In Arkansas, every public school student, faculty and staff member in the state will now be protected by a panic button.

State Representative Scott Baltz, State Representative, Bruce Cozart and State Senator, Jane English, announced the news as part of the 2015 School Safety Act (Act 950),

The act was sponsored by Representatives Baltz and Cozart, and Senator English, and widely supported by Arkansas state legislators. In time for the 2015-2016 school year, Rave Panic Button will enable authorities to respond to crises much faster and with greater precision, providing a higher level of protection for the more than a half million students, faculty and staff across more than 1,000 public schools statewide.

“It is truly regrettable that we live in a time when schools and other locations have to worry about and prepare for various crisis situations, particularly active shooters, where the number of incidents have increased year over year,” said Representative Baltz, lead sponsor of Act 950. “This powerful solution, which we hope to never have to use for an active shooter, will allow our response teams to save precious minutes, which translates to lives. Rave Panic Button enables us to better protect our most precious assets – our students and teachers.”

Research has shown active shooter situations are often over within minutes, so it is critical for authorities to be notified and dispatched quickly and for school employees to be able to take immediate action. Today’s response plans require calling 9-1-1 as the critical first step, and should be done immediately. By providing teachers and administrators with the ability to receive rapid notifications of an incident and to contact and inform 9-1-1 directly of an active shooter or other emergency, like a life-threatening medical condition, outcomes are improved.

“We felt it imperative to put a solution like this in place to protect the students, teachers and administrators across the entire Arkansas public school system every day,” said Johnny Key, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Public Education. “Having the ability to instantaneously connect teachers and school administrators with 9-1-1 and other emergency personnel will give us, and Arkansas parents, a much greater sense of confidence as we begin a new school year.”

The Rave Panic Button connects 9-1-1, first responders and school personnel in the event of a crisis and shortens the time between the onset of an incident and the arrival of first responders on-scene. Through a simple five button interface, faculty and staff activate the app by selecting the type of emergency – active shooter, police, fire, EMS or other – which immediately connects to 9-1-1 while simultaneously notifying selected on-site personnel of the location and nature of the emergency. 9-1-1 and first responders automatically receive critical data such as the caller’s exact location, floor plans, emergency exit locations, emergency contacts and key procedures and can deliver critical emergency notifications to on-site contacts.

“We are very pleased to have this additional level of protection for our schools. Every single day emergency calls are made from the school facilities for medical, fire or general safety issues,” said Chief Montie Sims, president of the Arkansas Association of Police Chiefs. “Now all response units can have more information, enhanced communication and ultimately arrive on scene faster to help the students or faculty members in need.”