert system.
“You go and you think, is this the time. Something feels off. You don’t know if it’s you or if it’s actually off,” says N’Dia Webb a senior at Strawberry Crest High School.
Anytime an emergency happens in Hillsborough County Schools students will know more clearly what to do.
Using a $7.6 million dollar grant the district is contracting Centegix, a company based in Atlanta, to install their crisis alert system on all campuses. Flashing strobes, a prerecorded message, and screens taken over with instructions will let teachers and students know what to do in a medical emergency, when students fight, or any other urgent need. In cases like school shootings, the campus can go on emergency lockdown.
“It really gives me the opportunity to empower all the adults on our campus to be part of the response to that crisis situation,” says Principal Kelly King at Steinbrenner High School.
The alert is set off with clicks of a badge that vibrates back to let the person know the call has gone through. A detailed map lets first responders and administrators know exactly where on campus to go.
“This technology can be activated anywhere. Then it locks down the entire campus within seconds. Within a matter of 5 to 10 seconds, you hear the audio, you see the visual, people get directions,” says Superintendent Jeff Eakins with Hillsborough County Schools.
“I think that it’s so cool. Just the fact that it’s so high tech and it’s so close to home, and the fact that it cuts down on response time so dramatically, it makes me feel ten times safer as a student,” says Webb.
Three to four schools have this new security system right now. Installation on the rest of the schools will start next week to be completed this fall.