The Guard911 app has expanded to serve not just elementary, middle and high schools but also universities and colleges with CampusGuard911. The first college to adopt CampusGuard911 in 2015 was Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, located a couple of hours outside Chicago.
The man who brought Guard911 to campus was Mark Beckwith. After 37 years in law enforcement, Beckwith now serves as both Deputy Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director at Augustana College, where he’s in charge of the emergency operations plans, hazard vulnerability and other related safety measures and procedures. Deputy Chief Beckwith is responsible for full-scale emergency exercises that happen at least once a year to put the operations and procedures into action. The purpose of these exercises is to focus on preparedness and ability to respond if an emergency were to happen on campus.
In 2016, Deputy Chief Beckwith and his team utilized Guard911 for a full-scale active shooter emergency exercise at the large performance venue on campus.
“In all, we had 1,200 people participate in the exercise, where we had an ‘active shooter’ while there was a guest speaker on stage,” said Deputy Chief Beckwith. “That’s when we did the activation of the Guard911 app during that exercise.”
This full-scale emergency exercise had 85 students with moulage or simulated injuries, on them, who were transported to any of the six trauma centers in the metro area. The event was also coordinated with local police, fire, EMS, and mass transit officials to carry out the exercise and implement response plans fully.
Deputy Chief Beckwith assigned a few participants during the exercise to activate the app once the simulated shooting started. In doing so, the officers in the surrounding area received their Hero911 notification immediately — knowing it was a practice drill.
“The app also notified the 911 centers within our metro area within seconds, I would say less than 10 seconds, to the point that the 911 operators could hear the gunshots in the background, said Deputy Chief Beckwith. “Whereas someone using their cell phone and dialing 911, none of those calls did they ever detect gunshots in the background — the point being the Guard911 notification went through that quick — so when we say seconds count, they truly do.”
The Sandy Hook Elementary incident happened in a span of just five minutes — 300 seconds. Within 300 seconds 26 people perished. This breaks down to one death every 11.53 seconds.
In this instance and in so many others, seconds matter. With a panic button built into the Guard911 app and its affiliated apps, it allows for significantly reduced response times.
Deputy Chief Beckwith and his team encourage other campus officials nationwide to adopt technology like Guard911 for their own schools to build into their emergency response plans if an incident were to occur. The reason why, according to Deputy Chief Beckwith, “it works, I haven’t found another app out there that does three essential things at the same time with accuracy and immediacy like Guard911 does.”
Deputy Chief Beckwith stands by Guard911 because no other app out there does these three essential things all at the same time with both accuracy and immediacy:
- Activates everyone else on campus who has the Guard911 app downloaded on their cell phone
- Alerts local law enforcement in the area, either on or off duty of the incident
- Speed dials 911 within seconds of pushing the ‘Alert’ button
To learn more about adopting CampusGuard911 for your university or college visit: campusguard911.com