When an armed suspect entered a school this Fall, DIR-S did it’s job.
11:42 (Principal): Hall Check initiated
11:43 (District Administrator): Is this a drill?
11:43 (Principal): This is not a drill. Working with the School Resource Officer.
11:43 (Principal): Looking for a male 5'11" 180-pound grey pants/dark shirt on foot
11:45 (Police Department): Are you looking for a student?
11:45 (Principal): Not a student. We are coordinating with our SRO.
11:46 (Police Department): Do you need additional resources?
11:46 (Principal): Until the man is found, extra help would be great.
11:47 (SRO): Upstairs is cleared and locked.
11:48 (Dispatch): Law enforcement is looking for a domestic suspect who had armed himself. We have now located him.
11:48 (Dispatch): Male individual has been located and detained by outside the building by officers.
The quick communication made possible by DIR-S kept district officials, responders, and teachers safe and informed until the situation was resolved.
9:56: (Teacher sent out an “Assistance Needed” DIR-S alert) “Help please, seizure in the room.”
9:57: (Principal) “I’m on my way!”
All schools now how important it is to invest in security measures to protect against disaster situations. In a recent article from WJLA News, it sites one of the nation’s leading experts on school safety, Dr. Amy Klinger. She says, “Schools are facing all hazards. They are not just facing one hazard.”
While every school has evacuation plans, lockdown procedures, and other great systems, not every situation requires the exact same procedures every time. No matter the situation, clear communication is crucial in keeping the situation under control.
A school this week was faced with this type of situation. They had a student seize in class and needed help immediately. Thankfully, this teacher understood DIR-S, and utilized it immediately when the student seized.
The following is the transcript of the chat history for this incident. You will notice, it is short, but says all that was needed.
The principal came immediately and notified the other necessary people on the way.
Being faced with the task of keeping an entire classroom full of students under control, while taking care of a student in the middle of a grand mal seizure is a daunting task alone. Having to take the time to get on the phone and call the main office takes seconds that cannot be spared.
DIR-S allowed this teacher to instantly notify the right people, and they were on their way within a minute of the alert being sent out.
“Is the fire confirmed?”
“Confirmed, fire in the school.”
“My student, John Doe, is unaccounted for.”
“I have John Doe.”
When the fire alarm went off, this school immediately relied on muscle memory based on previous training.
While a fire alarm is, by far, the most common type of drill that schools do, many teachers initially assume that it is a drill. During this incident last week in one of our schools secured by DIR-S (duress), the teachers stayed connected via DIR-S. Through the chat messages in DIR-S, all teachers were informed in real-time that this was really a fire in the school. The rooms closest in proximity to the fire were able to make better decisions and change their evacuation routes to avoid danger.
In addition to the fire, there was a missing student. While this teacher needed to ensure the safety of the rest of their students, they worried about the one missing. They posted on the “Report” tab in DIR-S the name of the missing student, and within two minutes, another teacher responded, saying that they had the student and were evacuating him with their students. Simple, concise communication makes all the difference with DIR-S.
9:45 a.m. DIR-S alert sent out, police notified, a man seen trying to enter the building.
A student had a seizure in the hall just moments before school got out, see how DIR-S help avoid a tough situation from getting worse.
An administrator at one of our school recounted the incident. His school has had DIR-S for several years, and his staff is well versed in how it works, and how much of a benefit it can be overall. He recounted to us, an incident that occurred this week in his school.
In this incident, there was a student in the school who had a seizure in the hall. Luckily, there was a teacher nearby who promptly called 911. When she got on the phone with 911, they were able to talk her through what she needed to do to help the student who was having a seizure.
While seizures are traumatic to watch, they are infinitely more traumatic for the person seizing, and coming out of a seizure to find hundreds of students in the halls around them would only add to their distress and confusion. This is exactly the situation this teacher knew she would soon be facing because the bell was about to ring for the end of school, and the halls around her would be flooded with students.
She quickly evaluated the situation and opened up DIR-S on her smartphone, and with a touch of a button, she was able to notify all of the teachers in the school to keep their students in their rooms until the situation in the halls was taken care of.
Because the teacher acted so promptly, and the dispatch office was well versed in their use of DIR-S, an already stressful situation was handled in a much more orderly and effective manner than had previously been possible.
This is yet another great example of a proactive teacher using all her available resources, and not relying solely on one.
This past week, I have been calling our clients individually. I still have a large number of them to call, but I have been able to learn a lot from the ones I have called already.
We want our clients to know how much we appreciate them. This is why we are taking the time to call every all of them. I would like to share a couple stories from my phone calls to schools this week.
At every school, I explain who I am and why I am calling, I then ask them how DIR-S has been treating them so far this school year. At one of the schools, the principal admitted that they had not drilled with DIR-S very much last school year. This year though, they have drilled with it regularly, and it has worked flawlessly for them. He said that they were glad to have it in their school and that having it installed and being familiar with it has instilled among the faculty and staff of the school a heightened sense of security. They feel more comfortable because they know how to use their emergency communication system effectively.
This made me feel very good because it shows that even our clients sometimes take some time to truly understand how much of an asset DIR-S can be. When schools run regular drills, using DIR-S, they become more prepared to face whatever real situations might arise.
In another instance, when I was talking to the principal of the school about how their experience with DIR-S has gone so far, we were able to troubleshoot an issue that they had been having. Upon closer examination, it turned out that the issue was merely because they had not updated the new users in their admin portal. She was able to contact their district officials with access to those capabilities and rectify the situation in short order.
In this day and age, schools have staff changes every year, and with every new staff member at the school, that needs to be updated in the DIR-S system. We have made DIR-S very user-friendly, so this process can be done very painlessly. Like any system like this though, it requires the care and small time investment needed to ensure that all user locations and names are accurate.
It is exciting to see how pleased our customers are with DIR-S. There has been a lot of work put into it, and we are continually working to make it as good as it can possibly be. Reaching out to our clients and being able to learn about the experiences they are having with DIR-S has been a very rewarding project because it has allowed me to connect with our customers and hear about how they have been using DIR-S to help ensure the safety of everyone in their school.
