CrisisAlert system approved for Decatur County schools

Published 3:38 pm Friday, August 16, 2019

Every Decatur County employee will have the power to call for administrative help, alert law enforcement or initiate an emergency lockdown at their school starting in January 2020.

All from a device hanging around their necks.

The Decatur County Board of Education approved the Centegix CrisisAlert system at its meeting Thursday, providing a powerful blend of hardware, software and wireless technologies to ensure fast, accurate and reliable emergency communications when it’s needed most by faculty and staff throughout the school system.

“This is the only thing I found that gives (employees) this kind of power at their fingertips,” said Superintendent Tim Cochran. “It will have the ability to call for an administrator. It will bring a map up on the administrator’s computer or phone, and they immediately know something is going on and where it’s at.”

The thin, card-sized device that employees wear will feature a button. Pressing it in different combinations will trigger different alerts for different problems, ranging from a fight between students or a health emergency to an active shooter situation. Alert strobe lights will be installed throughout the schools, and will trigger when needed. There is even an option to color-code the lights for different situations.

Every teacher’s computer in the school will receive an alert when a crisis is reported, eliminating crucial time spent with radios, phones and intercoms. The instantaneous system appealed to Cochran and the various school system employees he spoke to about Centegix CrisisAlert.

Eight proposed sites have been approved: Bainbridge High School, Bainbridge Middle School, New Beginning Learning Center, Hutto Middle School, John Johnson Elementary, Jones-Wheat Elementary, Potter Street Elementary and West Bainbridge Elementary.

The Decatur County School System was recently awarded a grant from the state that needed to be spent on safety equipment. The $240,000 district-wide system will be fully paid for by the grant money.

“In looking at how to best use that money, I wanted something that gave the teachers a sense of empowerment and safety,” said Cochran.