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
Special thanks to the Ch. 4 News team! Here is some great coverage and an amazing article written by Andrew Reeser.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (News4Utah) - With the push of a button, Canyon View Elementary school principal Kierstin Draper alerted every teacher and student in the building they needed to lock the doors, turn off the lights and get out of sight.
The message was sent and received in two seconds. The school was locked down and deemed secure in two and a half minutes.
It was a drill, but in a real-life situation, lives could have been spared.
The security application DIR-S (pronounced "duress") acts as a virtual panic button and allows teachers and administrators to alert the entire school in the event of an emergency. Example: a suspicious person enters the building; a student comes to school armed; a domestic dispute spills over into a school classroom. With the app, which costs about $3,100 per school that uses it, the adult who notices suspicious activity can press a button to alert teachers that it's time to lock down their classrooms. Teachers turn off the lights, lock the doors and get students out of sight.
Tresit Group is the Utah company that developed the application, which is now being used in school districts around Utah, Idaho and other states.
"The teacher's job is just to select their location, and [indicate] if they are safe or unsafe," says Tresit marketing director Preston Keller. "If they're safe the room goes green...and if they're unsafe the room goes red." (Teachers press a red or green button on their smartphone or computer to indicate whether or not the classroom is safe).
The alert also goes to local law enforcement. Some police departments around the state have started using DIR-S to better communicate with teachers during emergencies. An instant-messaging feature allows teachers to type messages to each other during an incident, indicating if anyone in their classroom is missing. Missing persons can also be reported on the application.
Canyons School District performs regular drills using DIR-S. It can also be used for fire and earthquake drills. Draper goes around the school and makes sure all classroom doors are locked. A dangerous job in an real-life event, but keeping children safe is paramount. "Seconds count," said Draper. "There's also the ability on the app for teachers to indicate whether they need medical help."
The Canyons School District Board made obtaining this app for local schools a priority project this year. It costs money, but as technology grows, so does the ability for those who would want to do harm to circumvent it. Draper said DIR-S helps schools stay ahead of the curve.
"Knowing that we have to do this to prepare our students, it's definitely a two-sided coin," Draper said. "You wish you didn't have to live in world where you have to prepare for this type of emergency, but...it's a top priority."
DIR-S can also be used on an individual level, but the company's current focus is on schools and corporate environments
Thank you to Channel 4 news for the great story! All credit and content are provided by Channel 4 News.
There are over 100,000 private and public institutions educating children from grades K-12. Each school is mandated by federal law to drill monthly in preparation for incidents that may occur at a school. On average drills last 30 minutes when conducted. This means each month schools across the United States spend 50,000 hours conducting some sort of drill. On average there are 32 teachers per school and make an average of $30 an hour. This equates to $48M spent every month to conduct drills or $480M spent every year. Additionally, schools report at least one significant emergency every year. This can take an average of 2 hours to resolve, another $192M spent. What if we could cut this number in half and use those dollars for enhanced learning for students?
This is why Tresit Group built the Disaster Incident Report and Security (DIR-S) System. Our goal was to give schools back their time to what they do best, learn. Using DIR-S reduces drill times and in live incidents gets schools back to normal operations faster than any other system in the world. Simply put, we connect schools with those that respond during any type of incident and on any device. Real-time chat and interactive maps gives everyone enhanced situational awareness for the best decision making.
During the last two school years DIR-S has been used over 5,000 times for drills and incidents in schools throughout the United States. Data indicates when a school adopts DIR-S, drill times are reduced to more than half and in many cases can be done in a few minutes. Day to day incidents that are occurring is resolved in a tenth of the time. These results more than fund the use of DIR-S and give more time for focus on learning. In the last school year 2017-18 DIR-S was being used weekly for a variety of emergencies that in all likelihood saved lives.
The results speak for themselves...after an Elementary school decided to use DIR-S, an emergency management app during a lockdown drill.
DIR-S Lockdown Drill initiated.
Teachers, Administration and Police Instantly Notified.
