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Idaho School Installs RTLS to Make Students Safer

Employees at Skyview High School wear Ekahau Wi-Fi badges that can be used to call for help in the event of a security threat or medical emergency, and also trigger a lockdown.
By Claire Swedberg
May 23, 2013

At Idaho's Skyview High School, when teachers and staff members have a possible emergency on their hands, they use an Ekahau real-time location system (RTLS) to indicate the nature of the problem and their location, thereby making response times faster than for traditional methods of placing phone calls or calling for help. The solution consists of Ekahau's Wi-Fi-based RFID tags, infrared (IR) beacons to make location data more granular and Ekahau's Vision software.

The December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as deadly incidents at other schools, had Bradley Ford, Skyview's resource manager in charge of security, concerned enough to begin looking into preventative measures. He says he spoke to the school counselor, as well as one of his own neighbors, regarding possible solutions. "We were asking, 'What are we doing to keep our kids safe?'" he states. Ford's neighbor researched various technologies, and suggested an RTLS solution featuring RFID tags that personnel could wear to call for help when necessary.

Ekahau's B4 badge tag

"We wanted something we could put in the hands of every teacher—something they could access right away," Ford says, rather than a panic button that might be mounted under a wall or at a doorway.

Ekahau's RTLS technology, notes Mark Norris, Ekahau's president, was not designed specifically for schools, but is used at a variety of workplaces, including hospitals. However, it is being employed by Germany's Friedrich-von-Canitz School, to provide teachers with a means of summoning help from any location within the school, simply by pressing a button or pulling a switch on a badge. Skyview was interested in this solution, and opted to install it, along with IR beacons, in order to help its resource officer and other staff members identify not only the nature of an emergency, but also its location.

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