Miamisburg’s new school safety devices detect smoke, shots, cries for help

Miamisburg’s school district is installing devices aimed at adding an additional layer of security for students and staff.

Superintendent Laura Blessing said 45 HALO Smart Sensors recently were installed in bathrooms and lockers rooms in the middle school and high school this summer. The devices, which resemble smoke detectors, can detect vapor, smoke, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, THC or tampering, and they also recognize anyone requiring help, Blessing said.

“If someone is in a restroom, and they’re in need of assistance, they can say, ‘Call 911,′ or, ‘Help!’ and they know that that plea can be heard,” she said.

In addition, if a gunshot is detected, it is recorded automatically, and law enforcement and the school district are immediately alerted, Blessing said.

“For us, it’s a layered approach and we feel like that with anything new ... whether it be a initiative or an equipment purchase ... that we’re just layering on what we already have been doing just to continually update and advance our security protocols,” she said.

The HALO Smart Sensors are in their pilot year through a local vendor, Blessing said.

An additional tool coming to every classroom in all schools is Nightlock, which barricades the door while students and staffers shelter in place during emergency lockdown or active shooter events.

The district applied for a Ohio Facilities Construction Commission grant for those upgrades at all schools last December and received $56,000 in funding, which covered the cost for every building except the high school. The district plans to apply again for funds.

Also recently completed is a security upgrade that gives Miamisburg Police Department, Miami Twp. Police Department and Miami Valley Fire District immediate access to the district’s schools with key fobs and swipe cards, Blessing said.

Each HALO sensor costs about $1,800, a price paid by the district’s Permanent Improvement Fund and by Miamisburg’s Middle School PTA, which donated some money toward purchase of the devices, she said.

Additional grant money the district is seeking will be for upgrades to its key fob system and having some remote access keypads installed, replacing some radios, upgrading security cameras and any additional Nightlocks that may be needed following the initial installation, Blessing said.

In addition to devices, the district also takes other measures aimed at boosting school security, including having safety plans and drills, Blessing said. This summer, Miamisburg Police Department carried out active shooter training at the high school for its officers, she said.

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