Latin School of Chicago is a private k-12 school in the heart of the city. The school was founded in 1888 and is an established part of the community. Approximately 1,100 students attend Latin each year.
The school used an analog system when sending out emergency notifications. The old notification system, which consisted of a single microphone that triggered a message in each of the school’s buildings, didn’t allow administrators to respond to emergencies quickly enough, which put staff and students at risk.
The school now uses InformaCast mass notification to immediately alert staff and students when there’s an emergency. A critical notification can be triggered at the touch of a button, sending mass text and audio notifications to all of the school’s Cisco phones, and broadcasting audio to overhead speakers in the school’s multiple buildings. Administrators also receive automatic e-mail messages whenever an emergency notification goes out, which helps them respond faster.
Creating a Safer School
Latin School of Chicago needed to update its analog notification system to better respond to emergencies quickly. The school selected InformaCast to trigger notifications at the touch of a button, send text and audio messages to all of the school’s Cisco phones, and broadcast audio to overhead speakers in the school’s multiple buildings. Administrators also receive automatic email notifications whenever an emergency message goes out, which helps them respond faster.
If there is an intruder on campus or another situation requiring a campus-wide lockdown, InformaCast initiates a lockdown procedure, which consists of an alert tone and a message informing people that the building is going into lockdown and instructing them to find shelter before all of the doors lock.
“We were able to integrate InformaCast to automatically lock all of our electronic doors and disable them so even if you do have a badge, you’re not going to be able to get into the room once it’s been secured,” said Shandor Simon, Director of Information Technology.
Because InformaCast supports several different formats of messages, including pre-recorded messages, staff and administrators at Latin are able to better handle the unpredictability that comes with emergencies. Administrators pre-record emergency messages ahead of time and store them in the system so they are ready to go at the touch of a button.
“One of the nice features of InformaCast is the ability to pre-record these messages so when you’re not in a crisis situation, you can think of exactly want you want to say and pre-record it in a calm voice, giving the correct instructions, and that message is just ready to go at a single click of a button,” said Simon.
A Flexible Solution
InformaCast’s flexibility provides unique options for Latin to support all of its staff and students.
“We have a staff member who’s deaf, so when we send out the emergency lockdown tones and audio messages, he really isn’t part of that,” said Simon. “… We’re using the email plugin to do notification that we’ve had a lockdown, but we’re looking to include him on that so that his cell phone starts vibrating and he knows something’s going on…”
The Right Balance
Because InformaCast is so customizable, it provides the right balance for Latin and helps administrators meet the varied needs of the school. Simon likes that the scalability of the system ensures a good balance between being easy to use and providing a powerful, sophisticated solution.
“…[InformaCast is] as complicated as you need it to be, so for the very basic things – triggering an alert – we can make it as easy as clicking a button or two on a phone,” said Simon. “But we also can integrate it in with our physical security system and our electronic locks and have it send emails and have it trigger broadcast phone calls out to people…so on the one hand, it can be very simple, and on the other hand, we can have as much complexity as we need to develop a really powerful solution.”
Visit our Schools & Districts page for more information about how InformaCast can help enhance safety and communication for students and staff.