Silicon Prairie News Features SafeDefend and RAZ Mobile Partnership

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Thank you to Silicon Prairie News for featuring SafeDefend and RAZ Mobile’s partnership. Former principal, Jeff Green founded SafeDefend in 2013 after working closely with law enforcement and parents to develop the security system. The system includes a fingerprint-activated device that securely stores items that can be used in the case of an emergency at schools, hospitals, government buildings or corporate offices. Once activated, emergency personnel are alerted via text message to begin the lockdown process, and local law enforcement is notified immediately for quick response.

Green particularly wanted SafeDefend systems in classrooms, but from his experience he knew that school budgets were limited. Que RAZ Mobile, a mobile solution to the fundraising initiative.

“At schools, parents were getting tired of kids going door-to-door selling candy and gift wrap to raise money, and if millennials were going to donate money, they want to give through a web app easily, in the moment, instead of through a text message,” founder of RAZ Mobile, Dale Knoop said. “With RĀZ, we can help set up a campaign for a SafeDefend system and the project-based fundraising supports a school for the long term, which is more meaningful to everyone.”

So far the pair have pilot programs established at several private schools, as well as a library and plan to move to the public sector with their partnership soon.

Parent Donates Three SafeDefend Systems to Curé of Ars For Active Shooter and Emergency Situations

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Curé of Ars Catholic School in Leawood, Kan. has installed SafeDefend Personnel Protection Systems which were donated by a parent. The security upgrade resulted in two SafeDefend systems being placed and installed in two classrooms and the principal’s office.

Michael Scott, a parent with children at Curé of Ars Catholic School, said, “As a parent I want to know my children are in the safest school environment possible. Contributing to fund a system like SafeDefend makes sense to me as it substantially enhances the safety and security of my kids’ school.”

Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, said, “Right now, the news media is reporting on school shootings and companies that hope to prevent injuries. As a former principal and a father, I understood the need for safer schools and the fact that schools need more funding options to implement these types of solutions.”

Green drew from his experiences and input from law enforcement to create SafeDefend’s non-lethal security approach. The system has been endorsed by several local law enforcement officials and school board members and has law enforcement personnel conduct the training.

The training plays a vital role in SafeDefend’s concept: prepare, notify and protect and is critical for several reasons. Up until now staff being asked to protect themselves is not something teachers have really been prepared for, nor is it something that would have been expected from employees outside of law enforcement or security positions.

The systems in place for the staff members at Curé are reported as functioning perfectly and the response regarding the training is overwhelmingly positive. As teachers across the KC area become familiar with the system, they are reporting a sense of empowerment and parents are describing a new peace of mind with the system in place. Curé is just one of the many schools that will be able to use the new system. Green hopes to continue empowering staff through providing them with the ability to protect themselves.

Former Elementary Principal Speaks Out About Safety Plans for Back To School

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend and a former elementary school principal, has been in the hot seat making decisions for students, teachers and faculty much like the Sandy Hook principal had to do as part of the job. Now, as school starts back up, safety is on everyone’s mind. Green weighed in on what experiences he encountered and what people should know right now as we start the school year.

Each district should have a district wide safety plan in place, then each school should have an individual plan. How do these plans differ?

The building plan focuses heavily on addressing the issues specific to the building. Questions such as what are the primary exits for all classrooms and where are the secondary exits. What are the contingency plans if an exit is blocked? Building plans should attempt to accommodate a variety of emergencies and have a plan for each. It is important to identify a variety of leaders and a chain of command in case the principal is gone from the building during a crises.

At the district level it is much more global. Questions such as how do we communicate to all buildings when emergencies arise? What is our protocol if an emergency arises at one building? It is also important to identify roles for key district administration. Who will talk with the media? Who will handle parent calls? Who will coordinate with emergency personnel? All of these factors play a key role in responding to emergencies at the district level.

What types of emergencies and crises should these safety plans address?

Any and all that could present at that site. It is important to have a plan in place for any possible emergency. Under the stress of the crisis, being able to refer to a plan rather than operate in the moment will be crucial in helping minimize the impact of the emergency.

Why is it so important to practice the school’s safety plans?

Practice creates familiarity and automaticity. In the moment of the crisis, being able to follow what you practiced will provide the best opportunities to respond effectively. Just like we have students practicing math to learn math, we need to practice emergencies so staff and students can learn to survive

Is there a way to compare an existing plan to make sure it measures up?

Continually review your plan. It should never be a document that is filed and forgotten. The plan should be fluid and change with changes to the area, the building, the staff, etc. It is also important to have the plan reviewed by emergency responders to ensure it is current with changes in practices and approaches to safety.

What needs to happen immediately after a crisis has been detected?

Notification is the absolute priority when a crisis erupts. Getting emergency responders on the way is vital as well as making sure others in the building know of and can respond appropriately to a crisis. In an active shooter situation, that notification to staff can prevent classes from transitioning into a dangerous situation because they were not aware of it. If there is a fire or other emergency, that notification allows staff and students to evacuate or respond as appropriate. Effectively and rapidly getting the word out about a crisis will help save lives.

