How Technology Can Help Address Student Health Threats Earlier
By Danielle Myers
When it comes to how to best protect students, it’s common for people focus on increasing building security and safety. However, people often don’t realize the very real threat of medical emergencies that occur in schools. Considering nearly 15% of children have a chronic health condition, such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, or seizure disorders, school staff should be prepared to handle these types of emergencies—especially considering that severe allergic reactions, for example, can be life-threatening.
When an emergency situation happens, school faculty should be able to quickly notify both emergency personnel and the student’s parents of the situation. To achieve this, it’s important that schools leverage technology that allows staff to flag student health emergencies more quickly. The ability 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 alert 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 simple, streamlined solution ensures help can arrive as soon as possible, potentially saving lives.
An automated alert system allows schools to create these buttons—using either a desktop application, pull-cords, or hot keys—that can be used during an emergency to trigger a series of events. For example, a teacher can create an “Allergic Reaction” button on his or her desktop monitor. If a student has an allergic reaction, all the teacher has to do is press it, and the appropriate people can be informed of the situation based on pre-programmed protocols. Rather than a teacher calling the school nurse or sending a student running through the halls to fetch help, 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 exact location within the school. The time saved can mean the difference between the nurse arriving in time with an epi-pen to help the student or not.
After the initial response to a student’s medical emergency, it’s also important that their parents be informed as soon as possible. Through the alert 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 staff to contact the student’s parents or emergency contacts quickly and easily, ensuring proper communication 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, they can cause confusion and concern. Administrators can get ahead of any miscommunication by informing parents of the situation directly.
When a medical emergency occurs at school, especially among younger students, it can be a scary situation. The school may want to notify the parents of students who were in the same classroom, or they may even want to notify the parents of the entire school. Using a mass notification tool, school faculty can alert any specified group of people or 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 so they are able to stay informed and discuss the situation with their child, if need be.
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 not only ensure that their school is prepared to handle medical emergencies, but they can also give students, staff, and parents peace of mind.
An automated alert system is not only a great way to address and prepare for medical emergencies; it can also 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. They can initiate a lockdown if an intruder is in the school building. They can even use it for non-emergency situations, like alerting the custodial staff that a student vomited in the classroom. By implementing this technology in schools, administrators can ensure any situation—expected or unexpected—can be addressed promptly and correctly.
Danielle Myers is the general manager of Status Solutions, a risk management and situational awareness technology company.