It started off as most teachers' worst nightmare.
In 2014, a music teacher at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton discovered an intruder hiding under her desk. She wasn't able to easily communicate with senior management to put the school into lockdown for risk of aggravating the intruder.
Fortunately, another teacher, who was a former police officer, walked in and was able to take control of the situation until police arrived.
This event could have ended differently, so St Paul's Collegiate's teachers came together to highlight a common vulnerability in every school's emergency lockdown process.
Iain Rudkin, a 4th year technology teacher at the School, came up with the idea for a Lockdown app, which allows a teacher to alert a senior manager to a potentially dangerous situation in the school within seconds of it occurring.
Rudkin designed the app to be as simple as possible to use.
The first staff member to identify a potential situation opens the Lockdown app on their mobile phone and pushes the panic button which instantly alerts the school’s senior managers. The senior manager can then put the school into lockdown by holding their screen for three seconds.
Once activated, the App notifies all staff by push notification, email and text message alerting all the teachers (and students if required), minimising the time it takes to secure the classrooms i.e. shut and lock doors and windows and make sure the students are safe by getting them out of line of sight. The app can even integrate with some School alarm systems to trigger the School Alarm bell when a Lockdown is activated.
The senior manager, who in pre-mobile days would have had to walk around the school to see doors were locked and potentially putting themselves at risk, can now view, via the app, relevant information and photos taken by the staff members’ phones by clicking the View Pictures tab.
Staff can all communicate with each other via the app so that everyone is up to date with the situation.
Once it has been established that there is no longer a threat to the school, the warden can give the all-clear and take the school out of lockdown.
The App is currently being used effectively in the U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.