New Silicon Valley smartphone app to help schools facing intruders, active shooters

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Teachers at a San Jose school have a new ally to help keep their classrooms safe. It starts with an app but includes additional features to help first responders know exactly where an intruder has been discovered before they arrive.

At BrightStar Christian Academy, SafeGuard is installed on teachers' smartphones or smart watches. In a critical situation, the app speeds up communication.

CEO Mike Jacobs was able to press a color-coded button the screen of a smart watch, and within two seconds, it triggered a loud warning sound on a smartphone with the app installed. The app works with iOS and Android devices.

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Through sensors in each classroom, the alert system triangulates where the emergency is, which can be a big help to first responders.

"With this application," Jacobs said, "we're able to help them pinpoint the location of the notification first and then help them to focus their efforts where it's needed the most, and that's really important in an active shoot situation that's usually over within seven minutes."

There's a chat function so first responders, school administrators and other teachers can provide urgent details when speaking out loud might put them at risk.

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BrightStar Christian Academy's director believes this will help protect its 67 students, from toddlers to pre-schoolers.

"Their safety throughout the day from all elements is of most importance to us," said Academy Director Jacqueline Alkhaseh. "And so to have another system, another layer of protection that provides that added security is of great value."

Besides the Bay Area, the SafeGuard system has been installed in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California and the Midwest. A typical elementary school can be outfitted with SafeGuard in a half day at a projected cost of under $5,000.

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