This week our company president and founder, Cole Smith, traveled to Chicago to attend the Global Security Exchange (GSX) 2019 Conference. It combined aspects of a trade show and educational opportunities from professionals who came from all around the nation.
It is also a mecca for networking opportunities. Almost everyone in attendance has dedicated a large portion of their lives to the security of their fellow human beings, in one way or another. This kind of atmosphere provides people and companies like us to brainstorm and connect with other top industry players. This helps everyone involved to learn from each other and to come up with innovative ways to adapt their business to better meet the situations it is faced with.
While this conference had a large mix of classes and product sales, according to event organizers, this event was slightly more product focused.
Both at this conference and at the active shooter training seminar that we all went to several weeks ago at the Utah State Capitol, a lot of focus was drawn toward examining some of the strengths and weaknesses of access control systems.
While being able to instantly lock or unlock your doors at the push of a button can be a fantastic thing, it is not without its faults. When developing security protocols, it is vital to look ahead to the positive and negative possible outcomes resulting from different investments you might be looking at. The risk/reward in any kind of security investment must be taken into consideration. Access control can be a fantastic system, but like anything else, it can not be the only thing you do to secure your facility.
If you google the definition of the word, “system,” it says, “A set of things working together as a part of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.”
This is exactly what your security system needs to be. It needs to be a series of measures taken that are all able to integrate and work together to bring the best results. As the definition says, your security needs to be “A set of things working together as a part of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.” They all need to be connected and they need to work well together.
It is in this area that we devote a lot of time in our development or DIR-S.
Often, when you are trying to incorporate a new security measure to your existing system, it is common to run into difficulties in their integration. This can be a large block in getting the best systems integrated with each other, and we go to great lengths to ensure that DIR-S is able to integrate seamlessly with whatever programs and protocols our clients might have.
Events like this seminar that went on this week in Chicago are so beneficial for so many reasons. We are grateful for those who organized the event, for those who presented their products and services, and for those who taught classes.
Q. What is the main problem that schools face when faced with any type of emergency situation?
A. Keeping those involved with the incident in clear and active communication throughout the ordeal.
We, here at Tresit Group, will tell you confidently all day long that DIR-S is the answer to that problem, but what we say will only get us so far. Luckily, we have countless cases of DIR-S being used to back up our claim. We monitor all live incidents that go on with where DIR-S is used, and we see, time after time, how much it benefits the school and other facilities that use it.
Just this month, in one of the school districts that we work with, a student thought that he saw a gun in the backpack of one of his peers. As taught, he notified a teacher who immediately sent out a DIR-S alert.
This notified school officials, other teachers, the SRO for that school, and local police.
The school was locked down within seconds, and police were able to arrive and assess the situation. Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm. Parents and students were much more equipped than ever before to stay safe and informed because of how much more effective their communications were while using DIR-S.
For the past several weeks, we have showcased multiple examples of DIR-S in action. We will continue to do this, because we are incredibly proud of DIR-S and how much good it continues to do in the places that use it.
Schools are faced with more and more challenges as times change, and new and evolving situations arise.
DIR-S’s robust nature and adaptability make it so that it will continue to rise to whatever new challenges might arise. We work diligently every day with our software team to make DIR-S the best system that any school or commercial building we work with has ever had.
We are constantly open to feedback from our clients. We know that they are the ones using DIR-S on a daily basis, and we want to make it as natural and effective of a process as it can possibly be.
In conclusion, DIR-S is the best answer to the ever-increasing plight of schools to meet the ever-changing challenges they face. DIR-S works and will continue to work. DIR-S saves lives.
There were several live incidents using DIR-S this week. One, in particular, was exceptionally intriguing because of what DIR-S allowed the various groups involved to do.
A student was reported missing at a school, and the school that issued the alert is right on the border of the city where both city and county police departments were responsible for responding to the alert.
In this particular location, city and county police do not communicate that much, but they do use the same dispatch center.
When this student went missing, the school sent out an alert on DIR-S, which notified both police departments and dispatch. Before, in situations where both police departments were involved, one of the largest issues, became maintaining effective communication through the ordeal. In this instance though, everyone was connected through DIR-S, and within six minutes of the alert being sent out and police responding, the child was found, and everyone involved was updated.
When there is a student missing, there is no time that can be wasted in finding them and getting the situation resolved. Communication among the different entities involved is often something that ends up wasting a large amount of time, and wasted time is something that no one can afford when it comes to locating a missing child.
This incident was one of various times when DIR-S was used in this past week by schools in live incidents. We are able to monitor from our headquarters every drill and live incident that involves DIR-S.
It has been very encouraging for us to see how more and more of our client schools are taking their security seriously, and they are conducting regular drills. Every school that does this is able to respond so much quicker to real emergency situations better than ever before.
In every situation where schools have been proficient with DIR-S and have used to stay in open communication, the situation has been handled in a much quicker manner. These minutes and even seconds that are saved by schools using DIR-S are precious, and their value cannot be underestimated.
This past week, a few members of our team had the opportunity to attend an active shooter preparedness seminar in Salt Lake City that was put on by the Department of Homeland Security.
It was an all-day meeting, split into six modules, covering everything from safety protocols that schools and other types of organizations should have in place before any kind of emergency situations happens to the recovery process after something has happened.
In the fourth module, they talked about the uses that emergency communications platforms can be put to, and some of the main things that the Homeland Security representative emphasized were the same things that we have stressed to our clients when setting them up with DIR-S.
You can have the most amazing program in the world, but if your people are not intimately familiar with it, they will not be prepared when faced with an emergency situation. Over and over through the training, they talked about how important it is to drill regularly using your emergency communications system.
That makes it so that when faced with a real situation, no matter the magnitude, everyone will know exactly what to do, and the situation will be handled quickly and effectively.
Just this past week, the first week of school, there were several live incidents using DIR-S. In one of those incidents, there was a city-wide power outage.
