NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A New Bedford school is turning to technology to improve the safety of students and staff.

Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School will soon start utilizing an app that puts teachers and administrators in direct contact with police in the event of an emergency.

The school is the first in the area to launch the security software. By partnering with Massachusetts-based In Force Technology, LLC, both the school and the New Bedford Police Department will be equipped with the IN FORCE911 desktop and mobile app.

Superintendent James O’Brien said given recent incidents at schools across the nation, safety is a top priority.

“Greater New Bedford Vo-Tech is not immune to society’s woes. [The app] is another tool to make schools safe for kids today,” he said. “How can a student learn if a student doesn’t feel safe within their school?”

The app allows school staffers to alert law enforcement while communicating in real-time with first responders and other staff members throughout the building. It also gives first responders access to floor plans and security camera feeds.

“If I hear gunshots and that teacher notifies police they are in room B153, then police know that’s where they have to go,” IT Director Maciel Paise explained. “If they find out the intruder is on the other side of the building, they will be in contact with the teacher so they know if it’s OK to leave the room. This is really the future.”

By establishing a two-way, real-time chat portal and significantly reducing police response time, the goal of the software is to ultimately save lives.

The school’s staff will be trained on the software and it is expected to launch in February.