Waxahachie ISD has fully implemented advanced security technology to better communicate in times of crisis. The DIR-S Alert System, provided by BAT Security, is a platform for emergency situations that connects teachers, administrators, and first responders, and enables them to instantly and directly communicate with one another. The Disaster Incident Report and Security (DIR-S) system is a software application customizable to allow management of emergencies and provides the maximum amount of time to respond and communicate.
DIR-S technology empowers first responders to monitor multiple locations with multiple emergencies from a desktop, laptop, patrol car, or smartphone. The technology also creates situational awareness for district staff as they can send an alert with a click of a button, document attendance, and receive or send communication with teachers, administration, and first responders.
While using the software, staff can document whether they are safe or not, note their location with interactive, detailed maps, request medical help, and live-chat with individuals or groups. The DIR-S app can communicate an array of events like dangerous people on or around campus, what to do during a natural disaster, or if a building is damaged.
Wilemon STEAM Academy Assistant Principal Karin Polk explained how the DIR-S system has made a positive impact on campus by giving staff members the ability to quickly and instantly notify all staff of an emergency.
“We recently had a situation where local law enforcement was able to put us in ‘Secure’ mode through the DIR-S system, due to an incident in the vicinity surrounding our campus,” Polk said. “This allowed us to quickly follow our district procedures, as well as get details on the event in real-time from the Waxahachie Police Department through the DIR-S app. The DIR-S system has positively enhanced our current protocols.”
Heightened communication was a top initiative of the 2017-18 crisis management team. The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees underscored its commitment to the safety of all students with the adoption of the district’s 13-point security plan on August 6, 2018, which noted the planned implementation of a communications system for crisis management. This initiative was fully funded by the 2019-2021 School Safety and Security Grant through the Texas Education Agency.
WISD Supervisor of Safety and Security Lt. Joshua Oliver inherited the crisis management communication initiative and was responsible for training district staff. Oliver noted that BAT Security has been a proven provider for security technology in Ellis County for almost 20 years.
“There were other options available to us, but to have a service provider in our town with such a good reputation for customer service, they were by far the best option for WISD,” Oliver emphasized.
All campus employees have been fully trained in using the DIR-S application.