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Prepare for New School Safety Measures in Texas
Safer Learning Environments: The Impact of New Bills on School Safety in Texas

In recent times, school safety has become a top priority across Texas, prompting the passage of critical bills to improve emergency response in educational institutions.  

We had the privilege of interviewing Christy Williams, Director of NCT911, to unpack the evolution of school safety in Texas, and explore how 911 agencies are adapting to new legislation and technology.  

The interview provides insight into the impact of HB 3 bill and SB 838 on school safety, outlines the changes expected in Texas, and demonstrates how RapidDeploy is helping to enhance emergency response with the data and applications that can make a difference in our schools today.

RD: How is 911 adapting to new school safety measures?

CW: NCT911 is actively collaborating with local Independent School Districts (ISDs) and Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) to enhance emergency response and school safety.  

The recent HB 3 bill requires districts to share detailed maps and floor plans of each campus with law enforcement and emergency responders. NCT911 has been working on a school floor plan project with ISDs and is continuing this effort by capturing and maintaining indoor mapping information, including floor plans, for schools in the region. This data will be integrated into Radius Mapping used in over 40 911 centers in North Central Texas.

SB 838, commonly known as Alyssa's Law, mandates the provision of silent panic alert buttons in each classroom, enabling teachers to have immediate contact with emergency services agencies. NCT911 is actively working to educate superintendents on the implementation of this requirement and address potential technological challenges.

By fostering a strong loop of communication among schools, ECCs, and NCT911, accurate information can be efficiently routed to 911 ECCs, ensuring a swift and coordinated response to emergencies.

RD: What changes do you expect to see across Texas, and how can 911 be prepared to satisfy new requirements?

CW: While implementing new safety measures on a large scale takes time, administrators are eager to effect positive change and promptly adhere to new requirements. The rollout of panic buttons in schools is expected to be among the first significant changes for 911 centers, though challenges may arise due to the variety of potential service providers and information delivery methods.

To prepare for these changes, 911 agencies must focus on building strong partnerships with vendors and technology providers. NCT911, for example, has leveraged its existing partnership with RapidDeploy to gain valuable insights into various service providers for panic buttons, indoor floor plans, and live feeds from school security cameras. Additionally, agencies must prioritize training for telecommunicators and develop new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle incoming panic alerts effectively.

The legislative mandate for accurate floor plan data is expected to improve emergency response by enhancing situational awareness for both telecommunicators and field responders. Collaborative efforts between NCT911 and RapidDeploy could visualize floor plans and incorporate panic buttons and video into Radius Mapping, providing 911 telecommunicators with invaluable location-based data, critical information, and triggered alerts, all of which have not been previously available.

RD: What should 911 agencies across Texas be looking for as they enhance their centers for school safety?

CW: 911 agencies must embrace technological solutions to address evolving safety challenges effectively. By integrating a range of critical data and modern communication applications into their systems, agencies can substantially improve school safety measures, and enhance the workflow to better protect the public they serve. This will require close collaboration with technology vendors to create awareness, training, and new procedures that align with the role of the telecommunicator and with the 911 workflow.

Furthermore, 911 centers must make the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) to accommodate additional data through IP-based systems. Building strong relationships between ECCs and ISDs is crucial for effective communication and understanding the specific needs of schools. Regular visits from schools to ECCs can foster better understanding and enable more efficient responses during emergencies.

RD: How will emergency response teams, including telecommunicators and first responders, benefit from the new school safety measures?

CW: The integration of floor plans and panic buttons provides emergency response teams with invaluable situational awareness during school-related emergencies. Having access to detailed school layouts allows for quicker and more accurate responses. Additionally, effective communication among 911 callers, telecommunicators, and first responders is facilitated, facilitating more coordinated and efficient response.

Utilizing advanced technology and additional data display on core 911 systems and mapping platforms enhances the overall safety of schools and first responders. Partnering with innovative companies like RapidDeploy enables agencies to save lives and make a significant difference in emergency response efforts.


As a partner in NCT911’s transition to Next Generation 911 solutions, RapidDeploy is committed to supporting agencies in their efforts to implement cutting-edge solutions, such as panic buttons, floorplan integration, CCTV, and the real-time visualization of information and GIS data to protect our children, teachers, and administrators. Together with NCT911 and our valued partners, RapidDeploy can further its mission of saving lives by reducing response times.  

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