According to FBI.gov, between 2000 and 2017 there were 250 active shooter incidents in the U.S.
20.8 percent of those were in educational settings.
"Every school is required to have some sort of emergency plan, and more and more they're starting to realize that communication is one of the biggest issues they have when it comes to initiating alerts," said Jeremy Boutot, software developer and head of product for Vigilance Software.
Vigilance Software is hoping to change that. The software company provides an emergency alert system for businesses and schools. Norris Inc. established Vigilance about three years ago.
According to Joshua Delano, CTO of Vigilance Software, the average response time for police in the U.S. is about ten minutes, and three minutes if they know it's an active shooter situation. He says this app allows staff to be prepared.
"During that window, they're concerned about coordination with their their staff, their SRO, their administration and how do we respond to this threat," said Delano.
They say it's like having a panic button in your pocket. Teachers and faculty will have the Vigilance App on their phone. They select the type of alert and if there's time, write a message. Then hit send.
"In a matter of seconds everyone that's around them will have an alert that will flash up on their computer. They'll start receiving mobile notifications on their phone," said Boutot.
He says staff can continue to alert each other.
"In real time communication and from where this situation is happening, you can chat to know exactly what's going on", said Boutot.
The system not only allows alerts to be sent through several platforms, but it can also help secure rooms.
"As soon as you push that alert button, and you send that off, that's when it would start the automated process of locking down the doors," said Boutot.
He says it could also drop fire doors and send a recording over the intercom.
The cost depends on what services schools or businesses want. Some schools in southern Maine have the software. We've reached out to several districts in this area, and they've refused to comment on the application.