Rave Mobile Safety
panic button app

School districts in Montgomery County, Texas, unveil panic button phone app

Jan. 6, 2023
The application provides an immediate connection to 911 in emergencies.

Six school districts in Montgomery County, Texas, have unveiled a phone application that provides an immediate connection to 911 in emergencies. 

KHOU-TV reports that the app has a panic button that sends an alert to everyone on a campus who has the app.

"Not only calls 911 but it also notifies everyone else on campus," said Chip VanSteenberg, the executive director of the Montgomery County Emergency Communication District. "The other thing is it notifies all of our 911 centers at the same time,"

The county has signed a three-year contract with Rave Mobile Safety for the service.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has proposed this kind of panic alert technology be made available at all Texas schools. The state has allocated a $17.1 million grant for the technology.

That money would not cover the costs of providing such a program statewide. If TEA were to divide it equally between all the districts in the state, it would end up at around $14,250 per district. The panic button system Montgomery County is using costs around $170,000 a year for just six districts.

Some national security experts don't think that money could be spent better.

"We are seeing a skewed focus on security hardware products and technology and less time on the training and people," said Ken Trump, the president of National School Safety Security Services.

A similar panic system was in place in Uvalde when the May 2022 shooting attack took place. An employee triggered an internal alarm system, prompting the campus to go into lockdown.

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