Viking Electronics Warns Public and Private Schools About Weaknesses in Their Emergency Communication Strategies

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Advises public and private schools to implement the types of emergency communications gear already in use by all large commercial buildings and college campuses.

hallway emergency phone

Locate emergency phones next to fire alarm stations in hallways, lunch rooms,gymnasiums, locker rooms, pool areas, auditoriums, and any other areas where students and faculty congregate.

“Relying on student and teacher owned cell phones to contact emergency operators isn’t a security strategy at all—it’s a lack of strategy that delays emergency responders,”

Viking Electronics Hudson, WI. Shootings and violent acts at public and private schools are on the rise. In response, schools have begun fortifying entrances to prevent unauthorized intrusions. That’s a good first step, but according to the company that specializes in emergency communications gear it’s not enough.

According to Viking Electronics, Hudson, WI, the evidence from past school shootings shows that the faster police ascertain the location of the shooter, the faster the incident comes to a close. So prompt emergency notification and clear location information is the key to reducing injuries and deaths. The evidence also shows that because schools aren’t equipped with emergency phones in hallways and other non-classroom areas, students and teachers are forced to call for help on their privately owned cell phones. In a lockdown situation, classroom landline telephones are simply unavailable to students, staff, and teachers who are trapped in hallways, gymnasiums, cafeterias, or locker rooms. Many school districts even require students to turn off their cell phones in a lockdown situation to prevent dissemination of information that could interfere with emergency responders’ efforts. Regardless of the district policies, Viking Electronics believes that relying on student and teacher owned cell phones to make the initial contact with emergency responders isn’t a security strategy at all—it’s a lack of strategy that delays emergency responders,” he adds.

Large commercial buildings and college campuses have been installing emergency phones and mass notification announcers for decades. Find emergency phones in every elevator, hallway, parking ramps, outdoor pathways, and areas of refuge. But the practice hasn’t caught on in public and private schools, leaving a gaping void in school security at a time of increased risk. Viking Electronics advises public and private elementary, middle, and secondary schools to revise their current emergency communications strategies to include the implementation of emergency phones and mass notifications announcers in every building.

Emergency communications: Cell Phone versus Emergency Phones

It’s common knowledge that cell phone signal strength can vary substantially within a large building. So even if a student or teacher manages to connect with emergency operators on their cell phone, the caller can just as easily drop the call by moving a few feet. Or, the call may connect but have such poor voice quality that the caller has to constantly repeat their information, making cell phone communication the least reliable communications method during a life threatening emergency.

Emergency phones eliminate all those issues. Students and teachers can initiate an emergency call with the push of a button. The emergency phone dials into emergency operators and immediately communicates the caller’s exact location within the building (Example of digital voice announcement at beginning of call: “This is an emergency call from Stanton High School, first floor main auditorium, north end of building"). That location identification feature alone saves precious time for emergency operators. In addition, since emergency phones are hard wired into the school’s phone system they provide maximum call clarity, totally eliminating all the call breakup, call dropping, and low battery issues inherent in cell phone communications. Emergency phones provide hands free communication, so the caller can take cover and continue talking with emergency operators within a 10-ft radius (depending on background noise levels). As part of a broader security policy, school administrators would provide emergency personnel with the phone number for every emergency phone in the building at the time of installation. Emergency responders can then call into any emergency phone in the building and monitor the activity in those areas. That features gives police and emergency responders another tool to monitor and track a fast moving shooting situation.

Viking Electronics recommends placing emergency phones next to existing fire pull stations in hallways, lunch rooms, libraries, gymnasiums, locker rooms, pool areas, auditoriums, lobbies, lounges, parking lots, and any other areas where students and faculty may congregate.

In addition to emergency phones, Viking Electronics also recommends the installation of a mass notification announcer. These devices broadcast pre-recorded emergency instructions and alert tones throughout the building. School administrators can activate the emergency messages from a button in the main office, from any phone in the building (in case they’re away from the main office) or by calling into the device from an outside phone. The emergency messages and alert tones inform staff, and teachers to take cover, evacuate, move to a specified area, or announce an “all clear.”

Emergency phones and mass notification announcers are available from all major telecommunications providers and can be installed by security and telecommunications contractors.

For more information on emergency phones, mass notification announcers, and building access controls for schools, visit

To arrange an interview with a Viking Electronics representative or obtain additional information about Viking Electronics Inc, contact:

Carol Lieb
Viking Electronics Inc.

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Rick Muscoplat
Raydan & Richards Inc
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