All Users marked safe, All Green Rooms
Hall checks and Doors Locked
1:06 Minutes 🔐
3:01 Minutes 🏁
DIR-S not only empowers teachers but saves precious seconds. Active drills create familiarity and muscle memory. So when an incident occurs users can calmly respond using the simple interface of DIR-S.
For more information visit:
Robbery - Elementary School (Lock Out)
In the afternoon in Northern Utah, a Subway reported an armed intruder at their restaurant to the police. This Subway was located in close proximity to an elementary. The police immediately used DIR-S to reverse alert the school and put them into “Lockout."
Within a few seconds this alert went to all teachers and specified district personnel associated with the Elementary. The exterior doors were secured and teachers continued teaching in their classrooms. The District Safety Officer was on vacation and received the alert through his smart watch and called the school immediately to check their status.
Throughout the incident, clear and concise information was shared by the Police. The Principal could see a room by room status of her school to ensure everyone knew what was going on. Students were unaware of the incident and continued on with their day without interruption
The alert was lifted when the situation was resolved within the hour and the day continued on.
After Action Review: DIR-S provided immediate awareness to a situation that could have potentially impacted the school or people coming to and from the school close to the Subway. Correct information allowed for the school community to avoid the situation and be prepared in case something escalated.
Mom..Dad, what should I do if someone at school starts shooting? How would you answer?
Unfortunately, this question may be asked and you will need to rise to the occasion and have an answer. The day has passed that you can brush it off and respond, “not to worry.” We are living in it now.
We suggest the following basic responses to your children by helping them understand three encompassing scenarios:
Scenario 1 – See but CANNOT Hear
If you can see a weapon but CANNOT hear anything (it is not being used), do
Leave the area immediately and get somewhere where big, heavy stuff (cover) is between you and the person with the weapon.
Your kids need to know if there is something that can potentially harm them, they need to get somewhere safe. This step creates distance and cover between them and a potential threat.
Report it immediately to a teacher or responsible adult.As soon as possible, while leaving the area, kids need to know the importance of reporting to the first adult they see.
Get as safe as possible. Continually get as far away from the danger as possible and keep as much big, heavy stuff between you and the person with the weapon. Being truly safe is a continual process.
As things change, so does the level of safety. Teaching this correctly allows for kids to have the mindset of always getting to a safer and more secure position, keeping a few steps ahead of potential danger at all times.
If you can’t leave, stay quiet and hide. If you are not able to go anywhere or do so safely, secure and barricade your location as much as possible.
Scenario 2 - See AND Hear
If you can see someone with a weapon AND hear them using it, do the following:
Protect yourself by getting behind something big and heavy (cover). If nothing is available, get behind something that can hide you from view (concealment).
The primary objective is to get safe by finding the nearest cover and/or concealment.
Leave the area as soon as safely possible. Use big, heavy stuff to protect your movement or other items to hide your movement.
In this situation, there is most likely less of a need to report the danger, since it may be very clear to everyone the danger is present. The goal here is to instill a mindset of getting as from danger as possible. It does not do any good to sit and become a victim. However, if a child is hiding and is clearly not going to be discovered, this may be the best place to stay.
Get as safe as possible. Continue to get as far away as possible from the danger and keep as much big, heavy stuff between you and the person with the weapon.
Being truly safe is a continual process. As things change, so does the level of safety. Teaching this correctly allows for kids to have the mindset of always getting to a safer and more secure position, keeping a few steps ahead of potential danger at all times.
If you can’t leave, stay quiet and hide. If you are not able to go anywhere or
do so safely, secure and barricade your location as much as possible.
Scenario 3 – Hear but CANNOT See
If you can hear someone using a weapon but CANNOT see them, do the following:
Protect yourself by getting behind something big and heavy in the opposite direction of the sound. If nothing is available, get behind something that can hide you from view.
For this third scenario, a kid’s first step is always to get safe. This situation is slightly different, since we do not know exactly where the danger is coming from yet.
Look around and listen to identify where the shooting/danger could possibly be coming from. There is a definite need to identify the direction of danger.
