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Bangor schools will pilot new crisis alert system for emergencies

bangor schools.jpg
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Bangor Daily News
Parents line up in their vehicles outside James F. Doughty school in Bangor to receive education material handouts so their children can pursue remote learning at home while the city's schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangor schools will be the first in New England to begin using an emergency alert system to notify school administrators or first responders of acts of violence or medical emergencies.

At a school committee meeting earlier this week, Superintendent James Tager described plans to begin using the Centegix crisis alert system.

School staff members will be equipped with badges about the size of a driver's license.

The badges will have a button that can be used to alert on-site administrators or local police of an emergency, depending on its severity. More serious incidents, such as a school shooting, will trigger shelter-in place or lockdown procedures on campus grounds.

"As the world has changed and there have been more instances with school violence, we wanted to make sure that we were offering something that would reduce the amount of time that it took to contact local emergency responders," said Ray Phinney, the safety and communications director for the Bangor School Department.

The idea came following a review of the school district's safety plans over the summer.

"This covers all of our spaces, not just within the schools, but also playgrounds, and sports fields and Cameron Stadium," Phinney said. "Everything that encompasses the Bangor school department will be within that one click of being able to get in touch within someone when they need help.

Tager said the Bangor Police Department has assured him that officers could respond to an incident within one-and-a-half-to-three minutes of receiving an alert.

The new system should be in place by the beginning of January. It will cost about $409,000 over a five-year period, Phinney said.