The school officials were able to use DIR-S on their smart phones to keep everyone connected and informed throughout the situation. It was handled very quickly, and they were able to stay in communication. Everyone in the school was kept informed, and school was kept in session.
Several things were proven in this one instance.
This picture provided shows how well any type of situation can be handled when DIR-S is used.
They were able to stay in communication, even when the power in the whole town went down.
It is important to note that not only can schools use DIR-S when there is something drastic like a bomb threat or a shooter, but whenever there might be something like an allergic reaction, bad weather, or even a temporary power outage.
In short, DIR-S is the best emergency communications program there is, and we are always working to make it even better.
· Question: What is the cardinal sin for kids going back to school?
· Answer: Realizing that you are wearing the same set of clothes as someone else on the first day of school.
· Question: What is the cardinal sin for school officials going back to school?
· Answer: Realizing that your school’s security is lacking.
Don’t commit this kind of mistake. School security is not something that should be taken lightly or that should be thought of as merely a check mark on a list of to-do's.
There is so much that schools need to do to be prepared for the upcoming school year, but more important than fun classroom decorations, awesome assembly plans, or even having good snacks stocked into the faculty room refrigerator.
We stay in nearly constant contact with our software team to continually be ensuring that DIR-S will be the best program our clients have ever worked with. Since it is meant to be used in all kinds of emergency situations, we understand the weight of this importance.
All schools know that security protocols and systems are important, but many do not understand what all they need, and the importance of drilling regularly with what they have. This is why DIR-S has been able to reduce reaction times so much. Having hardware and protocols already in place is fantastic, and we are not looking to replace any of those. We just want to help them work together more smoothly.
No matter what systems you have in place, the most important thing is that they can all work together effectively. DIR-S fills that need of tying everything together by offering an easy to use, and thorough, channel of communication that is meant to be used in emergency situations.
When an alert is started, there are several different tabs that can be used.
There is a report tab (figure 1) where you can see if there have been any students reported as missing. Any teacher or responder can report, and mark students as found on this tab.
On the chat tab (figure 2), there are several different options. There is the “Global Chat” where everyone connected to that school can send messages and communicate. This is where admin and responders will send out specific instructions as to what to do, and also updates as to the status of the incident and those involved.
Also on the chat tab, responders or school/district officials can select to speak directly to a specific person, ie: if there is a student having an allergic reaction in their room, they do not necessarily need to be on the chat board that everyone can see.
Next to the names of each teacher on the chat tab, there is a small phone icon that changes color depending on the status of their classroom, e.g. “Safe” or “Unsafe.” This icon can also be used for responders and officials to call that teacher directly on their personal phone.
The third tab (figure 3) is the location tab. This tab allows you to access the interactive map of your school and indicate your location. While in this, you indicate whether your room is safe or unsafe, also whether or not you need medical assistance. This status can be changed and updated at any time throughout the incident.
DIR-S is not just an excellent tool for alerting people about situations, but it provides clear and concise communication throughout the ordeal.
This is so important because as situations continue to develop and unfold, teachers need to be able to keep others updated, and even escalate the alert if the initial status worsens.
DIR-S has proven itself over and over again, and one of the main things that we make clear when we are showing it to people is that it is not meant to replace whatever they might already have in place. It is meant to work with the programs and protocols you already have, and help them to work together in a better harmony to help reaction times to emergencies be cut down to seconds.
In preparing for the coming school year, we have met with some outstanding people who have been willing to help us spread the word about how much good DIR-S can do for schools.
We were featured in a news story ON KSL 5 news, with Canyons School district earlier this week.
We were also able to conduct an interview with a woman named Natasha Wilson, who along with being a high school teacher, has a daughter who suffers from tonic-clonic seizures.
In all kinds of emergency situations, it is imperative to make every second count when responding to emergency situations. When a person is having a seizure, it is very likely that they will not only cause harm to themselves when the seizure hits, but as Natasha so aptly describes in her interview, it is a traumatic thing for anyone who is present when it takes place.
DIR-S makes it possible for schools to respond to emergency situations much faster than ever before. For example, when someone has a seizure or an allergic reaction, teachers generally not medically trained, and there is a lot of misinformation as to what should be done in these different instances. Either way, it needs to be responded to in a timely manner.
If there is one student in the classroom who is having a seizure, allergic reaction, or whatever it may be. The teacher needs to be able to take care of the whole rest of the people in the classroom, while trained medical professionals take care of the student who is having the problem.
With the ability DIR-S provides to instantly indicate where the emergency is happening, along with the added ability for school officials to stay updated while the situation is being handled, schools and teachers are now able to respond to and work through emergency situations faster than ever before.
The adaptable and efficient nature of DIR-S is what makes it so outstanding. It is meant to be used in every situation ranging from an active shooter, fights between students, natural disasters, to seizures and other medical emergencies.
This week, we have had several opportunities to meet with schools and other clients. It has been an incredibly exciting week, and we are continually, more and more encouraged about how many incredible feedback responses we have received.
Functioning phone/intercom system, check.
Evacuation maps in every room, check.
Security cameras in the halls, check.
Something tying all of those together to keep up to date communications open with everyone involved throughout any incident…?
This is where DIR-S comes in. School security is incredibly important and having up to date hardware and protocols is imperative for any school and are worth their weight in gold when it comes to keeping students and faculty safe. Often times the thing that schools still find themselves lacking in is something that will tie together everything that they already have.
Every time we present DIR-S to school or other facilities, we make it clear that it is not meant to replace whatever security systems or protocols they might already have in place.
For example, security cameras and auto locking doors are an excellent thing for schools to be outfitted with. When faced with a real-life situation, locked doors and cameras can do a lot, but having clear and effective communication throughout the situation is irreplaceable.
Schools are faced with a wide variety of different kinds of situations on a regular basis. DIR-S has been proven time and time again in keeping open communications among teachers, officials, and responders. This has made it so that response time to emergencies has been cut down drastically in schools that have implemented DIR-S and taken it seriously.
