With news of school shootings increasing in frequency around the country, we want to ensure our kids are safe when we drop them off at school. Many schools now have metal detectors, school resource officers (SROs), and other safety measures in place to prevent these tragedies from occurring. But there is one aspect of school safety that is often overlooked: radio coverage.
In schools around the country, SROs and school administrators are realizing that the wall of security around their school is missing this important brick. Poor radio coverage inside school buildings is all too common, and it leaves a gap in security that cannot be ignored.
First Responders Need Radio Coverage in School Buildings
SROs and first responders use handheld two-way radios to communicate with dispatch and to communicate with each other, but when those two-way radios can’t call for help from outside the school the response to an emergency could be slow or nonexistent. Lack of radio coverage in schools increases the risk of harm to students, faculty, and staff, even if all the other security protocols are in place.
School buildings are typically made of concrete and steel, two materials that inherently block radio frequencies. While using different materials to build schools is not a feasible option, there are other ways to increase police radio coverage in schools.
To learn more about construction materials that can block cell and radio signal (a major reason for SRO radios not working in school buildings) see our FAQ response on the topic.
How to Fix SRO Radios Not Working
The way to fix SRO radios not working in your school is not to send the radio signals through the thick materials, but around them. Emergency responder radio communications systems (ERRCS) use a series of antennas to pick up and route radio signals throughout the school, so that two-way radios will work from anywhere inside a building, even being able to communicate with other law enforcement and first responders outside of the building.
At Harris Communications we care deeply about the safety of our children and teachers. We believe every school, college, and university should understand the challenges of radio coverage in schools, and be equipped with an adequate ERRCS system that enables clear and constant emergency responder radio coverage.