VoIP Providers Offer an A+ Emergency Response System for Schools

0 Comments 14 January 2015

In the wake of the recent Newtown tragedy, school districts nationwide are considering ways in which they can increase their security measures. Some schools are turning to armed security guards, while others are installing video cameras and metal detectors. Though it may seem like a small touch, a school’s internal communications system can make a huge difference in school security, and some schools are starting to turn to VoIP services to improve their internal systems.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) uses the Internet instead of the traditional phone line to transmit calls and messages. VoIP companies provide schools with a cost efficient communication service. The Portage Daily Graphic revealed that when two schools in the Portage la Prairie School Division replaced their traditional intercom systems with a VoIP system, they saved $130,000.

VoIP providers offer various features that can effectively notify faculty, students, parents, and other schools in the event of emergency, and help facilitate quick emergency response.

Telephones in Every Classroom

Schools with traditional phone services may not have the funds to afford a telephone in each classroom. With a traditional phone provider, the school needs to pay for a technician to install individual phone lines in each room, on top of the pricey costs to maintain these lines each month.

Top VoIP providers, on the other hand, offer easy-to-install extensions that cost about $20/month. Jive, for example, offers a business plan for 50 users or more at just $19.95/month/user.

With a VoIP provider, a school can afford to set up a telephone in every classroom. Telephones in every classroom allow teachers to call other classrooms, the front office, and 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. A school that does not have telephones in each classroom could have a delayed emergency response.

Paging Groups

VoIP paging group features let a user preprogram multiple numbers and dial one number to call them all at once. Similar to an intercom system, the paging group option can broadcast a message to every telephone in the school, alerting teachers and students in their classrooms. With this feature, school management can also dial just one number and alert all other schools in the district of the emergency situation. This paging option could be especially important in the event of a lockdown or similar threat.

Broadcast Messages

VoIP providers offer broadcast messaging, which is an extremely useful tool in an emergency situation. Broadcast messaging allows the user to create a voice and/or text message and simultaneously send it to hundreds and even thousands of recipients.

In the event of an emergency at an elementary or high school, this VoIP feature could alert each student’s parent and guardian of the threat. Family members or caretakers could receive updates, and if necessary, arrive at the school to pick up their children immediately.

And on college campuses, this alert system could call or text message students and faculty members, identify the situation, and inform them of necessary cautionary measures.

School management could also use this message broadcaster to notify other schools in the district of the crisis situation.

This feature is sometimes available with a traditional phone company, but it is more efficient and cost effective with a VoIP provider.

Automatic Greeting

Just as the broadcast messenger notifies parents of an emergency, VoIP companies feature an automatic greeting option, which can further alert parents of a problem. This option allows school management to set up an automatic greeting or notification that answers all incoming calls.

The automatic greeter is an effective way of announcing an early dismissal or distress situation, providing the callers with urgent information and updates.

Wireless Handhelds

Schools set up with a VoIP provider can offer their faculty wireless handheld devices. Much like a walkie talkie or cell phone, these handhelds provide faculty with communication access when they are not in their classrooms.

School management can send out a silent visual warning to these devices to alert teachers of possible threats. This feature is especially helpful for teachers who are wandering the halls or spending recess outside with their students during an emergency.

VoIP companies can assist schools with their emergency response systems to provide a safer environment for students and facility.

Originally posted 2013-01-15 10:53:40.

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