Emergency app started in Clayton aims to help teachers, students in crisis situations

A Clayton-based startup company hopes to give the power back to the teachers by giving them the tools to keep their classroom safe.

CrisisGo is an app for any smartphone or desktop that allows schools to inform classrooms and its teachers about large-scale emergencies and keep everyone in communication with each other.

Some of the features of the app, which launched in 2013, include: providing emergency checklists with actionable instructions to guide individuals through the proper response steps, a panic button feature that will allow teachers to alert emergency responders, and a roster feature that helps keep track of all the students in the classroom.

Bill Reynolds, c0-founder at CrisisGo, said the idea for the app got its start shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Dec. 2012.

“About five years ago, right after the Sandy Hook incident I was working with a company called Schoolwires and they wanted to put their school emergency response plan on their teachers website,” Reynolds said. “We were able to do that and in thinking about that I thought everyone has got their phone with them. What a better place to put an emergency response plan (than) on your phone?”

He said the application gives a much needed update to the process of keeping schools safe during emergencies.

“The tools itself that are within the platform — we take the emergency response plan out of the three-ring binder and we put it on the mobile phone, so it’s role-based and actionable,” he said. “What that means is if I’m a teacher and we have a bomb-threat I can quickly go to my checklist on my phone or on my desktop and be able to see what I need to do for that type of incident.”

Reynolds said the team of around 50 employees at CrisisGo built a wide array of other tools to be able to communicate during an emergency.

“Being able to have everyone within the school building or district, being able to communicate with each other is extremely helpful during a situation,” he said.

CrisisGo currently works with around 14,000 schools around the country.

A typical cost for a school district to use CrisisGo runs around $2 per-student annually.

Clayton Public Schools currently isn’t using CrisisGo but are in the process of implementing it within their schools.

Reynolds said the CrisisGo team also works with the school districts to put their facility maps, the evacuation routes, and the gas and electric shutoffs onto the app.

According to Reynolds, this is a way for school employees to quickly know where the resources are and where the exit routes are located in case of an emergency. That information also can be shared with local law enforcement so they can know where these important locations are.

“If you look at the way schools have always done their flip-charts, the three-ringed binder that sits on the shelf, it doesn’t get much usage unless the bad thing happens,” he said. “Our platform is a much more modern way. When I went to school we had chalk and chalkboards, now they have smart boards. It’s just an evolution using modern tools and modern technologies to do safety.”

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