Case Study: Alabama High School Develops Powerful Safety Solution with InformaCast


Developing a More Effective Solution

Following a shooting incident in 2017, Mobile County Public Schools identified several challenges with their current alerting solution. While tools were in place to help notify people, each tool resided in its own silo. It often fell on the principal to activate the alerts which could be a cumbersome and time-consuming process. District leaders began looking at options for solutions, and selected WP Davidson High School to serve as a pilot for a new alerting solution.

The high school is one of the largest in the county with nearly 1,700 students and more than 100 faculty and staff. Since the school was built in the 1960’s, district leaders knew that if they could implement an effective solution there, it could work in almost any school that needed an improved alerting program. The lack of an effective tool was also having a negative impact on teachers, resulting in some teachers leaving their positions because they did not feel safe in their classrooms.

Turning to InformaCast

While researching possible solutions, district leaders recognized that InformaCast mass notification software was already in place at WP Davidson but was being used in a limited capacity after replacing an antiquated intercom tool. As the school made a list of safety and communication needs, it began working with Singlewire to better understand the features and integration options available with InformaCast and found that it checked many of the boxes they were looking to achieve.

A New Alerting Ecosystem

Knowing that InformaCast could connect all of the devices and systems the school wanted to leverage for mass notification, it was time to begin working with other vendors to help bring this idea to fruition.

With a large list of needs, the school looked to partners who were willing to work with them and with each other to deliver the kind of solution they were looking for. InformaCast could already connect with the Cisco IP phones in place around the school, as well as the school’s desktop computers and IP speakers. Extron was able to develop a digital display touch panel and mobile app that the principal and other security team members could use to manage alerts, school bells, and door locks. The principal can trigger alerts and bells from the panels with the push of a button and those messages and tones are delivered via InformaCast on the backend. Similarly, once that notification is triggered, it can reach Industry Weapon digital signage that is displayed in hallways and Igor lighting that changes colors depending on the scenario. The solution also leverages cutting-edge gunshot detection to respond to evolving safety threats.

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Helping Save Time and Money

The new solution has helped save the school time and money in a number of ways. Before, the school had separate systems controlling cameras, door locks, intercom, phones, and a whole host of other safety and communication tools. Now it handles all of the tasks that used to be managed separately and takes a lot of the work off the principle who needs to worry about multiple concerns during an emergency. With the single push of a button, InformaCast can take on all the alerting tasks that used to require individual manual activation.

Learn More About Mass Notification for K12 Schools

The project was in part funded by a grant from the city of Mobile to help develop a new solution that utilized outside the box thinking to improve safety. The district worked with the mayor’s office and police department to create a solution that would emphasize strong communication and deliver more effective responses in the event of an emergency. InformaCast also offered a flexible means to leverage technology already in place at the school, minimizing the need for additional investments.

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