Reducing school emergency response times with X-ray vision

How RFID technology can help make schools safer

In an emergency situation, it’s essential that students and school personnel be found—and secured—quickly. With RFID technology, what would normally be invisible is visible, making it possible to identify the location of a staff member or teacher who has taken his or her class into hiding for their safety, or simply needs medical assistance or help with a disciplinary incident. By seeing through walls, and essentially shortening emergency response times, RFID solutions can help prevent an emergency from escalating into a tragedy.

Some of the newest breed of location tracking solutions, called Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), use active RFID technology. Unlike passive RFID solutions of the past, which show “point-in-time” location, active RFID solutions provide location updates in real time. These solutions offer a unique approach to alerting by adding mapped visibility to the equation, so local dispatchers and first responders do not require map look-ups, manual dialing, voice prompts, or cellular phone coverage to learn about the location and nature of an emergency.

Some RTLS solutions rely on wireless or Wi-Fi (802.11) networks in schools in order to calculate real-time location. Other systems pinpoint location using readers and dedicated cabling, while some systems use cellular technology simply to report whether a student is present in the building or not.

RTLS gives schools the ability to…

  • Reduce emergency response times on campus, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Use RFID badge button presses or other mechanisms that communicate the location or the nature of an emergency to third parties or other badge or tag holders.
  • Send mass communications over Wi-Fi or dedicated indoor networks without reliance on cellular networks.
  • Receive alerts when individuals enter restricted zones in the school.
  • Improve emergency planning.

(Next page: How does Active RFID work in schools?)

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