Correction: This story originally misstated who may use the app. Only school officials have access to Rave Panic App.
A new phone app will allow school districts in Oklahoma to connect with first-responders and inform staff of emergencies at the same time.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced the arrival of the Rave Panic App in Oklahoma during a news conference at Norman North High School on Wednesday.
When activated, the app sends critical data such as locations and school floor plans to 911 and first-responders, allowing them to respond more quickly and more effectively to emergencies. It also simultaneously sends a text alert to school personnel.
This allows first-responders working across multiple jurisdictions to better communicate with schools and one another, Hofmeister said.
The Rave Panic App is available to all Oklahoma public schools and 911 centers at no charge. The state superintendent called it an “effective safety enhancement” that will help foster a culture of safety in every school and district where it’s utilized.
“Oklahoma schools are not immune to threats, whether in the form of severe weather, fire or a school intruder,” Hofmeister said. “Ensuring the safety of every student is our foremost priority. Children cannot learn unless their basic needs, including a sense of safety, have been met.”
The app has been implemented in every state and is used in school systems in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Louisiana and others.
Oklahoma officials became aware of the program from Arkansas, where it’s used by more than 1,000 schools.
Funding for statewide implementation here was secured after state education leaders added $3 million to the common education budget during the last legislative session, said Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“We live in a day of a great deal of uncertainty, especially when it comes to security in our schools,” Thompson said. “The Rave Panic Button is a proven resource to assemble first-responders immediately. I was honored to be an active part of the conversation that resulted in additional funding for this program.”
Of the approximately 540 school districts in Oklahoma, 143 have implemented the app. Tulsa Public Schools is not one of them, according to a list provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Tulsa-area districts using the program include Union, Jenks, Sapulpa, Broken Arrow, Bristow, Skiatook and Glenpool.
Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, said he believes the Rave Panic App will help save lives and wishes the feature would have been available for previous emergencies.
“In Moore, our schools have faced many severe weather disasters, and having this app in place would have helped school administrators, teachers and staff be more prepared,” McBride said. “This will be equally important for other districts that face similar natural disasters or other emergency events.”
Seven students died when an EF5 tornado struck a Moore elementary school in 2013. Another elementary also was leveled, though there were no fatalities there.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Jennifer Murphy talks about the Tulsa Police new reading program and school supply handout at the Darlington Apartments.