Move in the opposite direction of the shooter/danger if able to identify the location, and it is safe to do so. Again, get as far away as possible and keep as much big, heavy stuff between you and the shooter/danger.
Like the above scenarios, distance and cover is always best if you are able to do so safely.
If you can’t leave, stay quiet and hide. If you are not able to go anywhere or do so safely, secure and barricade your location as much as possible.
For each scenario the best option is to always do your best to get safe and stay safe.
We suggest parents role-play each scenario with their children. Talk through potential dangerous objects that would be of concern, show them how they can hide and conceal themselves, and identify different objects that are big and heavy and explain how they can be used for protection. Also, explain how to hide and be quiet until someone they trust gives them direction to come out. It is important for kids to be willing to follow directions from teachers or those responsible for their care.
The value of going through each scenario is that it gives a child an “if this,” then “do this” plan. Caretakers are potentially not trained, not able to manage the situation, or not present. Therefore, as a parent, be proactive by teaching and reinforcing solid principles that can be used time and time again to keep your children safe.
We strive for simplicity. We have spent countless hours testing and developing, and testing and testing and more testing to create the simplest user interface for school security.
"...Recognize that under stress you’re not going to be at your best, and you should put systems in place."
- Dan Levitan
In this post you can read an interesting article below to see how the brain reacts under stress, this will help you understand why we go to great lengths to give our end-users (teachers and first responders) the easiest and simplest way to communicate in an emergency.
As you can see in the image, in three simple steps you can send out a custom alert to teachers, administration and law enforcement. In a matter of seconds, DIR-S relays the locations of users, critical information about the alert and access to electronic emergency plans. Simplicity plays a key role in our company - Get safe. Stay safe.
At a TED talk in September, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin told a story of how a few years ago he broke into his own house.
After having driven home around midnight in winter, Levitin found that he didn’t have his keys.
“In fact, I could see them through the window, lying on the dining room table where I had left them,” he said. “I ran around and tried all the other doors and windows, but they were locked tight. I couldn’t go back to my friend’s house for the night because I had an early flight to Europe the next morning, and I needed to get my passport and my suitcase.
“I found a large rock and broke through the basement window. I figured that in the morning, on the way to the airport, I could call my contractor and ask him to fix it. Now, I know a little bit about how the brain performs under stress. It releases cortisol that raises your heart rate, it modulates adrenaline levels and it clouds your thinking. So the next morning, when I woke up on too little sleep, worrying about the hole in the window, a mental note that I had to call my contractor, the freezing temperatures, and the meetings I had upcoming in Europe, my thinking was cloudy.”
Needless to say it wasn’t until he got to the airport that he realised he didn’t have his passport. So he raced home in the snow, got his passport, raced back to the airport, and made it just in time – due to his late arrival however, his pre-booked seat had already been given away to someone else.
“Well, I had a lot of time to think during those eight hours and no sleep,” he said. “And I started wondering whether there were things I could do that would prevent bad things from happening. Or at least if bad things happen, will minimise the likelihood of it being a total catastrophe. But my thoughts didn’t crystallise until about a month later. I was having dinner with my colleague, Nobel Prize winner Danny Kahneman, and I told him about having broken my window. Kahneman shared with me that he’d been practicing something called prospective hindsight.
“It’s something that he had gotten from the psychologist Gary Klein, who had written about it a few years before, called the pre-mortem. Now, you all know what the postmortem is. Whenever there’s a disaster, a team of experts come in and they try to figure out what went wrong. Well, in the pre-mortem, Kahneman claimed you look ahead and you try to figure out all the things that could go wrong, and then you try to figure out what you can do to minimise the damage.
“There are some things we can do in the form of a pre-mortem. Some of them are obvious, so i’ll talk about the not so obvious ones. Remember, when you’re under stress, the brain releases cortisol. Cortisol is toxic, and it causes cloudy thinking. Part of the practice of the pre-mortem is to recognise that under stress you’re not going to be at your best, and you should put systems in place...
To read the entire article click here: