Wireless panic alarms equipped with GPS that connect directly to a police dispatcher are being provided to hundreds of schools on Long Island, and administrators say they could save lives.
Each of Nassau County's 350 schools will get five of the alarm devices that can be worn around the neck, authorities announced Tuesday, a day after a student opened fire at a Nevada middle school, killing a teacher and wounding two kids before killing himself.
"I think one thing that we've learned over time is that seconds save lives," said North Merrick Superintendent David Feller. "So if the police can get to an emergency situation where there might be an active shooter or some other threat, immediately know exactly where to go because of the GPS system, why would a school not want to be part of this?"
The county is paying for the devices and the monthly service charge that comes with them, officials said.
Feller said the devices, which become two-way radios once the button is pushed, would be treated as seriously as a 911 call, and would be given only to administrators who had training.
One student said he welcomed the idea.
"Easier than running to a phone and getting stuck on the phone -- what if something happens to the phone, you know? You've got a direct call with the police department," said James Mendolia, 16. "It's safer, easier, quicker."
The county did not say what the program will cost.
--Greg Cergol contributed to this story