Are there any personal safety products that parents should consider for their child, if any?

Truly the best way to increase personal safety is through awareness. Teach your child to be aware of their surroundings, where exits are located. where to go if an exit is blocked, etc. Even young children can grasp the concept of where should I go if something happens. It is known as situational awareness and can be a very important safety option for your child. Also it is important to teach your children to take threats seriously when they hear or read them. Communicating concerns is important to prevent some types of crises. Weather, fire, etc. are definitely situational.

How Does Non-Lethal Emergency Response Training Impact School Safety?

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Right now everyone is trying to find the right approach for school protection. SafeDefend’s approach gives staff not only the training but the tools necessary to effectively give them the best chance at survival in the worst case scenarios. The SafeDefend system is not only designed with substantial law enforcement input and support but law enforcement personnel conduct the training as well.

The training plays a vital role in SafeDefend’s concept: prepare, notify and protect and is critical for several reasons. Staff being asked to protect themselves is not something teachers have really been prepared for, nor is it something that previously ever would have been expected from employees outside of law enforcement or security positions. Effective training becomes paramount in maximizing the benefits of the SafeDefend Personnel Protection System. Training is not only something that is part of the system but an absolute requirement. That is why the trainers are all certified active or retired law enforcement officers and trainers.

Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, said, “We train on every component in the system.  All staff get to use the tools in hands on, interactive exercises that give them more than just a description but actual use and simulation. Our training explains the benefits of each tool and every staff member gets to use every tool in the training.  Familiarity and basic knowledge will provide staff with substantial advantages over our current approaches.”
“Training is customized for each customer depending on their needs. This is a large reason why Green believes that SafeDefend’s Personnel Protection System will substantially enhance the safety of all settings for schools, hospitals and offices, in almost any emergency.

“What is great about our system is that the training, tools and monitoring provides an effective response for ANY organization. The potential crises are the measure for the items, not the setting,” said Green. “In addition, our system can be customized in multiple ways to meet the needs of our clients.The crisis itself dictates the appropriate response and truly that can be addressed with some consistency across all settings. Of course the building design, the people present in the building, etc. can dictate some specific needs.”

Green said that over and over again the word empowerment is used by those undergoing the training. “The system not only provides staff with effective response options, but gives them the confidence and ability to protect themselves and others,” said Green. “The comments are incredibly positive and reinforce the fact that not only is this something that anyone can use, but that staff really want the ability to protect themselves.”

Focus Group Study Finds Parents Want Schools To Do More To Improve Safety

A recent focus group found that parents had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the SafeDefend concept. There was a sense that, the more schools can do to keep kids safe, the better.  In order to have a better basic understanding of school safety concerns among parents and teachers, and to gauge reactions to the SafeDefend concept, Clear Box Insights, an independent research firm, was commissioned to lead a focus group. Parents and teachers from schools in the Olathe School District and the Blue Valley School District were interviewed.

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SafeDefend’s three primary concepts, prepare, defend and notify, giving teachers the resources to defend their students. Both parents and teachers understand the need for the safety measures already in place at schools and are appreciative that their schools are being proactive; however, there is a strong sense that schools can be doing more to keep kids safe.

After hearing SafeDefend’s concept and reading a description of the “toolkit” and items inside here were some of the following responses:

“It’s a toolbox that is non-lethal, yet you could get a suspect under control, hopefully, or at least ward them off. It’s relatively safe, even if it were to fall into the wrong hands. It’s not like any of these items would bring a great deal of harm to anyone.” (Olathe Dad)

“I like the idea that there is first aid, handcuffs, pepper spray, and a whistle. It looks like it would be nice to have it all compact in one space and training can be centralized. I like the idea of one of these in every classroom and that they would have a way to get in touch with authorities. The monitoring component is an important part of this.” (Blue Valley Mom)

“The details provided are much more specific and I really like the variety of items listed. The reason I like the variety is because there are potentially a lot of different scenarios that could arise and could put our teachers and students in harm’s way. I like that this seems pretty complete based on the different scenarios.” (Blue Valley Dad)

“It would be nice to know that you had something in place that had been thought through. We do the fire and tornado drills and all that, but not for intruders. But, I’m a little weary of being about to actually fight myself. It would have to be something I felt like I could use.” (Olathe Teacher)

“I like that there would actually be something in our hands to help. I can’t tell exactly what it is going to be and how comfortable I would be using it, but it says ‘non-lethal’. Obviously, I wouldn’t be comfortable shooting someone with a gun and wouldn’t want it in my classroom.” (Olathe Teacher)

“I like that it’s not a gun or a weapon, that scares me as a teacher in the classroom, for my own capabilities as well as students getting their hands on it. I like having the trauma pack in there, it’s good to have access to that. I like the fact that it really seems to be hitting several different areas or variables that may go on.” (Blue Valley Teacher)