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Enhancing School Bus Safety with Modern Emergency Alerting


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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When it comes to ensuring student safety, few roles in school districts are as isolated as school bus drivers. Traffic accidents, student behavior or medical concerns, severe weather, and even irate parents create scenarios where bus drivers need support. While most buses are equipped with a CB radio—relying on a single point for communication creates opportunities for failure during an emergency.

The tragic incidents that have unfolded on school buses underscore the urgent need for comprehensive safety measures. Drawing inspiration from Ohio’s proactive steps, as seen in the recommendations by the Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group as well as recent legislation introduced in Georgia, it’s clear that enhancing bus safety and emergency response should be a priority for school districts everywhere.

Modernizing emergency alerting on school buses​

Ohio’s and Georgia’s initiatives highlight the need for improved integration of emergency response protocols. The guidelines from Ohio’s School Bus Safety Working Group underscore a holistic approach to bus safety, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and proactive measures.

A critical component of these measures is including bus drivers in emergency response planning and realistic, scenario-based critical incident exercised. Integrating advanced emergency alerting, accountability, and reunification technology into school bus emergency response protocols can also significantly enhance student safety.

“Prior to accepting my position as Safety Administrator at Calallen, I had been a police officer for 14 years. I was involved in a lot of school safety drills, but none were as efficient as what I see with Raptor Emergency Management. It brings more structure and more order, and it also helps our staff better learn the drills—which reduces human error during an emergency.” John Garcia, Safety Administrator, Calallen Independent School District

Raptor Emergency Management enables schools to improve student safety while in transit on school buses by providing:

  1. Instant Alert Capabilities: When an emergency alert is initiated—by app-based software or physical buttons like Alertus—it prompts detailed, situation-specific alerts that include the type, location, time, and initiator of the emergency. Alerts can be sent via text, email, voice call, and push notification, ensuring comprehensive coverage across communication platforms.
  2. Customizable Alerts and Recipient Lists: Tailor alerts and recipient lists based on the emergency type, ensuring only relevant personnel are notified. This feature is crucial for efficiently managing both large-scale emergencies and localized incidents.
  3. Real-Time Communication and Coordination: Enables seamless communication between staff, public safety officials, and incident commanders through group messaging, allowing for real-time updates and coordinated response efforts.
  4. Advanced Integration with 911 Services: Through integration with services like RapidSOS, emergency alert data, including precise location and type of emergency, is instantly shared with 911 dispatchers, accelerating the response time of first responders.
  5. Geolocation Features: Utilizes GPS data to pinpoint the location of the alert initiator, ensuring that emergency responses are accurately directed to the right location on campus.
  6. Accountability: With real-time tracking and updates on the status of students and staff during emergencies, Raptor Accountability enables quick and accurate accountability, reducing trauma and ensuring efficiency during emergency response.
  7. Raptor Reunification: Efficiently manage the reunification process during emergencies, ensure a proper chain of custody, and facilitate swift and safe reunions of students with parents or guardians. Further, alignment with established protocols—including the Standard Reunification Method—for reduced chaos and enhanced security.
  8. Support for Localized Incidents with Team Assist: Allows for simultaneous handling of multiple localized incidents, providing the ability to send targeted notifications for an immediate response to situations that require specific attention.

“It’s all about communication. If you don’t have a strong method for communicating across multiple departments, then Raptor is an excellent tool. Team Assist is just an all-around great, real-time, communication feature.” Officer Craig Scheel, SRO at Colchester Public School District, CT

This approach to emergency preparedness ensures that schools can respond swiftly and effectively to any incident, enhancing the safety and security of students during their commute.

Prepare for and respond to any emergency with Raptor​

Raptor Alert simplifies and expedites the call for help in emergencies and everyday incidents. It includes the latest emergency notification technology, including a silent panic alert system (compliant with Alyssa’s Law), instantly notifying first responders at the touch of a button.

Compatible with all standard Public Safety Answering Points and emergency calling infrastructure and RapidSOS Ready
, Raptor Alert accelerates the transfer of critical emergency alert data to 911 and first responders.

Learn more about emergency response best practices in Raptor’s free guide.

Related Resources

Guide to K-12 Emergency Management

Proven Strategies to Protect Your School

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Guide to K-12 Student Wellbeing

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