School in Milford uses new safety app for emergencies

School in Milford uses new safety app
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 4:46 PM EST
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MILFORD, CT (WFSB) - This week marks 10 years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Since then, schools around the state have been looking at ways to keep students and staff safe.

One school along the shoreline is now using an app to connect them right to their local police department.

After the shooting in Uvalde, Texas last spring, Saint Mary School in Milford decided once again to look into its security.

They noted their cameras and the locks on the doors, but they didn’t have a panic button.

Now every staffer has one right at their fingertips on their cell phone.

The school launched the Safer Watch app earlier this fall, believed to be the first school in the state to use this technology.

It’s a mobile panic system that sends real-time alerts directly to police.

If there is an emergency, you press and hold a button on the app for three seconds, triggering a silent panic alarm.

“If there is an intruder or some kind of really bad emergency, every teacher in this building, secretary and janitor, people outside, have access to this panic button,” said Deacon Dominic Corraro, St. Mary School Principal.

It allows any staff member at the Catholic elementary school, home to about 370 students, to trigger it from anywhere.

“When we tested it out, it was like within seconds, it went through to the police station,” Corraro said.

The alert goes directly to the Milford police dispatch’s center, allowing them to immediately respond, dispatching officers to the school.

Those involved said not only can it help officers respond more quickly, but also provide information directly to them, when every second counts.

“Every classroom teacher has this, everybody, the janitors, have it since they’re all over the building, the people who are outside with the kids have it, every teacher in the Pre-K has it and the Parish is included too,” said Deacon Dominic Corraro, St. Mary School Principal.

The app’s developers said it’s a way for citizens to connect with law enforcement. It allows them to send a tip or use it as a tool to provide info during an emergency, when they might not be able to call 911 or have the time.

The app cuts out a step, and in the process saves valuable seconds.

“They ask you, who are you, where are you, what’s your phone number what’s your name. We provide all that information in a click of a button and streamline the response time by about 2 1/2 minutes,” said Geno Roefaro with SaferWatch.

The system also allows the police department to gain access to the school’s camera system, allowing them to see what’s going on.

“Right after you press the panic button and notifies 911, after the fact you could put in photos, video, you could text back and forth, so this is giving critical information to 911 and first responders as they’re coming on scene,” Roefaro said.

That’s key in an emergency when every minute matters.

“Parents are very happy we have this, they feel safe knowing we have this level of security and this level how we can react,” said Corraro. “It’s something you have in place, with the hope you never have to use it.”

Developers said the app was developed following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Saint Mary School said it is the first in Connecticut to sign up for this safety app.

School in Milford begins using new security app