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How RFID badges on campus can improve emergency response

Andrew Hudson   ||   Feb 11, 2014  ||   

As schools continue to seek more robust security measures to safeguard campuses, one possible solution has come in the form of a pre-existing technology, RFID tags.

Specializing in RFID location solutions, Ekahau offers a suite of wearable solutions that can be used for everything from tracking teacher and student location in real time, to providing a quick and simple means to contact emergency authorities.

In fact, a number of schools are integrating their campus security with emergency and police systems. This is what

Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Va. integrated RFID into its campus security with emergency and police systems. School officials wanted a campus-wide safety notification system that called officers to the scene quickly, but was not limited to fixed panic buttons since teachers are often on the move.

School officials also wanted a means to send text messages to all teachers with emergency updates without relying on the PA system.

The school first considered using mobile phones for school safety notification but decided that mobile networks were better suited for sending mass notifications to parents rather than communication within school premises between teachers, administrators and local police. The solution was a mobile panic button that every teacher – regardless of their location on campus – could use to alert the police of an emergency.

Ekahau’s Real-Time Location System uses RFID and Wi-Fi networks to enable teachers to alert both on-site school personnel and off-site police from anywhere on campus with the touch of a button. A wearable technology, Ekahau’s school panic button also features an LED screen on the badge, giving teachers the ability to receive instructions related to an emergency via text message. Ekahau’s panic button badge can push alerts for a variety of scenarios ranging from medical or security emergencies to school lockdowns.

Patrick Henry High School teachers wear their Ekahau RFID badges on a lanyard around their neck, and in the event of an emergency, pull down on the badge’s safety switch to alert school personnel and police dispatch of an emergency. The badges are also intended to facilitate school lockdowns as the badge sends an automated, mass notification to all staff, informing them of the lock-down via text message displayed on the badge’s LED screen.

Additionally, the RFID badges instantly make their location and pertinent information known – “Room 3, PHHS, Med. Code Red.” When used in conjunction with Ekahau Vision – a software that displays real-time, web-based campus floor plans – police dispatchers can quickly and accurately assess an emergency and pinpoint its location. Ekahau’s software also records and timestamps every emergency on campus, allowing police to analyze emergency response times, review notes and continually improve emergency procedures.

The solution leverages pre-existing Wi-Fi networks to deliver location information to Ekahau software. At Patrick Henry High School, the solution enables badge-based communications for 39 teacher badges in addition to 60 badges for administration, nurses, janitors and other staff members.

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