The CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program was peer reviewed by John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a model for national best practices in May 2014.
Many schools have complicated alert and notification procedures that often fail under the stress of live attacks. For example, in many schools it takes as many as three separate phone calls to get proper faculty lockdown and police notification when an armed intruder is discovered.
As part of the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program, client schools with IP-based phone systems have direct extension access from their internal phone network to the CIS 24-hour Operations Center located at the CIS Headquarters in Largo, Florida. When a crisis is observed, school staff members call the proper extension from the school’s internal phones (or direct call from a cell phone) and the CIS Operator manages all subsequent notifications:
CICADa screenshots (Top) / CIS Operations Center, KKP Public Safety Center, Largo, FL (Bottom) Under the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program, emergency notifications only require one call from an internal extension to the CIS 24-hour Operations Center. The CIS Operations Center then handles all further communications (SPO dispatch, Police?Fire/EMS, public address announcements, SMS text messages to faculty and staff, etc.).
Since every school is unique in terms of its procedures, CIS created a special crisis management system for use by the CIS Operations Center called CICADa (Critical Incident Communications and Documentation system). CICADa provides CIS operators with school-specific, step-by-step guidelines for managing emergency calls and prioritizing tasks.
CICADa has a special SMS communications system that allows the CIS operator to send SMS text messages rapidly to faculty and staff as a backup to the school’s public address system. This redundant feature is critical in making sure that faculty in all locations throughout the school receive notifications. The SMS text system also allows the CIS operator to discreetly and quickly communicate information to faculty and staff that would be sensitive, easily misunderstood by public address, or unnecessarily disruptive.
For more information about the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program and optional solutions for protecting schools, please contact:
Craig Gundry, CPS, CHS-III
Vice President of Special Projects
Critical Intervention Services
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