Burlington County, NJ, Case Study
Eastern DataComm Assists A Burlington County, NJ, School District With Upgrading Its Phone System And Implementing Cutting Edge Lockdown And Emergency Notification System To Increase School Safety
About the District
Administrators at a large Burlington County, NJ, High School District wanted to upgrade their phone system while further enhancing the way they respond to emergencies.
After a thorough diagnostic consultation, the district embarked on improving each of these areas with the help of Eastern DataComm.
“We had the ability to renew a phone system, which gave us the ability to put a school on a lockdown from our phones … from the classroom. That enhanced our ability to quickly and more rapidly put our schools into lockdown.”
– District Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator
Upgrading District-Wide Communication Through Phone and PA Systems
Eastern DataComm connected with the district’s Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator and other key stakeholders. When Eastern DataComm met with district officials, they explored what potential enhancements could be made for the communication and security solutions that the school already had in place. As the discussion continued, it became clear that the district could integrate their multi-line phone system and PA system with their emergency
notification system to take their school’s approach to security to the next level.
The new Mitel phone system allowed the district to enrich how it complied with FCC regulations including Ray Baum’s Act and Kari’s Law. Essentially, this legislation requires that phone systems make it easier for first responders to better understand the logistics surrounding urgent situations and send resources to the proper locations.
With the implementation of this new system, the school further streamlined its ability to notify first responders of a lockdown-related event like an active shooter, provide a call-back number to emergency responders, and disclose the location from which a call was made to ensure proper allocation of resources.
Enhancing the Existing PA System
To further augment the PA system communication across the district, Eastern DataComm upgraded head-end devices in all schools, and additional speakers were added to ensure comprehensive communication. The system also allowed for announcements related to lockdown alerts to deploy on the upgraded system for increased clarity both indoors and outside during emergencies.
Implementing an Integrated Lockdown and Emergency Notification System for Added District-Wide Safety and Security
Eastern DataComm connected with district administrators to explore their needs and goals for enhancing the district-wide lockdown system, exploring potential strengths and needs before offering a diagnostic report detailing their recommendations.
The result of this consultative process was the implementation of Eastern DataComm’s cutting-edge Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS).
The wireless coverage involved allowed for comprehensive coverage of the buildings, outside areas, and remote locations like parking lots and sports fields.
For more information on LENS, click here.
Implementing Lockdown Initiation Buttons and Enhanced Phone Capabilities
In order to facilitate faster and more effective lockdown initiation, Eastern DataComm installed lockdown buttons and phones integrated with LENS in a variety of locations across the district, including large group areas like cafeterias and gyms.
The new LENS system allows the district’s individual schools to rapidly put themselves into lockdown, leveraging technology for efficient communication when every second counts and removing possible human error from the equation.
Upgraded PA Integration, Speakers, and Wireless Communications
Eastern DataComm implemented wireless communications solutions that enabled additional speakers to operate on outdoor grounds, including remote sports fields and parking lots. PA announcements and visual lockdown cues like signboards and strobes/LED beacons could now provide increased message clarity across the entirety of each campus when a lockdown was
initiated or underway.
Enhanced Strobe Lights and Sign Boards
The new system also included many more LED beacons and signboards in key locations throughout the building that were designed to be heard in noisy places like gyms, cafeterias, and music rooms. In addition, Eastern DataComm installed wireless horns and LED beacons in the remote athletic fields and parking lots to ensure everyone in those locations would be
notified of a lockdown or other emergency.
High visibility, blue strobe lights, and signboards were installed throughout the buildings and grounds, especially in key areas like parking lots, cafeterias, hallways, and gyms. Now, there are many more ways for those in the building to know that a lockdown has been initiated or is in progress.
How Eastern DataComm’s Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS) Helps to Keep the District Safe
The Lockdown and Emergency Notification System ( LENS) allows teachers, staff, and administrators to quickly begin lockdowns, evacuations, active shooter alerts, or shelter-in-place procedures. The lockdown sequence can be quickly activated from any classroom or office phone, or from activation buttons in key areas throughout the school buildings and grounds.
Upon activation, LENS alerts commence throughout all school buildings and grounds. These alerts include intercom audio messages, strobe lights, and LED sign board messages. Wireless components ensure that the notification reaches outdoor areas, especially more remote locations like sports fields and parking lots.
Activating LENS also triggers automatic calls to 911 and police without the reliance on human intervention to make the right contacts during what can be an incredibly nerve-racking emergency situation. In addition, key district-wide personnel are alerted through phone calls, emails, PC screen pops, and text messages.
