2018 marks year of both tragedy and progress in Florida school safety
WALLINGFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Brevard County, Florida, joined six additional Florida counties using Mutualink’s instant emergency communications coordination platform to enhance school safety readiness and response. On December 11, 2018, Brevard County School Board authorized the implementation of Mutualink in all of Brevard County’s public schools. The system addresses many of the communications coordination problems and delays repeatedly identified in school shooting incident after action reports around the nation, including in Florida. Brevard Public Schools, the 49th largest district in the U.S. and the 10th largest district in Florida, is the latest to adopt real-time instant coordination between schools and law enforcement. Brevard joins numerous school districts and universities across the nation adopting Mutualink's instant crisis response and coordination technology.
Within Florida, a state gravely impacted by the Parkland school shooting tragedy, Brevard joins a growing movement of Florida counties leading efforts to implement instant cross-agency emergency communications and information sharing capabilities to make schools safer and enable coordinated response. Through the technology, schools are instantly connected to public safety the moment a crisis starts, providing emergency voice communications between school personnel and police as well as real-time video sharing from school CCTV. Additionally, other responding agencies can be linked together to communicate and see information even if they have different radio and video systems. The ability to instantly communicate, see what is happening and allow for coordinated collaboration eliminates many of the problems identified in school shooting after action reports that cite delayed and ineffective response efforts. Orange and Seminole Counties led this school safety communications initiative when they assessed school emergency response readiness, deficiency reports from other incidents and recognized the necessity of enabling instant communications and coordination between the Sheriff’s Office and their schools.
“This year the nation witnessed an increased number of tragic incidents in our schools; Florida responded by actively seeking innovative solutions to support school security,” said Mark Hatten, founder and CEO of Mutualink. “We’re proud to have the opportunity to properly equip schools across the state with an essential life safety capability that should be further adopted across the country. Significant investments have been made in hardening schools to stop threats, but they are not 100% effective. When something does go wrong, the single most crucial capability in stopping a tragedy is the ability to instantly reach first responders, and for public safety to know the who, what and where to rapidly respond without hesitation or confusion.” According to Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, there have been at least 89 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2018 alone, with over 2,700 child and teen fatalities and nearly 14,500 more injured. What’s more, around 3 million American children are exposed to shootings every year. Mutualink’s interoperable communications technology provides FERPA-compliant real-time communication via shared radio, voice, text, video, and data between schools and first responders to reduce time to incident resolution.
“The inability for first responders to effectively communicate with schools and other partner agencies during emergencies has been found to be a major contributor to the impairment of swift action,” continued Hatten. “We anticipate that adoption of interoperable communications technology will increase as we move into 2019 and school administrators create closer partnerships with law enforcement. From lessons learned, this type of capability is a critical safety feature for any school. It’s not a nice to have. It is a must have.”
Mutualink’s interoperability network works to keep citizens safe across Florida. State, county and local law enforcement, education, hospital, transportation and enterprise security organizations use the platform to collaborate, including: