Schools Will Test New Wi-Fi System for School Shootings and Other Emergencies

Jul 25, 2016

Three Iowa school districts will test out a new program to provide first responders with better information in the event of a school shooting or other emergency.   

The program is dubbed WISE, for Wi-Fi Internet for School Emergencies.

Under the pilot project, a dedicated wi-fi network will link law enforcement officials with school surveillance cameras in Marshalltown, Norwalk, and Martensdale-Saint Mary's Community Schools.  

Iowa Department of Public Safety Director Roxanne Ryan says in an active shooter situation viewing surveillance cameras is extremely important. 

“It’s going to be able to tell us where the individual is,” Ryan says. “So for the first responders if they can tell where the danger is they can stay safer and they'll be able to keep the children from danger as well.”

Under the program, the wi-fi network will allow first responders to upload and download information from a school directly to an emergency vehicle.    

“There may be opportunities to communicate with people within the school,” Ryan says.

Wi-fi vendors Aruba, Cisco, and Fortinet will connect the schools to local first responders in the three districts free of charge using the state fiber optics network known as the ICN as the backbone.  

The DPS hopes to eventually expand the project to other schools that have the applicable surveillance systems in place.