District and authorities work to keep everyone safe

 

A new security system in the Almont school district is designed for faster responses from law enforcement.

ALMONT — For motorists driving past the Almont school district last week, they may have noticed some flashing lights and a police presence.

There was no need for alarm as school and law enforcement officials conducted a regular test of a new security system recently installed at the school

The BluePoint Alert System was recommended by the 2022-23 Almont Community School Safety Committee to provide another layer of safety for all students and staff at each of the school buildings.

According to Interim Superintendent Kimberly VonHiltmayer, the district received assistance with the cost of the system with all three buildings receiving security upgrades.

Prior to the safety exercise, school district officials notified everyone of the preplanned exercise.

In the message, VonHiltmayer stated, “During the morning of Wednesday, February 14th, ACS tested our new Blue Point Alert System. Please feel free to talk to your child(ren) regarding the drill and how they respond when doing a ‘lock down’ type drill. Please also note that you may see some lights blinking on the outside of the school buildings and you may see police cars; this is all part of the drill and is not cause for alarm. Thank you for your support as we continue to work on making our schools a safe place to learn.”

The Almont school district took the measures to insure the safety of all students and staff with the new security system that is connected directly to law enforcement.

VonHiltmayer said, “Our district funded this project through two main sources: Section 97c (Michigan’s School Safety Grant) and the Lapeer County Law Enforcement Millage (Village of Almont). “

According to information in the district’s newsletter that details the new project, the BluePoint Alert System is a Rapid Emergency Response System (RERS) to be used in Active Threat or Medical Emergency situations.

VonHiltmayer explained, “Officer Amanda Manning, our District’s School Resource Officer (SRO), serves on the Safety Committee along with many other school stakeholders (administration, teachers, and parents).”

She added, “Officer Manning was instrumental in recommending the BluePoint Alert System to provide another layer of safety for all students and staff. The system was installed this past summer.”

When activated, BluePoint Alert immediately alerts Police/EMS who instantly receive critical information which increases their effectiveness and decreases their response time.

Ultimately, district officials say reduced response time saves lives.

After activation, the system simultaneously, is notifying school leadership, students, teachers, and staff of the threat.

The system provides initial location of threat information to first responders and school
administration.

Further, it includes two-way communication capability with a control center, which is a web-based communication portal that acts as the “hub” between facility stakeholders, law enforcement and building occupants.

After the pull stations and strobe alerts have been activated, the control center notifies stakeholders via automated text, email and voice notifications of the situation and instructs them regarding what emergency protocol procedures to take.

Vonhiltmayer said the system has her full support. “I am in full support of anything that we can do to further protect our students and staff from a potentially dangerous and/or life-threatening situation on campus. The BluePoint Alert System allows for a quicker response from law enforcement, enhances communication between our staff and first responders, and streamlines our lockdown procedures.”

The system instantly initiates emergency protocols and links the Command Group with live security camera videos, visual point identification (VPI) diagrams of the facility and emergency preparedness documents to ensure all vital information is available quickly and easily.

It is designed with law enforcement’s input to speed both response times and the initiation of precautionary measures within facilities.

The system can provide detailed information on where the incident is located, and when the notification was received, so law enforcement knows exactly where to go when arriving on the scene.

Because the pull station’s function has a built-in location capability that is communicated via the wireless network, law enforcement is able to determine which pull station has been activated, giving them a clearer indication of the location of the shooter or where the threat originated.

Making it known that the school has a police emergency notification system can serve as a deterrent from a threat being initiated within the building.

BluePoint is to be incorporated into ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter & Evacuate) training.