Suffolk County schools get panic button app

With school just a little over a month away, Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone wants to make sure returning students are safe and teachers and administrators are prepared.

Public and private schools in Suffolk County will be able to sign up for a smartphone app called RAVE. It is essentially a panic button that alerts law enforcement and first responders about an active shooter or other emergencies. The system is costing the county $2 million and will be offered to the schools free of charge.

"We hope that we never have to use it but I'm comforted by the fact if god forbid some active shooter scenario does happen anywhere here that we are doing everything we can to provide the tools necessary to respond and to help save lives," Bellone said.

When the panic button is activated, staff inside the building are immediately notified. At the same time, police officers are also given critical information to ensure a fast response.

"Floor plans, entry and exit points, emergency contact information—who are the right people to be talking to—all of that information is instant," Bellone said. "You're not scrambling around to try to put that together. It is all there instantly."

The Kings Park Central School District has 150 security cameras districtwide. Superintendent Timothy Eagen said the app is just another way to take advantage of technology and keep kids safe.

"The RAVE mobile app is the best way that we can get emergency management, first responders, Suffolk County PD, and even our own staff in the know immediately in terms of what's going on," he said.

So far 25 school districts in Suffolk County are already enrolled in the app. The county hopes to have 100 percent compliance by the start of the school year.