Several Arizona school districts using alert system that can detect gunshots

Schools have the ability to customize messages sent through the alert system.
Schools have the ability to customize messages sent through the alert system.(Atlas IED)
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 5:14 PM PDT
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — AtlasIED, a company based out of Phoenix, says schools are their No. 1 customers for a system that issues visual and audio alerts during critical incidents. “It made it easy for education to be able to put this type of system on the networks since the network was already created and robust enough to handle all these other technologies,” explained Business Development Manager Manny Kitagawa. “It goes anywhere from our day-to-day type communication needs to the critical alert side and we find that schools use it across the board for everything.”

Kitagawa says they’ve been working with schools for several years, and they actually helped them enhance the technology to fit their growing concerns. “It was through a number of schools throughout the country that provided us the details of what is needed to be and so we took that information and we actually made it a part of the system itself,” Kitagawa said. “So the things like the color codings, the silent alerts, the visual messaging, the audio and things like that.”

Schools have the ability to customize messages sent through the alert system. “What they do is they color code everything so they’ll use a color code for example as green signifying that this is only an emergency preparation drill and then during a real event they might change the color codes to a blue, and this actually prevents chaos,” Kitagawa said.

According to one of their demonstrations, AtlasIED can also detect gunshots, prompting an automatic response from their alert system. “What they do is they have some analytics that they created into their product that can actually detect a specific sound of a gunshot, even down to the caliber type,” Kitagawa said. “That’s where we take it from there. We take that trigger knowing that it was a gunshot detection and then our system knows to push the actual gunshot type of notification out to the rest of the campus and things like that.”

In turn, police are notified of the situation right away. “It has the ability to allow for somebody like first responders to engage this system in real time without having to be on the premise,” Kitagawa said. “So if they set up command center or dispatch, they’re able to use our system and give real time instructions of what they need to do in addition to just the standard lockdown-type notifications on the campus and they can narrow it down to a building to an individual classroom and give specific instructions.”

Several school districts in Arizona are already using this technology. Other businesses like retail environments, factories, casinos, and amusement parks also use this technology. Though, Kitagawa says schools are their biggest customer.