As students head back to the classroom, there are many things on a parent’s mind, from getting the supplies, lunches, and transportation.

One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is their child’s safety.

And that’s exactly what officials in Jefferson County are trying to do with a new safety initiative.

” Seconds mean lives…”

John Belt – Assistant Superintendent Indian Creek Local Schools

For weeks, schools and first responders have been training with the SaferWatch program as the school year begins.

This is a tool for first responders and every school to be on the same page when an incident or emergency occurs on school grounds.

“It opens up a channel of communication between the administrators, the teachers, and emergency responders so that in the event of an emergency, the teachers can make an instant notification.”

Rob Herrington – Jefferson County 911 Director

Phase one of the program has a cellphone app component that has three options for school personnel to click on: Active Assailant, Medical Emergency, or Fire and alerts the 911 Center, and then GEO locates the incident.

The second phase is the 1,500 school cameras that are in the entire district being accessible by the 911 Center in a crisis, getting live camera access in real-time.

Herrington says for school emergency situations, it all comes down to improving response times and providing transparency, and that’s what this program will do.

“When you watch these instances on TV that have happened in our country, one of the big problems is law enforcement can’t see those images, so we’ve kind of overcome that, and we’re going be able to stream those to their phones or iPads whatever device they have. So that they could actually have some actionable intelligence when they arrive at those schools.”

Rob Herrington – Jefferson County 911 Director

Every school in the district was in agreement and is paying for the system.

Indian Creek Local Schools Assistant Superintendent John Belt says this program will be a huge safety upgrade, and his staff have been very receptive to it as this adds another layer of protection in the schools.

“Unfortunately, you got to train for aggressor scenarios just like you train for fire drills, and like you said, it’s a sad point in our world that we have to do that but I mean, everything that, we do just reduces the risk of something awful like that happening.”

John Belt – Assistant Superintendent Indian Creek Local Schools

The app is GEO fenced in for each school property, so the app will not work outside of school grounds.

There will also be a third phase, mapping out each and every building in every school in the district.

That is something Herrington says they will be doing throughout the school year.

Herrington also says this is a program that will continue to improve and grow each and every year.

He says this app is also a product of Alyssa’s Law, which requires educators to be able to make electronic notifications to law enforcement in an emergency.

The Buckeye State hasn’t implemented the law yet, but Jefferson County is the first county in the state to embrace the SaferWatch program.