Newton schools to receive emergency panic pendants

COVINGTON – Schools in Newton County will soon be outfitted with an easy way to call for help in the event of an emergency.

The Newton County Board of Education approved the purchase of panic transmitter devices for all school system buildings during its public meeting Tuesday evening. The cost of the project is estimated at $57,150.

The pendants, which look very similar to those of a Life Alert emergency response pendant, can be worn around an employee’s neck and will be purchased from Conyers-based Banner Security Systems Inc. According to Jan Loomans, director of operational services for the Newton County School System, each school will be provided with a minimum of two pendant transmitters, and each school’s administrator or principal will decide which staff members will wear them.

“It increases our safety and safety monitoring systems we are implementing throughout the district,” said Loomans.

These pendants are to be used in emergency situations, such as in the event of a school intruder, and will allow for police to be sent to the school without an employee having to pick up the phone and dial 911. Once the transmitter’s panic button is pushed, a signal is immediately sent to Banner’s central monitoring station. From there, Banner will contact Newton County 911, which will dispatch the appropriate authorities, depending on where the initial signal originated.

NCSS teachers currently utilize a system called VIEWPath, which allows them to immediately contact the administration office from their classrooms via a panic button. However, with the Banner pendants, teachers would be able to have a signal sent to the police immediately, without first having to go through the school’s administration.

These panic pendants will integrate directly with the school system’s fire and intrusion alarm system, which is also monitored by Banner.