Emergencies come in many shapes and sizes, but they share at least one common demand — the need to quickly and accurately notify the affected people with the right information.
The Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) includes 60 schools in Orange County, Calif., serving about 50,000 students with more than 4,600 employees. Like many school systems, SAUSD had existing basic notification systems at each school for broadcasting generic overhead paging and announcements, some of which were supplemented with marquee displays and alarm strobes. SAUSD leadership felt the time was right to improve these basic capabilities.
“We knew that extremely urgent events, such as a school shooter, would challenge our existing messaging systems,” said Camille Boden, executive director of risk management for SAUSD. “We needed to be able to support detailed two-way communications with our staff in an emergency, while simultaneously contacting police and first responders. We were sure that smart mobile devices and greater system integrations could be a part of an improved system.”
To review the existing systems and develop the improvement proposal, SAUSD created a team that included their internal IT and security staff along with Nabeel Khatri, a consultant based in Tustin, Calif., and Maxxess Systems, based in Yorba Linda, Calif. Khatri provides design and implementation services for data networks and unified communications. Maxxess Systems provides security management software, including the HeyHQ event response management platform that was used for SAUSD.