New Service Reduces Impact Of School Emergencies

It’s a disturbing reality that some gunmen, criminals and sexual predators have been able to slip into U.S. schools. Consequently, parents, as well as school and community leaders, are demanding action to prevent further tragic results.

Schools, in concert with police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are focusing on communication as one of their top priorities. Knowing what is happening in routine and emergency situations, and understanding the best course of action to take, are deemed essential in keeping students, faculty and staff out of harm’s way.

Several school systems around the country are taking a proactive step by implementing a new, state-of-the-art alert service called the Immediate Response Information System. This high-speed notification and response service, also referred to as IRIS, sends emergency messages electronically to thousands of individuals in seconds.

A uniform message goes out from a single designated staff member using any phone or

Internet-connected computer. IRIS then transmits voice and text alerts to home or cell phones, e-mail accounts, digital pagers, PDAs, fax machines and other frequently used electronic methods. IRIS continues to redial busy lines or phones that don’t answer until it makes live contact.

Equally effective in non-emergency situations, IRIS can be used to send routine announcements, such as severe weather alerts and testing schedules.

IRIS can be implemented without adding hardware, software or costly outlays for system installation.

TechRadium Inc., the developer of IRIS, is introducing the service to school systems and commercial property owners in several states. For example, the Houston Independent School District, one of the nation’s largest school systems, placed IRIS into operation last year. And Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently instructed the state’s Office of Safe and Healthy Schools to recommend IRIS to school districts seeking to upgrade their communication systems.

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