Before we get into what makes a system effective, we must understand the difference between Emergency Notification and Emergency Communication Systems.  An Emergency Notification System (ENS) delivers critical information in one direction while Emergency Communication Systems (ECS) are capable of initiating and receiving information (two-way) between both individuals and groups of individuals. [1]  Why do we emphasize the difference? Because the difference results in how many lives are saved.

Clear communication is important for emergency managers and involved parties, to fully prepare and respond in a timely manner. It is the key to effective mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.[2]   Two-way communication during an emergency situation is commonly designed to convey information over multiple types of devices, from signal lights to text messaging, to live streaming video, forming a unified interaction system intended to optimize communications during emergencies.  IN FORCE911 is both a notification and communication platform in the form of a mobile panic button designed to save lives. 

There were 67 incidents of gun fire on school grounds in 2020 [3], while most of the country experienced a lockdown and were learning remotely.  Just imagine what might happen when everyone is back in school? It is so unfortunate that we recognize names as Sandy Hook, Columbine and Parkland for the unfortunate reason, that they were all mass shootings and innocent lives were taken. 

Take a step back and think if you were a teacher in the building at Sandy Hook and never received any notification of an armed intruder entering your building.  A gunman walked through the front window after shooting through the glass and the person near the front hid under the desk and couldn’t communicate with others in the building.

At Columbine, a teacher had no way of knowing that while the killer was in the auditorium, that they could have safely run out of the other side of the building taken their class with them.  Officers and SWAT teams remained outside throughout the entire shooting and until after the gunmen had killed themselves, before finally entering the building.  They had no communication from inside the school as to where the shooter was, who it was, how many there were, what they were wearing, what the weapons were, and could not communicate with the teachers and staff inside the building.  In this case, if IN FORCE911 was in place, a notification could have come from a staff member to others and to law enforcement simultaneously in the form of an SMS text or app notification.  Without having a two-way communication stream, no one else could share what they saw, what they heard or what to do.  Two- way communication, would have given law enforcement the critical details about the shooters and the event as it unfolded.  Once the threat had ended, it would have enabled communication from responders with others in the building to triage medial need, start evacuations and begin reunifying students with their family members. The quicker responders can engage with an active threat, the greater chance for survivability.  The Department of Justice found that during incidents like these, law enforcement intervention is the primary mitigating factor to ending active shooting incidents.  Notifying first responders of a crisis is the first step in reducing response time to that threat.  Communicating details of who, what, and where the threat is, is next, so once they arrive at the building, they know what to look for and how best to prepare to save lives.  IN FORCE911 provides the ability for staff, faculty and law enforcement to notify and communicate in real-time effectively during an active threat situation.


[1] Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_communication_system

[2] https://www.bartleby.com/essay/The-Importance-Of-Communication-In-Emergency-Management-PK6BZJNTYSEFF

[3] https://maps.everytownresearch.org/gunfire-in-school/#ns