Recently, DIR-S was used in a school when a fight broke out among students after school.
The school principal sent out an alert on DIR-S as soon as he received word that the fight had broken out, and the school resource officer and surrounding faculty was instantly notified.
The school resource officer and principal were able to stay in active communication while handling the entire situation.
Fights are something that all schools find themselves handling on a regular basis, and they need to be handled in the most effective and quick way possible.
Everything a school can do to help their school safety is good, but they need to all be able to work together effectively, and that is exactly what DIR-S does.
Missing Student (Assistance Needed) - Elementary
Picture this, the bus normally drops the kids off in your neighborhood around 3:15. The bus has already come by to drop off the other kids but your son hasn’t shown up yet. The mother is used to waiting an extra 10 minutes for him to finish talking with his friends and walk back to the house. He usually is home by 3:30 at the latest. She slowly watches 3:30 come and go. She starts calling the homes of the other kids from the bus to see if he stopped by their houses to play, but after calling his best friend’s house she discovered that her son never even got on the bus. This is a real situation that a parent was facing not so long ago.
The mother quickly contacted the school to find out if he had missed the bus or stayed late at the school. As soon as the mother contacted the teacher, the teacher was able to activate the DIR-S alert. Within seconds other teachers were alerted as well as the resource officer and dispatch. Minutes later the student was located and accounted for. Without DIR-S, a response that only took a matter of just a few minutes, could have become a couple of hours; hours which could have allowed the unthinkable to happen.
This mother’s panic was alleviated within minutes and the story has the best kind of ending thanks to DIR-S’s quick response system.
Many people feel that a system like DIR-S is only used in certain cases- in dire circumstances after you have exhausted all other resources available to you. It is crucial to remember that DIR-S is not a last line of defense, it is the first line of defense because it cuts out all of the time wasting elements of typing out emails or texts or dialing individual people on the phone. All of that happens simultaneously so that everyone who needs to be notified receives the alert within seconds.
Fight (Assistance Needed) - High School
Now picture this, you are at the end of a long day of being the head administrator of a large high school. Bullying is a major issue that you are always on the look-out for, trying to put an end to it wherever it arrises. You are walking through the halls and suddenly see a group of boys arguing and it immediately escalates to them throwing fists at each other. You can instantly see that you need to break up the fight as quickly as you can while simultaneously notifying the faculty to reroute other students away from this hallway, clear students who are not involved in the fight from the hallway, notify the school resource officer and de-escalate the situation as quickly as humanly possible. Luckily, you have DIR-S on your phone. With 2 quick swipes you have done all but break up the fight. The student resource officer quickly arrives and is able to break it up and keep everyone posted on the status of the situation in real time.
Educators and school administrators have so much to focus on that adding “break up fights” to their list of to do’s is literally the breaking point for many of them. Having an easy and effective way for them to contact the school resource officer and help protect other students from being harmed is empowering. It adds a level of stability and security that heretofore is unprecedented in how readily accessible it is. Once again DIR-S is the first line of defense quickly addressing the issue and helping those first responders to get where they need to be, all the while allowing others to stay out of harm’s way.
Last school year, a High School was faced with a situation that every educator and police officer hopes to avoid.
Because of gang related activity in the area, a student was bringing a knife to school with malicious intent.
Thankfully the school resource officer received a tip from another student before the perpetrator arrived. He instantly sent a lockout alert through DIR-S.
Within seconds of sending out the alert, all teachers had their rooms locked, and the SRO was able to leave the school and find the student bringing the knife and take care of the matter before he even arrived at the school.
The district office was notified and kept up to date throughout the entire incident because when an alert goes off at a school, it also shows up on the computers and devices of the district officials so that they can easily communicate and monitor the status of the incident.
After the incident had been resolved, all of the communications and records from the incident were retained within DIR-S. This facilitated in the post-incident reports that the SRO and school and district officials are required to do. It also proved very valuable for the school to review to be able to see what they did, and identify ways to improve in the future to make their emergency response even more timely and effective.
In another school, in a different incident, there was a city-wide power outage. This caused all of the lights and computers and other communication systems to go down in the schools located in this city. Thankfully, the teachers had DIR-S on their mobile phones, and it continued running without missing a beat on their cellular data.
School and district officials were able to communicate with all of their faculty throughout the entire time that the city power was down all using DIR-S.
This allowed them to keep everything organized and ensure that all students and faculty were safe and secure while they waited for the outage to be fixed.
While these two stories showed different schools in very different situations, they were both able to use DIR-S to maintain active communications through the duration of the incident.
Schools find themselves faced with such a wide variety of situations, and they need a system of responding to all circumstances, not just the drastic, life threatening ones.
Since the initial development stages, DIR-S has been intended to fit the needs of large and small scale situations.
When a teacher, officer, or school/district administrator enters DIR-S to send out an alert, it brings up a list of categories showing the alert category presets determined by their district or state. Generally, there will be options of Lockout, Shelter in Place, Lockdown, Evacuate, and Assistance Needed.
From there, they are prompted to a different screen where they indicate whether they are “safe” or “unsafe.”
From there they are to indicate their location. All teachers will have default locations saved that they can click to confirm, or if they are in a different place than usual, they open up the digital map of the school and select their current location.
In just these two quick steps, first responders and district officials are able to see who needs help, and exactly where they are.
From there, they are directed to a chat page where everyone involved in the incident is able to have active communication. They can also navigate to the map where they can see the status of the other rooms in the building
There is also a tab entirely dedicated to the event that there might be a missing person. On this page teachers, officials, and responders can see what students are not accounted for, and when they find them, they can report them as “found” on that page. It will then say who found them, and at what time they were found.
All of this is saved in DIR-S, and can be revisited after everything has been resolved.
DIR-S has been developed and updated with the sole objective of keeping its facilities safe and well connected. We meet regularly with our clients to review how DIR-S can best meet their individual circumstances. Every facility we have outfitted with DIR-S that has taken it seriously and familiarized themselves with it, has felt like the above-mentioned schools; they've been glad they had it when it mattered most.
