In Penn., Panic Alarms Sought for County Schools

660 schools to get the panic alarms, at a cost of less than $1 million

County Public Safety Director Thomas M. Sullivan said committees would be formed consisting of school district officials and police chiefs to decide how exactly panic button alerts should be handled.

Upper Gwynedd Police Chief Robert Freed said police already have protocols in place regarding response to bank silent alarms. Similar protocols would have to be established for response to schools.

"This is cutting-edge," Freed said.

Lansdale Borough Police Chief Joe McGuriman said the first step would be for "numerous" officers to respond to a silent alarm. Beyond that, some method would have to be established for the police to figure out exactly what was going on in the school.

"It's a brand new program," McGuriman said. "We're being told as you're being told."

Diane Marczely Gimpel is a freelance writer.