Raptor Emergency Management system enhances school safety and communication
September 14, 2023
The Fairview Park City School District (FPCSD) continues to make important improvements to keep students and staff safe during the school day.
Over the past few years, FPCSD buildings have received numerous safety and security upgrades. The recent building construction project in 2020 featured numerous safety upgrades at buildings, including doors and entryways. In the fall of 2022, the FPCSD purchased upgraded cameras, communication systems, and extra entryway protection.
In January 2023, the FPCSD announced a new visitor management system to know and track exactly who is in the school buildings. Most recently, this August, the district rolled out its newest safety and security program - implementing the Raptor Emergency Management System.
“We needed some type of tool that would empower all of our employees to be active participants in safety and security,” FPCSD Director of Operations Michael Matthews explained. “They are the first eyes on a situation. What’s critical for us is a timely and organized response to emergencies.”
The Raptor Emergency Management System is an app each staff member downloaded on their cell phone or district-owned computer. In the event of an emergency, staff can initiate an alert in their building, instantaneously signaling other staff and administration to the issue. It also directly contacts the Fairview Park Police Department, saving important time it takes for first responders to react to a situation at a school.
“Every second is precious in emergency response,” Matthews added. “If we educate and empower our people on how to help manage it for us as a group, it sets us up for that much greater chance of success.”
Aside from the increased communication, the app allows staff to account for students in real-time. Students may not be in their assigned classroom, depending on the time of day. The app allows each staff member to account for and “check-in” students during an emergency, whether they are assigned to their classroom or not.
“As people have had the chance to experience it, they can see it’s so powerful, so well put together, so organized - and that’s only going to get better,” Matthews expressed. “Even in the few drills that we have had, people have done a great job of asking questions to become better prepared and be active participants.”
The day before school started on August 22, all FPCSD staff members were trained on how to use Raptor during a live drill. During the school year, staff will have even more opportunities to practice and solidify their emergency management responses using Raptor.
“Everything we do, it will be run through that Raptor ecosystem,” Matthews explained. “We will be practicing continuously throughout the year on multiple occasions, whether that’s fire, tornado, or a lockdown drill. Just between those, you have 20 incidents where we’re going to be practicing, and we’re going to be practicing in the same exact tool as if it was real. Everything is the same.
“We respect the trust and faith parents have in us when they send their kids off to school,” Matthews added. “We are going to do everything in our power to get them home every single day.”