LENS brings the right technology together with all of the key procedures to provide a comprehensive emergency notification process that’s swift and effective.
Creating Safer Schools with a Combination of Technology and Mindset Shift
“What we do in one school we have to do in each school. Eastern DataComm evaluated the system, making recommendations for what to improve. Everybody was helpful. Paul was fabulous. Extremely knowledgeable, very helpful, always accessible when we had questions, whether it was me or the director of buildings and grounds.”
– Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator
Of note, says their Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator, is the ability to place schools into lockdown very quickly.
“I think the biggest, most important effect that this has is the ability to place the school into lockdown very quickly. Teachers have the ability right from their classrooms.”
The new push-button lockdown initiation has given way to even faster response times. And the faster the school enters lockdown, the more potential there is to mitigate damage and save lives.
The district can now clear its hallways within 10 seconds, making the school more secure thanks to this new mindset and the technology implemented by the Eastern DataComm team.
“If everybody can lock down before that perpetrator gets into the hallway, and the hallways are clear, that person’s going to be going down the hallway, looking for kids … and we’re locked down.”
“So it is extremely, extremely relevant and important that the faster that we have the ability to put the school on lockdown, the more lives that we could be saving.”
The students, he says, understand that drills are conducted to ensure their safety and, since they do a security drill in addition to their usual fire drills each month, the process is now routine.
“With our drills, we’re locked down, basically clearing the halls within 10 seconds … And the more quickly we secure the buildings, that’s more lives that we’re going to save.“
He shared that the district sees drills as, not an opportunity to achieve perfection, but a chance to identify areas for improvement. He notes that the drills allow them to see how everything is working, to make sure educators and staff know what to do, and ensure communication with law enforcement and first responders is streamlined and effective.
To further exemplify the mindset shift, the Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator notes, “I think it’s becoming second nature to our students. We train with this. We do say before the drill that this is a drill because you will have a lot of concerns. They accept it. It seems to be part of life right now in the school environment. They all know that this is for their safety and they take it seriously.”
He also shared that the swift notification and lockdown initiation has supported his district’s ability to effectively communicate with the police. Before a drill, the district notifies local authorities that the technology responsible for lockdown will be activated for the purposes of the drill. Then, when the lockdown drill begins, the notification goes immediately to the police without requiring further calls or human intervention. The drill creates a system of checks and balances for the district to ensure they’re prepared for a potential emergency if presented one in real life.
“We have the ability now when we place the school into lockdown, it immediately goes to the dispatch for police and we also receive a text notification: Law enforcement sergeants, command sergeants, they get a text or an email. That alert goes out simultaneously so we’re getting an alert from the phone as well as an email and the police departments we determined should get that alert also get that notification and it will tell you where the activation occurred.”
Partnering with Eastern DataComm for Your Safety and Communications Technology Needs
“They came out immediately. They assessed what we needed. Eastern DataComm staff was phenomenal. They worked with my staff and knew exactly what we needed. They made certain recommendations that we all agreed on. And then, we began the project of changing our phone system and adding lockdown buttons and phones in our large group areas such as the cafeterias and gymnasiums. We then had the ability to put a lockdown in place from a button or the phones in those areas.”
– Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator
The district’s Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator notes that he has developed a solid relationship with Eastern DataComm that he expects will continue only to grow moving forward. He noted that the Eastern DataComm team has been highly responsive and easy to work with every step of the way, a goal we strive to deliver with each of our customer relationships.
Further, he was grateful that Eastern DataComm took the time to train support staff on the use and general programming of the new system so that those who use the system most often feel empowered to do so confidently.
He shared that the district received everything it needed and even reached out to continue the relationship by adding additional technology solutions. In the future, the district is considering more strobes and other features to increase the safety and security of the individual schools and knows that Eastern DataComm will be here as their collaborative partner to continue to assist them with their evolving needs.
These insights speak to what truly sets Eastern DataComm apart from others in our field: When we become your school safety partner, we apply our comprehensive diagnostic, collaborative, and consultative approach to technology solutions that best serve the entirety of your school district’s needs. We do all of this while delivering fast, effective service that goes beyond what you’d expect from other vendors.
Connect with Eastern DataComm
Eastern DataComm has the expertise to help keep your community connected and protected. Schedule your Complimentary School Safety Consultation with our Safety & Communications Advisors today by calling 888-902-4091 or emailing us at