In a recent article published in the “Expert Commentary” section of securityinformed.com, titled, Importance of Establishing Security Standards for K12 Schools, Mark Williams explains some of the difficulties schools face in implementing and carrying out proper security procedures. In the article he says, “School administrators are experts in running schools and providing education. However, most are not security experts and do not understand the complexity of implementing a comprehensive physical security program across their districts. Still, they are often contacted repeatedly by organizations with multiple safety and security products.”
This is why we recommend five key steps in developing and integrating security programs and plans in the schools and other locations we work with.
Steps 1-4 of this list are generally not as much of an issue for schools. The main issue schools need to tie all of their other security investments together is clear communication among everyone involved. This becomes especially important when you think about the different types of emergency situations a school is liable to be facing.
In a fire, there will be entirely different emergency procedures than what one would do in a lock out, a shelter in place, or a lock out situation. Every kind of situation requires entirely different kinds of emergency protocols, but the thing that all of them need is clear and effective communication.
Since its implementation, DIR-S is used in real situations on a very regular basis. Just over a year ago, there was a Subway Restaurant next to an elementary school that had an armed intruder.
The local police used DIR-S to send out a “Lock Out” alert to the elementary school, and within seconds all of the teachers were notified, and the exterior doors were locked down. As far as goings on in the classroom, teachers were able to continue teaching while still receiving real time updates as to the situation and what they should do with their students, and the students were able to continue learning without any interruption.
When this alert went off, the district safety officer was boarding a cruise ship on his vacation, and he received the alert on his smart watch. He was able to communicate and keep up with the entire alert process from his cell phone. He and the principal were able to see the same map and communicate with local police all from their own locations while the school was in lock out mode.
Without this quick, clear, and effective line of communication provided by DIR-S, this situation would have been much more complicated to communicate to the different entities involved. It also would have taken much longer to get the school in lock out mode without possibly causing a panic. In real life emergency situations, time is everything.
As Mr. Williams says in his previously mentioned article, “It’s not just having the right protection equipment in the building; it’s also having a procedural layer in place to make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in the event of a fire. The stress of the actual event can limit ones’ ability to think clearly. Practice makes perfect. Why would we approach school security any differently?”
This elementary school takes their school’s security seriously, and they drill often and effectively with DIR-S. They were well prepared for the situation, and everyone involved knew exactly what to do. They were able to handle the situation with clear end effective communication, and the situation was handled without harm to anyone or any kind of panic within the school.
To refer back to Mr. Williams’ article, schools can spend all they want on security hardware. That is all great, but it is imperative that they have well established and thoroughly drilled procedures for what to do in emergency situations. All of the amazing hardware will be next to useless if teachers, administrators, and responders do not have a clear and effective way to communicate with one another throughout the ordeal. This is where DIR-S comes in. DIR-S allows everyone involved to coordinate their efforts in the most effective way possible to handle any situation they might be facing.
Software companies like ours have a very large task at hand. It is not merely enough to keep up with what the rest of the industry is doing at the time. If that is all a tech company does, they will never stand a chance of leading or even standing out in their industry.
In Ryan W. Neal’s Investment News article, he explains what Scott Klososky calls “High Beam Thinking.” This phrase was penned by Scott Klososky. He works a lot with different tech companies, and he talks about what it takes to not just survive but thrive. “High Beam Thinking,” is all about using your current knowledge of the industry and predicting where it will be months and years down the road. He talks about how important it is to evaluate where current business practices and products will take your company in the near and distant future.
According to Mr. Klososky, this kind of thinking puts business people into the kind of mindset that helps them keep their company on the cutting edge of their industry, rather than having them always playing catch up with the rest of the industry.
Software development is a vast industry, and people enter it on a daily basis with high hopes of making their idea into a huge business success. Many of them legitimately have exciting ideas that can make a serious mark for them in the industry. The thing is though, if you are coming with an improvement on something that already exists, you will be fighting to make your product really stand out against what is already in place.
If you have an entirely new idea, if it is a success, competitors will be coming out of the woodwork to steal your market.
This sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?
While it is incredibly competitive, it is also very exciting and rewarding to take an idea and put it into production. This applies to basically every industry, from restaurants to construction, to software companies like ours. Competition is an integral part of doing business. There are a lot of different practices, and a nearly endless supply of books, pamphlets, TED talks, podcasts, etc. of people explaining how to “make it big.” While it takes a lot of different practices and a lot of work for companies to get from an idea to a money-making business, merely making an initial dollar is not good enough. Especially in the software world, stagnation leads to failure.
This is where this “High Beam Thinking” comes in so important. This means keeping your thinking on a level above and beyond where the rest of the industry is at. You are observing your competitors, interactive effectively with your clients, and continually updating and improving your products.
DIR-S has come a long way since its initial release.
We meet together with our software developing team regularly, and this week we have been with them even more than usual. We are taking advantage of this time in the summer while schools are on break to do exactly as Mr. Klososky recommends. No matter where we are or what decisions we are making in the company, where those decisions will take us is always at the forefront of the decision-making process.
This is also the kind of thinking that we try to pass on to our clients when we are either showing them the power of DIR-S or implementing it in their facility. While DIR-S can be an enormous help to any school or business, it is necessary to look into the future.
DIR-S is not just about setting up the program and forgetting about it. It is about looking to the future, keeping up with software updates, and anticipating future emergency situations.
For an example of how we are currently implementing this “high beam thinking,” we are in the process of implementing a mapping system in the DIR-S program, along with revamping the communication platform of the DIR-S program. We know that these new advancements we are introducing will open up worlds of opportunities for us, and for DIR-S. It is for this reason that we meet together with administration and with our software team regularly to get plenty of perspectives as to what we need to do to prepare us and the program for the future, and how to direct our efforts now to best prepare for what is to come.
We are incredibly proud of DIR-S, and we are constantly working to make it as amazing as it can possibly be. With every step we take in moving it further into the future, we make sure to look at where our new innovations will take us.
