Illinois Schools Install Blue Box Emergency Alarms for Active Shooters

The BluePoint alarm boxes resemble fire alarms and, if activated, will notify law enforcement of the emergency. (Photo: BluePoint)

Over 20 Illinois private schools have installed emergency alarms that notify police in the event of an active shooter, according to the Chicago Tribune. The blue boxes were installed over the summer as parents and administrators worry about the mass murders that took place in Parkland and Santa Fe last year.

“[Parents] really, sadly, are aware of this possibility,” said Rachel Gemo, head of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Chicago’s North Side. “They are not immune to what they hear on TV.”

The system was developed by a company called BluePoint Alert Solutions and works like the fire alarm systems students are already familiar with. The light blue box is stamped with the word “Police” and includes a pull-down handle to notify authorities in case of an emergency.

Even though most teachers, administrators, and students have cell phones, BluePoint says their system saves precious seconds that might be wasted fumbling with a phone. In addition, the BluePoint system includes building alerts that notify occupants of danger.

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“The faster building occupants can take preventative or defensive measures, the more likely a threat can be minimized,” the company says on its website. “Also, in a panic situation, people do not react or think as rationally as in a non-panic situation. Having to dial even three numbers and provide coherent information that can be understood by the emergency dispatch attendant takes precious seconds before first responders are dispatched to the site.”

Whether or not the system can actually save lives in a mass murder scenario, the little blue boxes have helped students and parents feel better as the new school year begins.

“I feel a lot safer than I used to,” Henry Klucznik, a 10-year-old student at St. Benedict’s, told the Tribune. He said the closest box to him during the school day is right down the hall — “two to three seconds” away if he’s running.

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His mother, Molly Klucznik, agreed.

“With all these examples across the country, you hope and pray it doesn’t happen to you and your school,” Klucznik said. “I really hope we never have to use (the alarm system), but it’s nice to be prepared.”

Despite the media narrative, school shootings have declined since the 1990s. A study from earlier this year found that schools are safer than they were in three decades ago, and others have noted that schools are, in general, the safest place kids can be.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Terry Constance September 23, 2018, 8:10 am

    Another dumb idea.
    Spend the $ on a superior weapon to be in the possession of a trained carrier on site.

  • Morris Jaskula September 21, 2018, 11:20 am

    gee–I wonder what politicians family member own the blue box company.
    These are worthless boxes of “FEEL GOOD FLUF”
    TRAINED GUN CARRYING TEACHER ,EX MILITARY AND OFF DUTY POLICE OFFICERS ARE WHAT IS NEEDED NOT SOME FANCY LITTLE BOX ON THE WALL.

  • Retrocon September 21, 2018, 10:35 am

    Let’s hope the active shooter remembers to pull it… 10 minutes before he starts shooting.

    “He?” What, was that sexist?

  • Rip September 21, 2018, 9:34 am

    They’ll get there just in time to pick up the dead.

  • krinkov545 September 21, 2018, 8:57 am

    The law will get there in time to outline the bodies and fill out reports.

  • Jay September 21, 2018, 8:28 am

    No hope like false hope to calm the hoplophobics! When your life is seconds away from ending, help is 15-20 minutes away!

  • Tessa Pegram September 21, 2018, 8:09 am

    How many times do you think these will get pulled as a prank? Maybe it was just the school I went to but that fire alarm was always getting pulled. Especially when there was about to be a test.

  • John O'Donnell September 21, 2018, 5:07 am

    More PC fluff. The shooting stops when a second gun arrives and this will not do it. Resource officers are on scene all the time and they are armed. Metal detectors at entries will also reduce the risk of weapons in schools.

    • Eric Stevenson September 21, 2018, 3:25 pm

      Metal detectors slow down the crowds trying to get into schools making the entries a soft target in the mornings. If a student wants to get a firearm into a school with metal detectors they throw it over the fence and walk out and get it once they have gone through the metal detectors. Hell, I always had my 30-30 Winchester in my back window of my truck in the school parking lot. I used to hunt in the woods next to my HS during lunch time. Guns are not the problem in America, Absent parents, drugs and alcohol, the inability to truly punish your children, violent video games, lack of morals and ethics, and most importantly the removal of God from public and public education system. We are allowing our children to be raised by television and video games and we wonder why they cannot understand or care about what is right or wrong.

  • DaBears September 21, 2018, 4:26 am

    I guess response time will depends on how prior shootings and homocides they are dealing with that day, seems like the strict gun laws Chicago has really keeps criminals from violating gun laws.

    Sure hope.that the blue box pull alarms have dye markers and are silent alarms – cause HS kids never pull fire alarms –

    Can you imagine the panic and resulting chaos from a false/prank alarm. I can imagine the CERT/SWAT team response and all the new HSA funded toys they are itching to use.

    Somehow this seems like a really bad idea –

  • Dr Motown September 19, 2018, 1:11 pm

    The average mass shooting is over within 3-5 minutes….how long before CPD arrive? How long before they actually go in?

    • Tessa Pegram September 21, 2018, 8:11 am

      My guess is about an hour and they pay themselves on the back for all the lives they saved.

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