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How four Swedish schools secured their future

The number of security incidents in schools is increasing across Europe. As a result, more and more schools and municipalities are working to improve safety and security. The City of Gothenburg is putting safety in focus by upgrading its security solution in four of their schools. This way, the right people get the right information at the right time.

In short

  • Customer: Gothenburg City
  • Background: Threats and violent altercations are on the rise in schools all over Europe.
  • Need: To spread information quickly in case of certain events.
  • Solution: AddSecure School Safety with a series of components that enables school staff to communicate quickly through several channels, like mobile apps, pagers, personal alarms, digital radio, information screens and predefined voice messages.
  • Result: Right information to the right people and the right time.

The City of Gothenburg takes safety and security seriously, and has therefore chosen to upgrade its security and communications systems at several of their schools.

Skånegatan, Gothenburg is home to three secondary schools that have chosen to upgrade their security and communication channels – Bernadottegymnasiet, Burgårdens Gymnasium and Katrinelundsgymnasiet. A fourth, Motorbranschens Tekniska Gymnasium, is also part of  the project.

These schools are not alone, as 70% of Swedish municipalities report having increased the security of their schools for the last few years. However, this usually entails more traditional measures like cameras, access control or alarms. There’s still very few schools with a critical communications system as up-to-date as these four in Gothenburg.

The issue at hand

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden, and the three original schools involved in the project are placed right in the middle of it. They count 3300 students and teachers all together – which places quite a strain on organization, communication and, yes, safety.

While in no way unique to the schools in question, threats and violent altercations are on the rise in schools all over Europe. This means fast communication is essential if you’re going to curb incidents before they get out of hand. If you can handle these smaller incidents quickly, you can often prevent them from escalating into serious violence.

Anders Ekman works as Service Manager for the schools in question, and was responsible for negotiating the deal with AddSecure and headed the project from the municipality’s end. He elaborates on the issues that made them seek a new solution in the first place:

“We’re always working on safety and security in our schools, and we saw a need for spreading information quickly in case of certain events. We needed to update our communication in a simple way, whether that’s fire alarms or communication between teachers or safety team members in a crisis.”

AddSecure’s School Safety solution

Ekman explains how the schools looked at different possible vendors, but quickly landed on AddSecure’s comprehensive communication system:

“We felt that AddSecure’s system, while easy to use, also had a more future oriented perspective. They’re ahead of the technology, and lets us combine many different systems digitally. The competitors’ solutions felt a lot more conventional.”

AddSecure School Safety addresses all kinds of scenarios: A teacher feeling unsafe and needing backup, keeping count of students in case of fire, or even notifying us if a cooler stops working in the cantina. It’s all these different small parts that add up to make the system so useful.

Anders Ekman, Service Manager

A proven solution

AddSecure School Safety is a series of components that enables school staff to communicate quickly through several channels, like mobile apps, pagers, personal alarms, digital radio, information screens and predefined voice messages. The pagers are an essential addition to the phone app, that ensures you’ll always be able to reach the right people, even if your cell phone has no charge or the mobile network is under strain – a common problem during a crisis. An entire new paging network has been set up across all four schools, to warn the others if something were to happen, and prevent visits until the situation is resolved. The system may also communicate with emergency networks and various alarm centrals.

The entire AddSecure School Safety solution is actually a modified version of a system that’s been well proven in operation for many years. It’s in use for 70% of the Swedish Fire Department, The Swedish Sea Rescue Society (its paging network spanning an incredible 4000 kilometers), as well as several shopping malls, arenas etc.

Ekman adds:
“AddSecure School Safety addresses all kinds of scenarios: A teacher feeling unsafe and needing backup, keeping count of students in case of fire, or even notifying us if a cooler stops working in the cantina. It’s all these different small parts that add up to make the system so useful.”

The road ahead

While AddSecure delivers the technology, it’s up to each school to develop routines for using it, albeit with some advice from AddSecure. It’s vital that AddSecure School Safety is a regular part of the teachers’ and other staff’s routine, to ensure they’ll also have an easy and intuitive time using it in case of a larger emergency.

The entire network is built in a way that allows flexibility and easy scalability both within the schools, as well as when other schools are added to the project. To put it succinctly, it’s built both to last and to grow.

Ekman says he has no complaints about the project whatsoever:

“It’s been an utterly problem free process, and very professional. AddSecure has offered great solutions for our original problems, as well as pointing out several other opportunities we hadn’t thought of ourselves. It will reduce our workload considerably.”