To get to where we are, we at Tresit Group have been the kind of thinkers that Mr. Klososky would call “high beam thinkers.” We have looked forward at every step of the process to predict where it will take us. This is a practice that we do every day, and we will always be doing it because that is how we are able to ensure that DIR-S is and will always be the best emergency communication security software available.
This week, two of our team members went to the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) break out sessions in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
It is a very large gathering where resource officers and school security companies from all over the United States gather to showcase their products, and to discuss the best practices in school safety.
NASRO is an organization that is the world leader in policing school security. They understand the importance of getting officers and security software companies, like ours, all together to find the best security solutions for the various things facing our schools.
Our team has been there with a booth set up. They have been showcasing the product for multiple days. During those days, they were able to have direct interaction with law enforcement officers and get feedback on DIR-S. Through countless flyers and demos, DIR-S is gaining traction around the nation. They have found that DIR-S sells itself because of the unique solution it provides. We are very excited about every step we get to take in spreading the word about our DIR-S.
It is growing and, and word is spreading very quickly. We were recently ranked in the top ten school security software companies in the world by Market Reporter.
We are very excited about the continual growth that we are seeing in the company, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped us along the journey getting to where we are today.
Our products are under constant review, and we test extensively every product and update before we release them. We do this to ensure that when you download DIR-S on your organization’s computers and personal devices, it will work flawlessly. With school security systems like ours, it is imperative that they work well every single time because when it comes to a real emergency situation, there can be no technical difficulties. This is part of why we encourage schools to test so regularly with the DIR-S program so that their staff will all be very familiar with their school’s emergency protocols, and with the program. Schools that do this are able to address all types of emergency situations much quicker and more effectively than other schools that either do not have DIR-S or do not drill regularly.
Our philosophy when it comes to facing problems or challenges is to face them with determination and integrity. This has served us very well; it has helped us to develop a company and product that we are incredibly proud of.
We have regular meetings updating each other on the things we are working on. This combined with consistent and open communication has helped us to develop a company culture of openness and teamwork, and in such, maximize our effectiveness as a company and team.
On the wall in our office, we have a quote by Steve Jobs that says, “Some mistakes will be made along the way. That’s good. Because some decisions are being made along the way. We’ll find the mistakes. We’ll fix them.”
In any business situation, when decisions are being made, they might not always be the correct thing to do. It is important to have the courage and the discipline to recognize your mistakes, and immediately take the actions necessary to remedy them. It is also very important to make sure that whatever mistakes are made, we learn from them, and see them all as growing opportunities.
Mistakes are always opportunities to either become discouraged with our setbacks or to learn from our mistakes and be better from them. It all has to do with your outlook. If you face what life brings you with a strong conviction that if you are honestly working hard and doing your best, then you will make the right decision every time. Some of those decisions might lead to more difficult situations, but all of them will contribute to our overall growth.
To do list
· Develop school safety plans/protocols
· Conflict resolution
· Detention and arrests
· Searches of persons and property
· In-school law-enforcement education
· General school safety requirements
· Regular meetings
· Student rehabilitation help
· Crime investigation
· Crime prevention
· General law enforcement
That seems like quite the list of things to do doesn’t it? Welcome to the life of school resource officers (SRO).
Roughly 52% of schools in the United States have some form or another of school security presence. About 42% of US schools have an official school resource officer. Even at that, it is very rare to have more than one officer at the school full time. In more rural locations, it is common for one SRO to service the elementary school, middle school, and high school.
This is an enormous amount of responsibility placed on a relatively small number of officers. Thankfully, they do their jobs diligently, and often are able to make strong connections with troubled students, helping them stay out of spiraling cycles.
In schools that do not have an on-hand officer, the national average response time for police officers is ten minutes for emergency situations, and twenty minutes for non-emergency situations.
As is proven over and over, a lot can happen in just a matter of a few minutes.
The ability to respond directly, and efficiently, in any kind of emergency situation is imperative for any officer.
Not all emergencies will require the same kind of response actions. If there is a stranger wandering the halls of the school, and all that needs to happen is for the officer to know where they are and teachers to lock their rooms and continue teaching, this will be handled very differently than if there is a fight at lunch, or a fire because of a chemistry experiment gone wrong.
No matter the situation, the quicker school SROs are able to address the issue, the quicker it can be resolved, with less chance of the problem getting worse.
DIR-S was built with the absolute intention of allowing officers and faculty to communicate quickly and efficiently. To not only stop things that may be happening before they get worse, but also to get ahead of potential problems.
With the DIR-S program’s quick communication capabilities, officers and staff can be aware of any kind of situation in seconds. They can then take the necessary steps to resolve the issue, all while communicating throughout the duration of the situation to keep everyone supplied with what is happening. This way, if upon inspection, an already known situation escalates, faculty knows what is happening, and the SRO can tell them either to follow the emergency protocols already in place or to follow some other directions they might deem more pertinent given the situation.
One of the main frustrations that many school officers have is the fact that many schools either do not do as many drills as they are supposed to or they do not take them seriously because they do not feel like they are an effective use of their time.
When you examine how most drills in schools have gone in the past using traditional drill procedures, it is not hard to understand why teachers might feel that way.
Like any security system or protocol, practice and drilling is so important to ensure that everyone- students, faculty, and officers alike, know just what to do when faced with a real emergency situation.
Any time we meet with current customers or set up new locations with DIR-S, we stress the importance of drilling with the program to make sure that everyone is used to the program. Schools that take this to heart always have drastically quicker reaction times to emergency situations, and have much better opinions of the program.
We meet regularly with police stations and officers to talk about and get feedback for the DIR-S program. We understand the important job that it is playing in schools, and the need for everything that we do on our end with the program to be perfect.
The DIR-S program has proven itself to police officers time and time again. It takes an enormous amount of stress from their shoulders. They already have a huge load of responsibilities, and DIR-S is here to help relieve at least a portion of their load.
