During an emergency, getting critical information to the right people at the right time can make a significant difference. And while many schools are taking steps to improve safety and security, one of the most critical aspects may likely be overlooked — the school phone system.
Better Phones + Urgent Notifications + Mobile Integration = Increased School Security
Unfortunately, many schools have outdated phones and telephone communication systems. Sure, this can be a hassle on any given school day. But during an emergency, an outdated, unreliable phone system can pose significant risks for students and staff alike.
Without a reliable phone system — or one that sends urgent notifications — school security may be compromised, and emergency response may be delayed. And first responders, school staff, parents and students may be confused due to unreliable communication and a lack of timely, coordinated notifications.
Improving School Security: We Have Learned from Best Practices
As a leader in communication technology (with more than 30,000 customers including school districts, hospitals, and government agencies), Allworx has learned from best practices. And in developing a more reliable, more intelligent phone system to help improve school safety, you could say we’ve clearly done our homework …
For example, Allworx phone systems offer easy set-up and configuration, backup capabilities, and 911 notifications for school administrators, teachers, and safety personnel — right down to the building and room where the 911 call originated. The Allworx® Verge™ 9304 IP phone is also ideal for classrooms, especially considering how easy it is to use — and equipped with a 911 Alert feature.
Emergency Notifications, On and Off Campus
The 911 Alert is a free feature included in every Allworx phone system. A 911 call from any Allworx phone will initiate a group notification via SMS text, email or on the Allworx desk phone itself. Everyone who needs to know — who dialed 911, where they called from, and when the call was made — will be notified, whether they are on or off premise. Most of our competitors charge for this feature. But at Allworx, we consider the 911 Alert a must-have safety feature that is available to all school administrators at no additional cost.
So if anyone in the school dials 911 on an Allworx phone, the Allworx system can notify any combination of Allworx IP phones and mobile devices. The system can also send time-critical emails and text messages to administrators, school security, or even law enforcement — which can help make a critical difference in monitoring school security, implementing safety protocols, and improving emergency response. Of course, the Allworx system can be configured to follow school procedures, and conform to individual district protocols and safety policies.
Mobility and Remote Building Lockdown
An emergency can catch you any time or any place, including when you are away from your Allworx phone. That’s when the Allworx Reach™ app on your smartphone can be a lifesaver — literally. Since the Allworx phone system is premise-based, your Access Control and Paging applications will integrate easily and reliably — even from the Reach app on your smartphone. So, no matter where you are, you can interact with the overhead paging system or initiate a building lockdown through Access Control.
And of course, this is in addition to the everyday advantages built in to Reach:
- Make calls on Reach anywhere you have Wi-Fi or 3G/4G service (all Reach calls are made over the Allworx system and appear in the system’s Call Detail Record).
- Transfer, hold, and park calls with a single touch; make easy four-way calls.
- Check voicemail messages and change presence settings, access call history, see parked calls, and call into scheduled conference calls.
- Search across Allworx system users and extensions, and personal mobile contacts, including presence and status for all Allworx system users.
- And a big one — you don’t have to give out your personal cellphone number for school-related calls.
The Reach app is a low-cost, one-time license that brings all the functionality of the Allworx desk phone to your smartphone. And each license can be transferred to another user or device as staffing needs change.
Safety and Security Solutions That Fit Your Budget Today
These days, hosted off-premise or cloud solutions are trendy, but they have hefty recurring costs that never go away. In fact, we have found that the long-term costs of a hosted system can be three to four times the costs of a premise-based system over a 10-year period. We understand that just because you have funding for a phone system this year, that doesn’t mean you’ll have it in five, six or seven years.
Allworx Offers Financial Assistance to School Districts
We’re committed to advancing communication technology. We’re also committed to improving the safety of our schools. And we understand that while funding may be available for school security improvements, we know that most school budgets have challenges when it comes to funding.
That’s why Allworx is offering financial assistance to help schools update their phone communication capabilities. For example, if a school district purchases 100 Allworx Verge phones (which include the 911 Alert feature) from an Allworx Authorized Partner, Allworx will provide 15 Allworx 9304 phones — at no charge.
School Districts Love Allworx!
School administrators are very happy with the Allworx functionality and cost: “Our recent upgrade to the district’s phone systems was driven in part by a need to improve communications in an emergency situation. When we saw how easily Allworx integrated with our safety and security systems — and how well it fitted into our long-term budget projections — it was an easy decision. The Allworx phone system has made it extremely easy for our school safety and security programs to meet our goals and expectations,” said Steve Brizeno, Director of Purchasing, Temecula Valley Unified School District.
To learn more about how an Allworx phone system can help improve school safety, or see what offers are available for your school, please contact Allworx or your local Allworx Authorized Partner.