A regional educational support network has received a $22,200 grant to buy 122 hand-held radios to be distributed among 44 area schools in an effort to improve safety.
The two-way radios will allow staff members to have direct communication with school offices, which is convenient and can save time in a crisis, said Kathy Morris, safe-school coordinator for San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services, in a news release.
It makes more sense for a physical education teacher to contact the main office via a two-way radio than to send a student running to the office if a student is injured on the field, she said.
Likewise, it saves time if a custodian can notify the office via a walkie-talkie versus having to locate a phone on campus to report an armed stranger on campus, she said.
“In reality, school personnel are first responders to emergencies as well as day-to-day incidents while working in the course and scope of their jobs,” Morris said.
Phones have long been the typical tool used by schools when communicating during an emergency, she said. But phones are limiting, she said, because phone calls are always one-to-one. Hand-held radios offer one-to-many communications, meaning one person can quickly and effectively communicate a message to many school employees.
All Durango schools, except the high school, which already has a working system, and all Ignacio and Bayfield schools will receive the new radios.
San Juan BOCES received the grant through Southwest All-Hazards Advisory Council, a Homeland Security extension that supports school safety.