AT&T and FirstNet Introduce New Tool to Keep Students, Teachers Safer at School

Safety Shield provides a "wearable panic button" for schoolteachers and administrators that instantly alerts 9-1-1 while simultaneously sounding a campuswide silent alarm to school personnel.

School shootings and crime have been on the increase in recent years, and everyone is seeking ways to increase security and safety on our nation’s campuses.

To that end, Dallas-based AT&T and FirstNet—AT&T’s nationwide wireless broadband communications platform for first responders—have introduced a new school safety solution called “Safety Shield.” The solution is aimed at keeping students and teachers safer and better connected during the school day.

Safety Shield provides a “wearable panic button” for teachers and administrators that instantly alerts 9-1-1 while simultaneously sounding a campus-wide silent alarm to school personnel.

“More first responders trust FirstNet to reliably communicate because of the meaningful difference it’s making in how they protect their communities, and now we’re delivering these critical benefits to protect our children,” Jim Bugel, president of the FirstNet program at AT&T, said in a statement.

“The new school safety solution is a gamechanger for how districts can protect students and teachers, while also better equipping the first responders that serve them. With just a push of a button, schools can reach 9-1-1 faster than ever,” Bugel added. “And as America’s public safety partner, we’ll continue to advance public safety’s critical communications to stay mission ready no matter the threat.”

What the wearable panic button does

The new solution, powered by FirstNet, Intrado, and AT&T ESInet, helps districts create safer learning environments by immediately transmitting critical data to 9-1-1 and first responders, AT&T said.

The company said that the app also includes secure two-way faculty chat, emergency response plans, and can integrate with school information systems to help account for all children during an emergency and helping to reunite with their parents.

“Intrado and AT&T share a common commitment to prioritizing the safety and well-being of our communities, and especially of our students, school staff and the surrounding communities and we remain dedicated to investing in technology that aligns with state and federal regulations, in order to safeguard their security,” Jeff Robertson, CEO of Intrado Life & Safety, said in a statement.

AT&T said that as an industry leader in delivering NextGen 9-1-1 solutions, it’s the only carrier that can provide end-to-end emergency communication solutions—from 9-1-1 to dispatch to response.

The FirstNet Certified Intrado Safety Shield mobile app and new Wearable Panic Button provide schools with a comprehensive set of tools to help prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from safety threats.

Keeping students safer

AT&T said that ahead of the 2023-2024 school year, schools nationwide will be able to buy the new school safety solution to reduce emergency response times by seamlessly connecting school staff, school information systems, 9-1-1 call takers, and first responders.

The Intrado Safety Shield portal provides key stakeholders with a single operational view for all emergency response activities across the district, AT&T said.

AT&T noted that school shootings across the United States continue to rise, hitting a record high last year and surpassing 180 shootings so far this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s latest report on school crime and safety, 77% of public schools recorded at least one crime incident in the 2019-2020 school.

“We believe students are more likely to succeed in school when they feel safe,” David R. Schuler, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, said in a statement. “Our educators need the peace of mind that if an emergency occurs, the lines of communication will stay open when they need it the most. By having a reliable communications plan in place, schools can keep students safer, establishing a better learning environment for all.”

The network for first responders

AT&T said the new solution is more than just a panic button.

Traditional panic buttons notify a preset individual who then contacts 9-1-1, but this new solution integrates directly into 9-1-1 call centers. It automatically works in any 9-1-1 center without adding new equipment or processes, the company said. It eliminates the need for 9-1-1 call takers to transcribe the caller’s information by sending preset, customized information that can then go directly to first responders, turning minutes into seconds.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), an independent agency within the federal government, partnered with AT&T to deliver America’s public safety network.

AT&T said it considers FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s the only network built specifically for first responders and the extended public safety community who support their missions.

With 26,000 agencies and organizations—accounting for 5 million connections—the company said that more first responders choose FirstNet to reliably communicate.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T

  • Hockaday School Names New Eugene McDermott Head of School

    Dr. Laura Leathers has been named the next Eugene McDermott Head of School at the Hockaday School in Dallas, effective Jan. 1. Leathers currently is interim head of school for the 109-year-old institution. Previously, Leathers served as Hockaday's assistant head of school for academic affairs. "We are thrilled to name Dr. Leathers as the next Head of School," Nicole Ginsburg Small, chair of the Hockaday board of trustees, said in a statement. "I believe Laura is truly the best of both worlds. She is both an innovative thinker with a long and impressive career as an educator and administrator, as…

  • Dallas ISD, Toyota, and SMU are partnering with the nonprofit Brother Bill’s Helping Hand on a food pantry and "learning garden" at the West Dallas STEM School. The effort is achieving more than offering healthy food to students and the local community, though, Rogers says. "We want the staff to be able to use the space for hands-on experiences that they may not be able to accomplish in their classrooms," Rogers told the DMN. "We found a site that will give students the greatest opportunity to learn, as well as have the attributes needed to make it successful for years…

  • A collaboration between the university’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business, the SMU Impact Lab aims to equip the next generation of SMU students to understand impact investing through education and practice. By aligning "profits and purpose," SMU said it's committed to advancing the idea of "investing for the greater good."

  • The Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU

    The gift from Mary and Richard Templeton—recognized leaders in Dallas philanthropy and technology—will fund strategic initiatives for research and educational access, as well as naming and endowing the school’s dean position. “The Lyle School has a proven reputation for building future leaders who are unafraid to ask big questions," Mary Templeton said. "Rich and I are eager to see how our gift will support that kind of innovative thinking.”

  • The joint venture with Mark Cuban-backed IoT startup MeshTek has released a Kid-Centric lighting system that can communicate emergency safety protocols to students, teachers, and administrators with instant visual cues and immediate notification alerts. The company says its solution "is the only safety lighting system that utilizes a reliable Bluetooth mesh network." "With school safety being a top concern across the country, this innovation could not have come at a better time," Cuban says.