It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
For the first time, there's a statewide system in place to alert schools of an emergency situation. Michele Skalicky has more.
School districts in Missouri now have access to a statewide system that allows them to be notified quickly of an emergency situation.
The Missouri Alert Network has been offered to school districts for a little over a month.
The Network is a joint effort of the Missouri School Boards Association or MSBA and the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
MSBA spokesman Brent Ghan says it's a statewide emergency notification system for schools across the state, both public and private.
"A lot of school districts currently have voice mail and e-mail notification systems that they're using internally within their own school districts for different purposes, but there's been no statewide network available to immediately notify school districts of an emergency situation."
The MSBA went to a private group in St. Louis, GroupCast, which provides notification systems for school districts, and asked for their help in establishing the statewide system.
Ghan explains how the Missouri Alert Network might be used.
"We could foresee it being used in a situation of a natural disaster, perhaps, in the state. Perhaps an incident of school violence occuring somewhere in the state where other school districts, either in a region or statewide, might want to be aware of a situation that's going on in some school district so that they could be on a heightened state of alert, those sorts of things."
The State Department of Public Safety is determining the criteria for when the MO Alert Network will be activated.
Alerts can be sent out on a statewide level or on a regional level.
Brent Ghan says the network is one more tool that school officials will have to ensure the safety of students and staff.
"Schools will be able to be aware very quickly of situations that arise throughout our state and then the local school officials can what the action, if any, would be appropriate for their school district to takeion order to assure that their students are as safe as possible."
Schools can receive the alerts thru voice mail on a cell phone or landline phone or thru e-mail. Each school can establish one free contact and have the option of paying $100 for each additional contact.
360 school districts have signed up so far including the Nixa District.
Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith says they wasted no time in signing up for the free service.
"We're all about enhancing safety and security, and this certainly lined up with goal in mind."
Kleinsmith says, eventually, they'll have a way to relay the information to the community. Nixa's currently in the process of determining what method of notification parents and business leaders prefer.
He explains in what types of situations the MO Alert Network will be helpful.
"The last ice storm would have been probably a good example. It affected the state. Granted, only a large region of the state got hit with the ice storm, but it indirectly affected the entire state, so I could see that as being an example. There's no skirting the issue of terrorism. Schools, unfortunately, are ripe targets for those that want to wreak havoc upon a state or a nation, so if there's some information that the governor's aware of, he could put us all on alert in an instant's notice, and we could react to our crisis plan right away."
School districts that would like to sign up for the Missouri Alert Network should call 573-445-9920.