Long Island Following Suit on Caputo Proposal to Install Panic Alarms in Schools

Assemblyman Points to Nassau County Decision as Proof that Move is Right for NJ

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) on Wednesday pointed to the decision this week by Nassau County, NY officials to install panic alarms in all public schools as further proof that his legislation making its way through the Assembly is the right move for New Jersey.

Caputo introduced the bill in January in the wake of the devastating shootings in Newtown, CT. The bill (A-3691), which has since been approved by the Assembly Education Committee, would require public elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey to be equipped with a panic alarm and red emergency light for use in a school security emergency.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to school security emergencies,” said Caputo. “We’ve seen too many heartbreaking situations where a few seconds can mean the difference in the number of lives saved. Nassau County’s action is further proof that this is a good idea. It’s commonplace technology and something that should be done to better protect our children.”

The bill defines a panic alarm as a silent security system signal that can be manually activated to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation that requires a response from law enforcement. The alarm would not be audible inside the school facility, and would be in addition to – not replace – existing security systems.

Besides the panic alarm, the bill requires all public and secondary schools be equipped with a red emergency light that is affixed to the exterior of the school building in a highly visible location above or near the front entrance. The light would be linked to the school’s panic alarm so that it turns on when the alarm is activated.

“These are simple steps we can take to bolster school security and prompt an even quicker response from law enforcement,” Caputo said. “Anything we can do to make our children safer is quite simply the right thing to do.”