HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Hancock County is adding new technology to help during active shooter situations and other emergencies. It’s a panic button app and the dispatch director said it could save minutes during a life-threatening situation.
The Hancock County Commission approved the purchase Tuesday morning at a regularly scheduled meeting.
The app can be used for any office, school, or government entity. It allows users to press an icon that describes the emergency. The user must press the icon for about one-point-five seconds to activate. That connects your phone to 911 and alerts other people within your office or school of the emergency all at once.
If it’s a serious emergency like an active shooter situation, everyone would be alerted including off-duty law enforcement personnel. If it’s an issue like a medical emergency, only specific people would be notified, like administrators and the nurse at a school.
Hancock County 911 Director John Jokantas says this is an important step to keep emergency response as quick as possible.
“The technology is moving faster than we can almost keep up with, but again we have to keep up. We have to make sure that we’re moving forward… This is one of those nice times that we actually be proactive to a situation versus reactive,” Jokantas said.
The app also utilizes geofencing, which pinpoints the spot of a mobile device, and digital floor plans which enables the Panic Button to determine precise locations on campuses for emergency responders to locate.
Jokantas said it will cost the county $14,000 for the first year, including installation costs. After the first year, the price tag will be $11,000 annually. That’s a lower cost than normal for the product, because Hancock County is the first to use it in Indiana in a county-wide fashion.