If there is a student unaccounted for, the necessary people can be alerted immediately, and can remain in discrete, but clear communication until they are found. If an evacuation alert is sent out, and the evacuation plan that certain classrooms might usually follow would lead them into more danger, through the DIR-S system, officers can quickly and discreetly notify them, and instruct them as to what course of action they should take that will keep them away from danger without causing added alarm to their students.
Let DIR-S cut that to do list down so your school resource officer can get down to focusing on the students and developing a relationship with the people they work with.
Tresit Group started as a consulting business where Cole Smith, and his co-founders sought merely to help schools develop and implement a more effective emergency protocols. They then developed the DIR-S (duress) software, which is constantly being updated and improved. For instance, we recently made the change from our in-house mapping system to a Google Maps integration. This will open up a huge amount of possibilities for the program being used in a wide variety of locations. Up until now DIR-S has mainly been used in schools and district facilities, but people need to be kept safe everywhere they go. The goal of Tresit Group evolved into offering effective safety software that can easily adapt to meet the needs of any facility that desires to improve its security.
As the DIR-S program becomes more and more adaptable for use in a wider range of places, we want to help people see different ways that they can get the program set up for their organization.
DIR-S software drastically decreases response time which increases reaction time, what normally takes a school 30 minutes with traditional emergency procedures is cut down to a matter of seconds. If an active shooter is on school property, the building is effectively locked down and the students are secured literally in seconds. Knowing this, it is immediately obvious that DIR-S is a good thing for any school. So what might hold them back from implementing Tresit Group’s safety software? The main problem with implementing any kind of program is having sufficient funds for financing a quality security system.
Hope does not need to be lost if the usual routes you might take to get funding do not have the necessary resources to make it happen. The primary goal of Tresit Group is to provide quality security programs for every school and organization who desires it.
When thinking of expenses we might run into on a daily basis, the price of the DIR-S system is affordable. Our approach is to make sure we can offer a great solution at a reasonable price, it becomes more than manageable, even in very small schools.
One Northern Utah school knew that they wanted the program, but simply did not have the resources necessary in their budget. This school reached out to local businesses in the community to explain what the program was, and how much they needed to implement it, and in short order, they had plenty of funds donated to get the program for the school.
If we consider what places other than schools might be able to do, there are plenty of options.
During the summer time, most counties in Utah have county fairs, and other celebrations. Usually local businesses have the chance to set up a booth or a food trailer to sell food or other goods.
Community fundraisers in newspapers are another viable option.
Businesses could also appeal to their employees to find a company-wide agreement as to how they might raise sufficient funds.
Breaking up the cost helps enormously and it isn’t surprising how willing people are to donate funds for improving security in a community. Safety is a high priority that many believe you can’t put a price tag on.
The Tresit Group goal is to modernize general security protocols and procedures. We have worked hard to develop a good system that can be adapted to a wide range of facilities. It is important to us that our product is priced competitively so that our users can afford it, and we can continue improving our software.
It is very exciting for us to help people and organizations to bring their security procedures into the 21st century. It is important for today’s schools and workplaces to have all of the necessary programs and systems to keep their employees and students safe.
Tresit Group, dedicated to quality and reliability, because when it comes to safety, only the best is good enough.
We are constantly working on developing new systems and updates to best serve our customers who trust our services with their information. We feel the great responsibility of the amount of trust that is placed on us, and we work hard every single day to make our clients glad that they use our services when it matters most.
We can all think back on our school days and remember fire drills, earthquake drills, and increasingly more as time and situations continue, and knowing that more often than not, that meant classes were interrupted for at least the rest of that class period. With the DIR-S system, schools are able to drill for any kind of emergency in a fraction of the time that it would have taken with the traditional methods. Their drills are much more effective, because DIR-S allows you to drill scenarios and procedures that are much more like what they might be expected to do in the event of an actual school emergency. All schools have evacuation plans for each classroom, but what if following the evacuation plan might actually put certain classrooms at risk because it takes them toward the threat without them even knowing. With DIR-S, teachers are able to communicate and get real time updates on the situation, and what areas might be the most dangerous. This allows them to adapt their evacuation plan, increasing the safety of the students who are under their care. This takes evacuation plans from being a just a laminated paper up on the wall, to a modern and effective system bringing the best results in any kind of situation.
Teachers in schools with DIR-S have much more reason to take the drill seriously because they are experiencing more of what they will be expected to do in an emergency situation. They already have a large amount of material that they are expected to teach to their students, and long, drawn out drills can be very tiresome to them, especially if they do not feel that the drills are effectively preparing them and their students for a real emergency situation. Schools are legally required to drill for emergencies multiple times a year. With DIR-S they can do so in a way that doesn’t waste time, and better prepares both the school faculty and students.
Not all emergency situations that might arise in a school are as drastic as something like a fire, earthquake, or even a shooter. Since the DIR-S system has been implemented in hundreds of schools, the program is used in live incidents weekly. Having a system in place that can effectively prepare both teachers and students for all types of emergencies is invaluable for when it is time for them to use what they have learned during drills in a real situation.
Tresit Group is in a rapid state of growth, and our dedicated team are working tirelessly to both meet the needs that come with the growth and to capitalize on our growth and use it to branch out into new areas. We are now bringing our services into more commercial areas. There is a large facility in Layton, Utah that will soon be outfitted with DIR-S software, and a Northern Utah city government building that will also be outfitted with our program within the coming weeks. As we adapt our software to ever increasing numbers and types of locations, we are seeing just how versatile it can be and how many different places can benefit from it.
Mankind has been innovating and adapting for longer than recorded history can even document. Tresit Group is on the forefront of finding and developing ways to meet the needs of modern schools. Not only is Tresit Group’s team comprised of security, business and IT experts, but most of them are also parents, and every parent wants to know that their children are safe in school. Tresit Group works to keep not only our own kids safe in school, but everyone else’s too.
Nobody could have predicted the huge success of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in how they have reshaped the world. In fact, it’s an understatement to say the internet and modern technology has changed the way we communicate—and quite drastically, too. News conferences have become a thing of the past, especially when it comes to emergency and disaster management. “For us from crisis communication and an emergency alert standpoint, it’s been the biggest game changer since the telephone, even more so than the Internet,” South Carolina Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker told Government Technology.
