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Bangor school staff to wear alert badges as part of new crisis alert system

The new system will be in place on Jan. 3, the first day back from winter break.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor schools will have a new crisis alert system in place after the new year.

The alert system requires teachers to wear emergency alert badges -- roughly the size of a credit card -- that can notify help with one button. Bangor Superintendent James Tager said all full-time faculty and staff will wear a badge on their lanyard for easy access.

Tager said the Uvalde elementary school shooting struck a chord with himself and the community.

"I think that the talk that we're hearing in the community is safety. And when parents send their kids to school, they want to know they're going to come home safe," Tager said.

If an issue can be resolved in-house, such as a fight, medical issue, or mental health issue, staff members can push the button three times to notify the school safety team, administrators, the school nurse, and guidance counselors. Tager said he believes the new system will be most used for these types of low-level emergencies.

Pressing the button nine or more times signals a larger emergency like a school intruder or gunman on campus. In an instant, the school would immediately lock down, and the signal would alert the Bangor police and fire departments, according to Tager.

In a lockdown situation, strobe lights would flash throughout the school, desktop computers would get an emergency notification, and there would be an intercom message.

The Bangor Police Department could be at any of Bangor's ten schools within a minute and a half to three minutes, according to Tager. The system can show first responders the precise location of the emergency based on the location of the activated badges.

"If you have a lockdown and that signal goes, the calvary is going to come running to us. Our police chief has assured us they go right to the source. There's not going to be any waiting around. It's getting inside the building to the students," Tager said.

Tager said Bangor schools have done all of the "traditional" safety measures, like door lock checks and double entrances at some schools, but this is more of an innovative solution.

Substitute teachers will also check out a badge at the beginning of the day, so any adult on campus can call for a lockdown if necessary.

Centegix's Education CrisisAlert system is used in over 2,000 schools, but Bangor is New England's first district to use the technology.

Centegix also provides alert systems for healthcare spaces, commercial businesses, and hospitality staff.

The new system will be in place the first day back from winter break on Jan. 3. The system will cost $409,000 for five years, Tager said.

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