How Technology Can Help Address Student Health Threats
- By Danielle Myers
- May 23, 2022
When it comes to how to best protect students, it’s common that people focus on increasing building security and safety. However, people often don’t realize the very real threat of medical emergencies occurring in schools. Considering nearly 15% of children have a chronic health condition—such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and seizure disorders—school staff should be prepared to handle these types of emergencies; severe allergic reactions, for example, can be life-threatening. If an emergency situation happens, school faculty should be able to quickly notify both emergency personnel and parents of the situation.
To achieve this, it’s important that schools leverage technology that helps staff flag student health emergencies more quickly. Being able to alert the right individual at the right time is key in any emergency. And by having the option to do so on a shared technology platform, all relevant parties can be quickly made aware of the situation at hand.
A normal school day can turn chaotic in a split second. When an emergency occurs, the proper protocols and tools should already be in place to address the situation. By implementing rapid response technology, such as an automated alerting system, administrators can ensure their schools’ faculty are prepared for the unexpected. This is important because knowing exactly what to do during a crisis can be hard, but, with rapid response technology, faculty always know they can summon help with the simple press of a button. This means that help can arrive as soon as possible, potentially saving lives.
An automated alerting system allows schools to create these buttons—using either a desktop application, pull-cords or hot keys—that can be pushed during an emergency to begin a series of events. For example, on a teacher’s desktop monitor, they can assign a button as an “Allergic Reaction” button. If a student is having an allergic reaction, all they have to do is press it, and the appropriate people can be informed of the situation based on pre-programmed protocols. Rather than a teacher needing to call the school nurse or send a student running through the halls to fetch them, an alert will be automatically sent directly to the school nurse containing detailed information such as the type of emergency taking place, as well as the location the alert came from. The time saved can make the difference between the nurse arriving with an epi-pen in time to help the student or not.
After the initial response to a student’s medical emergency has occurred, it’s also important that parents be informed as soon as possible. Through the alerting platform, faculty can send out customizable messages to anyone in the database. These messages can be sent through email, text and even phone calls. This allows for staff to contact the student’s emergency contacts/parents quickly and easily, ensuring there is proper communication and to help stop the spread of misinformation. When an emergency happens in schools, it’s not uncommon for rumors to spread amongst students quickly, and when these rumors reach parents, it can lead to confusion and concern. By informing parents of the situation, administrators can get ahead of any miscommunication.
When a medical emergency occurs at school, especially amongst younger students, it can be a scary situation. The school may want to notify the parents of the students who were in the class an emergency took place in, or they may even want to notify the parents of the entire school. With a mass notification tool, school faculty can alert any specified group of people/contacts in the database. For instance, if a student experienced a seizure in Ms. Smith’s classroom, the parents of just her students could be notified of the event so they are able to stay informed and discuss the situation with their child.
When a student has a medical emergency, schools must be ready to react. By equipping teachers and other school staff with the right technology tools, administrators can both ensure that their school is prepared to handle medical emergencies and also give students, staff and parents peace of mind. An automated alerting system is not only a great way to address and prepare for medical emergencies, but it can be used for many other situations, as well. For instance, teachers can use it to alert a school resource officer in the event of a fight breaking out in the classroom, to initiate a lockdown if an intruder is in the school building, or for non-emergency situations like alerting the janitor that a student vomited in the classroom. By implementing this technology in schools, administrators can ensure any situation, expected or unexpected, can be addressed.
This article originally appeared in the May / June 2022 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.