IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

911inform a ‘Game Changer’ for Situational Awareness

With the press of a button, 911inform can lock down a school or other establishment, send a message to local police that includes maps of the subject buildings and live video feed to MDTs, and open up a chat for users.

A woman sitting at a desk in a 911 call center typing on a keyboard while looking at multiple monitors.
When Kris Sandman of the Denville, N.J., Police Department first started as school resource officer (SRO) with the Morris County School of Technology, right off the bat, the school was hit with the credible threat of a possible shooter.

Sandman remembers what it took to notify the police and lock down the school — running from one building to another, pressing the panic button that activated the blue strobe lights and sent out “the most panicked alert ever” over the PA system.

Luckily, it turned out there was no shooter, but Sandman thought the process had been chaotic and needed to be changed. If that same scenario were to take place today, it would be vastly different with a new system called 911inform.

Now, any of the end users on school grounds — teachers, administrators, Sandman — can lock down the school, send the alert to 146 users on school grounds and send a 911 call to police that includes maps and live video feeds from campus cameras with the press of one button.

“Since then, what 911inform allows us to do is take all our existing technology and add additional technology to tie it all together in one-stop shopping, not only to lock down the school but do mass notification through text, SMS, email,” Sandman said. “It sends information to the police desk immediately, which allows them to gain access to all our cameras, our maps, and then it also creates a way for all the staff onsite to text each other.”

There are several buildings as part of the campus, and with most any other system, a 911 call to police and paramedics would mean the first responders would first need to stop at the main office and find out where the problem was. This new system shows first responders exactly which building they need to access and also gives them the ability to unlock it and enter themselves.

“The way 911inform works is we connect everything in that building to police, to command and control and full situational awareness at the time of the emergency,” said Ivo Allen, CEO of 911inform. “If someone dials 911 from a classroom phone it will immediately notify staff onsite that you have a 911 call happening from exactly here and it will notify police.”

Allen said the accuracy of the system in determining where the threat is represents “game-changing” situational awareness and the ability to save precious seconds that could mean the difference between life and death.

“When the phone rings at dispatch, they’re seeing an exact detailed map of the building where the caller is and access to the cameras,” he said. “Instead of police or paramedics pulling up in front of the building, we now say ‘go to door 15’ and the police have their Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) they can open up and see a live feed.”

An example of that occurred recently at a school where a student was having a seizure. A teacher called 911 and the system routed first responders to the correct building about 20 feet away from the incident, Allen said. “When first responders arrive, they can open the door and let themselves in from their MDTs, they don’t have to wait to be let in.”

Since New Jersey state law requires school districts to conduct safety and security drills monthly, the Morris County School of Technology and the Denville Police Department have used this time to get familiar with the system.

“We use the system during the drills and we also employ the help of my whole police department,” Sandman said. “It’s pretty simple, the user interface is pretty straightforward. I’ve been playing with it for the three plus years we’ve had it, so I’m always figuring out new stuff that is customizable.”