Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our schools are changing!

The things that worked just a few years ago don’t work anymore! Many school systems still have no efficient way to communicate with buses and it often takes an emergency to initiate change.

An example is the Cherokee County Alabama School System. It was only a few years ago that they used cell phones to communicate with bus drivers. The problem was that drivers used the cell phones for personal use which distracted them for focusing their full attention on the transportation of their valuable cargo. Additionally, the cell phones did not work in rural areas, and then, there was the issue of continuing expense. No one thought of making any changes UNTIL a bus was fired upon in a rural area. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities, but the need was clearly demonstrated that a better communications system was required! After a one time purchase expense (funded by a special appropriation through the State of Alabama), the continuing expense ended and there were no more communications problems.

More recently, portable 2-way radios have been added for administrative use in loading buses and general activities within the schools. This added capability allows administrators to communicate with staff and bus drivers as required – a significant benefit for all concerned, but one of the greatest potential benefits had yet to be discovered!

The new generation of portable radios, such as the MotoTRBO series by Motorola are ideally suited for administrative use since they have the ability to talk with drivers and staff in the normal analog mode. Additionally, they can operate in a digital encrypted mode that provides private communications between Principals, Assistant Principals, the Superintendents office and other administrative personnel.

Not only do these new radios have the ability to communicate in clear or encrypted voice, they can also operate in the text mode. Text messages can be sent to all MotoTRBO users, a select group, or even between individuals in complete privacy without disturbing others.

One of the unforeseen benefits of these dual function communicators is the ability to provide emergency communications when the regular phones are tied up (as is often the case when there are severe weather conditions). Many schools have limited telephone lines. Any type of irregularity can virtually shut down the ability for the Superintendents’s office or the Transportation Supervisor to get through to school administrators. The MotoTRBO radios used by supervisory personnel and school administrators have provided a simple and efficient solution with no associated monthly costs.

Additional information is available from Joy King of Falcon Direct at 800.489.2611 or by email to Joy@falcondirect.com. For additional information on our communications products or other services for schools, please visit www.safeschools.us.