Using social media as a platform to spread awareness during emergencies and calamities has become the new norm. This means that emergency management officials no longer need to wait for traditional media to report news, as information can be posted on Twitter and Facebook. And social media is fast becoming the primary source of news for many people. In a post by Maryville University on their communications degree, they report that in 2016 there was already a 63% increase in global media traffic. This shows how rapidly the world is adopting mobile technology, which will only increase social media use, and change how people receive information.
The combination of artificial intelligence and social media has effectively enabled rapid disaster response. The well-rounded support of both these technologies has allowed emergency management officials not only to develop situational awareness, but to bridge the gap between communication and infrastructure failures, too. Medium notes that even relief efforts to those most prone, benefit from social media, as they are more likely to be alerted about natural disasters that are happening without a warning.
The emergence of social media in disaster management helped communities make sure that they have an effective communication plan during emergencies. On Tresit Group we talked about the importance of having more than one way to communicate, as this gives people more chances of dealing with a crisis or emergency effectively.
There’s no better example of this than the Facebook Safety Check, which has proven itself quite useful in times of emergencies. It was first launched in 2016 and was immediately tested that same year when a 29-year-old security guard killed more than 40 people and injured more than 50 in a mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando. Worried family members and friends of people in the area clung to Facebook’s Safety Check to make sure the people they love were safe. David Moran who was a regular at the club explained that at first he could only vaguely recall what Safety Check was, but as more and more people marked themselves safe, he kept returning to the page. In the same article, Wired spoke with humanitarian crises and technology expert Patrick Meier. Meier said Safety Check serves a great purpose: to give people answers about the specific individuals they care about—and at a scale and speed that was never possible before.
Facebook’s crisis hub said they promise to make Safety Check bigger. The company aims to turn it into a “crisis hub” or a live and centralized repository of information about any given disaster. Friends and family will not only be able to check on their loved ones, but they will also be able to follow news and chatter, monitor live videos via Facebook Live from the scene, and even coordinate ways of responding. As the community learns to grow and as technology continues to evolve, disaster response will grow and evolve with it.
Article specially written for TresitGroup.Com
By: Evelyn Niamh
Remember Benjamin Franklin's famous words during this festive season,
“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This is as true today as it was when Franklin said it. Although many use the quote when referring to health, Franklin actually was addressing safety. We like safety A LOT, so thank you Benjamin Franklin for your wise words.
an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Enjoy your holiday season. Make memories. Be safe.
For the full story of Benjamin Franklin's famous axiom click here:
Very seldom do we ask what we can do as PARENTS to make a DIFFERENCE, often we put the task of school safety on administrators and educators. In all likelihood involved parents may have a greater impact on student safety and threat prevention than any other group.
Child Trends, a non-profit organization, has done some remarkable research showing the need for parent involvement at schools. Here is a short excerpt from one of their studies:
Students with parents who are involved in their school tend to have fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance, and are more likely to complete high school than students whose parents are not involved in their school.
Positive effects of parental involvement have been demonstrated at both the elementary and secondary levels across several studies, with the largest effects often occurring at the elementary level.
A recent meta-analysis showed that parental involvement in school life was more strongly associated with high academic performance for middle schoolers than helping with homework.
Involvement allows parents to monitor school and classroom activities, and to coordinate their efforts with teachers to encourage acceptable classroom behavior and ensure that the child completes schoolwork.
Teachers of students with highly involved parents tend to give greater attention to those students, and they are more likely to identify at earlier stages problems that might inhibit student learning.
Parental involvement in school, and positive parent-teacher interactions, have also been found to positively affect teachers’ self-perception and job satisfaction.
Research shows that students perform better in school if their fathers as well as their mothers are involved, regardless of whether the father lives with the student or not.
A teacher asked, "If there is an active threat, how should I alert the school?” The response, “every possible means.”
An effective communication plan is the most overlooked part of an emergency plan. The best communications plan is layered with redundancy. Each individual needs the ability to communicate to the outside and also have the ability to receive communications from the outside. In the military they use what is called a P.A.C.E. plan (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency). The principle is to have multiple methods to communicate in case one method is not available or fails. Additionally, communication needs to touch those that can listen and make a difference with the information they receive and respond effectively.
In the majority of situations there is no thought put into a communications plan. In every situation, every incident and emergency, having effective communications makes all the difference. Too much time, money and energy is wasted on things that have limited impact on emergencies, or impact very specific situations. Creating a communications plan will empower each individual in any given situation and ultimately have the greatest impact on saving lives.
In an organization you have an employee, other employees, administration, and first responders that need to be tied into the communications plan. Most important is assessing how each individual can get a message out regardless of where they are located in the facility. Secondly, how a message can be sent to each individual from a central location regardless of their location. Next, how does the message reach first responders in real time. Lastly, how to maintain ongoing communications throughout the incident until the situation is resolved. In some cases multiples means of communications are used to address each of these. There are some technologies that exist, which provide ability to do all the above, but be cautious to not create a single point of failure. A school recently spent a lot of money on a communication system that provided the means to communicate with all there people in a variety of ways. The system was great, however only a single person in a single location could send a message. This creates a single point of failure and creates a critical situation when that person does not have all the right information. This is similar to systems in hospitals across the nation. They are dependent on one person to share the right information at the right time, to everyone.
While conducting training at a local school, the question was asked, “if there is an active threat how should I alert the school?” The response, “every possible means.” However if there was an isolated medical incident, a call to 911 may be sufficient. Many organizations conduct drills on a regular basis, but do not practice communicating during those drills. Employees follow pre-determined plans, which does not truly train and enhance preparedness. It would be more effective to setup scenarios where different methods of communications were required to be used to navigate through a specific emergency.
Bottom line. A redundant plan that connects all the right people initially, during and after an incident happens.
Article written by:
CEO Tresit Group
Former Military Officer