GREENFIELD — Soon school and county officials will be able to report emergencies with the click of a button.
County officials are launching the Rave Panic Button — a mobile application that allows users to quickly report an emergency situation through their smartphones — in every school building across Hancock County and county-owned buildings, including the courthouse and courthouse annex.
By pushing a button, employees are able to automatically call 9-1-1 to report their emergency while sending a notification about the incident — whether it’s a medical call or active shooter — to everyone in the building.
John Jokantas, director of Hancock County 911, approached county officials weeks ago about purchasing the software for county government and school buildings. This week, county officials approved a five-year, roughly $58,000 contract with Massachusetts-based software company Rave Mobile Safety to launch the program in Hancock County as soon as possible.
The news comes about four weeks after a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival that left 59 dead and hundreds injured, though local officials say plans were in the works before the Oct. 1 massacre.
The contract allows 1,650 approved users to download the application, which is used by businesses and schools across the country including Indiana Wesleyan University, said Rave sales manager Greg Frye.
With a push of a button, those users will be able to alert 9-1-1 of an emergency occurring within their building.
At the 9-1-1 center, dispatchers will be able to pull up critical information — the average number of occupants and the number of floors, for example — about the building the call is coming from.
When authorized users pull up the app on their smartphone, they have five emergency options to choose from: active shooter, fire, medical, police and other.
There’s also the option to call for a staff assist, which doesn’t active a 9-1-1 call. Instead, the staff assist button alerts other staff members help is needed.
Once activated, the application also sends an automated text message to law enforcement in the area and on-site personnel about the emergency situation unfolding, a feature officials say decreases response times in situations when every second counts.
For staff members, the text notification allows them to immediately take action — whether that’s locking down or rushing to the scene to administer medical attention.
As the emergency incident unfolds, the 9-1-1 center will be able to sent text updates to on-site personnel to keep them informed and aware of what’s happening. The 9-1-1 center will also serve as a command center by providing instructions and key information to the first-responders on scene.
The app will improve response times in emergency calls when every second counts, Jokantas said.
For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Daily Reporter.