ORLANDO, Fla. – More than 900 education decision-makers from across the world -- as far away as Canada and Sweden -- converged on the Championsgate Omni Hotel and Resort in Orlando recently to take part in this year's National School Safety Conference. More than 100 of the attendees were from Florida.
Curtis Lavarello, the executive director of the School Safety Advocacy Council, said that this year's attendance was double the amount of educators who attended in years past.
The 2018 conference took place five months after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Lavarello said this year's attendance is proof that improving school security measures is a priority for education leaders, especially with Florida school districts trying to comply with the new Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Public Safety Act.
Lavarello says as a result, they've seen a huge surge in vendors showcasing ways to make campuses safer.
For a closer look at all the topics and innovations covered at the conference, visit schoolsafety911.org.
Here are 10 security devices that caught our attention at the conference:
1. Entry Shield is a metal detector that sends silent alerts through a hidden monitoring system that can fit into a school's existing points of entry. The company website says it provides complete, integrated security solutions including intrusion and isolation systems, weapons detection, video surveillance, mass notification, emergency communication and lockdowns.
2. The Night Lock Latch is a metal door latch that prevents doors from being forced open. Nightlock Lockdown 1 can withstand tremendous force up to 2,000 pounds on doors that open into the room and 1,600 pounds on a door that open out of a room. On a conventional door, an intruder or active shooter can break a door window, reach in and gain access to the doorknob to open the door --even with security mesh wire-- with Nightlock Lockdown 1, the lever is located at the floor level and it is out of reach.
3. Training Lab Simulators is a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind, school safety training program. The company behind it is committed to developing interactive training content available exclusively on its Training Lab platform that will provide a powerful tool to school administrators, school resource officers and first responders for school-safety training issues of all kinds.
4. ALETS, is an active shooter detection and notification system and gunshot sensor, it can detect sound waves from a gunshot the second it goes off and alert schools and authorities instantly - not just with GPS, but with instant pictures from the affected area.
5. The Carry On Shield is a portable, lightweight, bulletproof and stab-proof shield that can be kept in classrooms, offices and backpacks. The shield can be held in front or behind a person or folded over their head for protection.
6. Alertus is an emergency notification software. The alert beacon sounds, flashes and displays emergency notifications and can communicate with indoor, outdoor and mobile communication applications. The device is being offered at no cost to schools with limited budgets.
7. Rauland Telecenter is an intercom system that has security and access control. The system allows users to send a district-wide emergency notification. The center offers IP-addressable speakers in classrooms which communicate with a web-based user interface.
8. Report It is an anonymous tip app and website. Whether it is bullying, social media observations, security threats or suspicious activity Report It alerts the right people anonymously. The app can alert the appropriate authorities in seconds with a text message and pictures. It's already in use in some Florida resorts and schools nationwide and is currently used by ATF for gun tips.
9. Astrophysics X-Ray Scanners is designed to screen backpacks and small bags for prohibited items. The software can automatically detect firearms, knives and other threats in real time and send an automatic threat alert to administrators.
10. GEOcommand SiteAware creates graphical interface maps that can provide a one-stop point-and-click solution for emergency personnel to use during an emergency situation. Its features include emergency action plans, floor plans, pictures and other data.