Alabaster City Schools using new CrisisAlert system

By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER —  Alabaster City Schools is starting the new academic year with a focus on school safety, and in order to do so, the school system has implemented a new emergency alarm system at each of the district’s schools.

Monday, Aug. 23, marked the first full week of classes for Alabaster’s school district, and much of the district’s back-to-school preparation has been in relation to a new emergency incident alert system named CrisisAlert, which has now been installed in each of the district’s five schools.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said the new alarm system will provide additional security for both students and school staff by giving all teachers and administrators the ability to report an emergency with just the press of a button.

“The main point of this is so that teachers, staff and students can hear audio and visual notifications of possible medical emergencies, weather emergencies, threats in the area or to the school, and respond promptly instead of trying to get in touch with the administrator,” he said. “Now, we can respond immediately by pressing these buttons.”

While COVID-19 has been an important focus for schools, Vickers said other every-day school emergencies remain a priority.

“All of the threats to schools that existed prior to the pandemic are still there, and we think this is a step forward in making sure that our students and employees are safe as this allows each of our employees on each campus to be able to activate the system when there’s a threat or concern in the classroom,” he said.

As part of the new safety system, teachers and administrators will have access to badges that will allow them to call for help for any emergency, ranging from medical emergencies or student altercations to extreme events needing campus-wide lockdowns, such as credible gun threats or weather events.

Following any one of those threats, the system will immediately contact law enforcement and other emergency responders once a button is pressed.

According to Vickers, the alarm system is unique for its alert location accuracy, total campus coverage and ability to deliver an immediate notification, including audio and visual notifications and is also structured as an integrated system, which will keep all five schools in sync regarding ongoing emergency situations.

With the upgrade, Vickers said Alabaster City Schools has become the only school district in the state to have all of their schools connected with such an alarm system.

“This allows for an immediate response and also engages the entire school system so it’s an excellent opportunity for us to be able to shave time off our response and is just one more way that we can protect the faculty, staff and students that we serve,” he said.