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County Schools To Get Panic Alarms

District waiting for more details

A day after last month’s Sparks, NV middle school shooting, Nassau County officials announced a new panic alarm program which will allow each school in the county to connect directly to the Nassau County Police Department in case of an emergency. 

 

Despite the publicity behind this county-sponsored program, information provided to the Garden City Public School District has been scant according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen.

 

“Outside of the press release announcing the panic button initiative, the specifics of when this will take place, who will receive the devices, and the costs involved, we have received no further information,” Dr. Feirsen said.

 

“The schools in Nassau County are a safe place, and will remain a safe place,” said County Executive Ed Mangano at a press conference at Carle Place High School last month. “Our planning and communication has increased dramatically in the past few years, culminating in this very important two-way communicator, (which) is a very important step forward in protecting our students, teachers and administrators.” 

 

The county will be providing five Live Button 24 Freedom devices at no charge to any school that wishes to participate in the program. Districts will work with the police department to determine the best personnel to carry the wireless device, which is less than three inches long and can fit easily on a key chain or in a pocket.  In case of an emergency situation, someone would just have to hold the SOS button on the device for four seconds, and would instantly be connected to the police department’s communications bureau, bypassing 911 dispatch as a priority call. Equipped with a microphone and speaker, the alarm also serves as a two-way communicator. 

 

Another benefit of the Life Button 24 Freedom device is that it can provide the police department with GPS coordinates, so emergency personnel will know exactly where to go. 

 

“It acts as a cell phone, but the difference is, it automatically goes to 911’s computer system and you have a two-way line of communication and a tracking system, so (police officers) know where you are,” says Joe Ingegno, owner of Life Button. 

 

The Village of Garden City has its own police force and as such is in constant contact with the school district according to the superintendent. In addition, the board of education is constantly looking to tweak and upgrade security and safety for all of it students.

 

“We have a great relationship with the Village of Garden City Police and the Nassau County Police. Communication between the district and the police is excellent,” Dr. Feirsen explained. “We are absolutely interested in the new devices and how best to use them for the benefit of the school community. We are in the process of updating several components of our safety and security measures including the installation of additional cameras, and new classroom door locks. We are also upgrading our building-level PA systems so emergency announcements can be made from any classroom phone. We continue to work very closely with the Village and Nassau County Police to ensure that our safety procedures are state-of-the-art. Student safety is our first priority.”     

 

 “When you have a dynamic situation, getting accurate real-time information is priceless,” said First Deputy Nassau County Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter. “This allows us to respond very quickly, and provides real time intelligence that can help officers as they come to the scene.”   

 

The alarm is battery operated and must be recharged every four to five days. According to Ingegno, the button has already proven successful for other clients, such as executives, money carriers, and battered women programs, that may require emergency responders. 

 

School districts will have the option of whether or not to incorporate the panic alarms into their schools, but both Westbury and Carle Place superintendents and administrators are on board. 

 

The Life Button 24 Freedom is just one more way that school districts have amped up security in the past several years. In addition to security personnel and cameras throughout the schools, other school districts including Carle Place have joined the BOCES BoTie Network, which allows law enforcement instant access to floor plans and camera feeds. 

 

Each device costs $150, with a monthly fee of about $12. Nassau County will be able to provide them to schools for free, by discontinuing the antiquated CAPER (Criminal Activity Police Enforcement Records System) device. The Life

Button 24 Freedom device is not only being used in schools, but also in different capacities throughout the police department. 

 

“[Discontinuing CAPER] will more than offset the cost of the monthly fee for each school,” Mangano said. 

 

The police department is buying 2,000 devices and schools wishing to participate in the program would have their five panic alarm devices by the end of November.  

 

Dave Gil de Rubio contributed to this story

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In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

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Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

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Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

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