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Sandy Hook + One Year: Are Schools Safer?

12/11/2013 | 04:11am EDT

SAN CLEMENTE, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and seven adults, there's an unavoidable question: Are our schools any safer today than they were a year ago?

"The answer is an unequivocal 'Yes,'" says David Winter, president of Mobile Alert Software, the maker of SmartAlert for Schools. "But, there's still a long way to go."

Winter says that the Sandy Hook Tragedy couldn't help but force legislators and school administrators into action. Implementing new technology, new techniques and new tactics have most certainly improved safety on campus' nationwide. But, he says, not all of the action has been positive.

"In an attempt to 'do something,' many school districts have spent too much money on expensive 'fixes' that will likely do little to thwart a gunman," Winter explains. "Secondly, some districts have adopted what some consider questionable tactics to defend against a gunman. And finally, too little has been done to address the real issues."

During the siege on Sandy Hook Elementary... and in many other similar occurrences... the simple act of locking doors and hiding made the difference between surviving and becoming a victim. At Sandy Hook, the two classrooms were unlocked where a bulk of the massacre occurred. The classrooms on either side of them were locked and the gunman did not enter.

"One of the areas that has not improved at most schools is the time it takes to lockdown the campus," says Michael Meinberg, CEO of Mobile Alert Software. "That's what motivated me to create SmartAlert™ for Schools."

About Mobile Alert Software

Currently, Meinberg says, it takes most schools several minutes to implement a campus-wide lockdown from the time that a threat is noticed. With the SmartAlert™ mobile app system, that time is cut to about 15 seconds. SmartAlert™ is a smartphone-based system that works like a "smart panic button." Every adult on campus, from teacher to custodian, downloads the app onto their phones. Should they notice a threat, they merely push a large, red button on their screen. It immediately notifies every other adult on campus via their cell phone to lock their doors and hide. The school office and the police simultaneously receive notification, showing a map of the school and exactly where the threat is located. The person who sent the alert has the option of sending text, photos and video of what they saw. You can learn more about SmartAlert™ by going to www.mobilealertsoftware.com.

What Still Needs To Be Done

Winter says more focus on readiness, vigilance and mental health issues will do more to stem future school shootings than anything else.

"We need to utilize every means necessary to curtail future tragedies," Winter explains. "Technology, psychology and criminology can play equal and substantial roles in avoiding the next horrible headlines."

# # #


Interviews are available via phone, in-person or via satellite with SCHOOL SAFETY SPECIALIST DAVID WINTER for those media outlets who are planning stories on the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook. Winter is a former television anchor and reporter turned safety entrepreneur.

Winter is equipped to speak about the latest school violence statistics and safety strategies.

© Marketwired 2013
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