Northeast Oregon District Rolls Out Emergency Alert App for Teachers

Northeast Oregon District Rolls Out Emergency Alert App for Teachers

Teachers in the Imbler School District are now able to send detailed emergency alert messages about on-campus crises via a smartphone app.

The Imbler School District has rolled out a new emergency alert app for school safety and security. Staff installed the emergency alert system app on their smartphones about two weeks ago.

Any staff member who witnesses a fire, medical emergency or threatening intruder on an Imbler campus can press one of three panic buttons in the app to immediately send a message about the situation to all teachers and staff on campus. The message will note the type of emergency, where it originated and who sent the initial alert.

“If there is a shooter or intruder, this will help us get messages out that will protect our kids,” Imbler School District Superintendent Angie Lakey-Campbell said.

Once the app is fully operational, it will also instantly connect a user sending an alert to the emergency dispatch center in La Grande, where dispatchers will alert the Union County fire department and law enforcement agencies about the emergency.

The new app was purchased by the Imbler School District for $3,000 from Rave Mobile Safety.

According to Lakey-Campbell, she was inspired to acquire the app after attending a school safety program in April 2018 where organizers emphasized the importance of mass communication during campus emergencies. She said she believes her district is the only one in Northeast Oregon using an emergency alert app.

The app is “user friendly,” Lakey-Campbell said. Odds of an accidental alert being sent out are reduced by a built-in safeguard that asks users to confirm they want to send a message before it’s released. Once the “yes” is pressed, the alert is instantly disseminated.

One of the app’s most valuable features, Lakey-Campbell said, is that it indicates where an intruder, fire or medical emergency report originated. In case of an intruder, knowing where the emergency is could help teachers determine how best to protect their students.

“They would know whether to evacuate or not,” Lakey-Campbell said, as an example.

Imbler High School Principal Mike Mills said that before the app was in use, it was more likely that an intruder emergency would result in confusion.

“Nobody would have known whether to run or hide because they would not know where the threat was,” he said.

Mills said the app will help the district determine whether to enter a lockdown or lockout mode in the event of an intruder on campus.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.