CARLE PLACE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – All schools in Nassau County will soon be equipped with new wireless panic alarms designed to bring help quickly during emergencies.
County Executive Ed Mangano unveiled the new program at Carle Place High School on Tuesday. The system allows administrators to bypass 911 dispatch and connect directly with county police.
“This panic alarm, a two-way communicator, also will provide GPS coordinates,” Mangano said.
He said the county-funded program will provide each school with five wireless panic alarms, which are about the size of a pager.
“It is silent. It will just immediately open a mic,” Nassau County Deputy Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs. “It’s a two-way mic and that will then provide the data.”
The button’s creators called it a critical lifeline for help.
“The button is basically a cell phone on steroids for security purposes,” Director of Tech Services for Life Button, Mark Fischer explained.
When the button is pressed it opens up a two way communication line to police and saves the user critical seconds when it counts.
“When you have a dynamic situation, getting real time information that’s accurate, you can’t put a price on that,” Krumpter said.
The Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown ignited debates across the country over how best to protect schools.
“We have a great community here at Carle Place, very safe. But just like all the other neighborhoods, it’s one of those things that you hope that never happens to you,” Principal Thomas Depaola told CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell.
Depaola cited a need to keep students safe and offer peace of mind to parents.
“Parents send their kids to our school for two reasons. One to get an education and the second is to be safe,” Depaola explained.
Many students say recent school shootings around the country make them want the alarms.
“It’s just more safe now that you’ve got the safety buttons and everything so it will be easier and more safe around here,” one student told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The announcement of the new program came a day after a shooting at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada, where a teacher was killed and two students were wounded when an armed student opened fire.
The school district there had a session in the spring in the wake of the Newtown shootings to educate parents on what safety measures the district takes. Authorities have not yet provided a motive for the shooting.
Lawmakers in New Jersey have also proposed requiring panic alarms in all schools across the Garden State.
The silent emergency alarms are already available to schools in Suffolk County.
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