When a student can see that a teacher or staff member is connected by the push of a button to first responders, it gives students and staff extra assurance.—Patrick Haase, Building Safe application inventor
By Kathleen Swift
They say necessity is the mother of innovation, but for Patrick Haase, it was the experience of others that motivated him to innovation.
“When I was in high school, we had different drills throughout the year for fire, tornado and intruders,” said Haase. “During an intruder drill, we would go on lock down, but the principal would go down the hall and open the doors to the rooms to get a note that had a student count on it. There were no windows on the doors, so in a real situation, how would the teacher know it really was the principal and not the intruder at the door? I started looking at what was missing in the situation and started to build my app for smart phones, that I called Building Safe.”
Haase, who is now 19 and a criminal justice major at Crowder College, is mostly self-taught when it comes to building apps.
“I had some classes in high school and started my design, but I watched You Tube and taught myself, too. My app, Building Safe, is currently being used in two school systems: Baxter Springs, Kansas, and Aurora, Missouri. Safety is important to me. When you are a student, it can be scary when you see school shootings on television. When a student can see that a teacher or staff member is connected by the push of a button to first responders, it gives students and staff extra assurance.”
The app is designed to instantly alert school faculty, staff and first responders to a number of emergencies.
“Once you initially log on to the app, you don’t have to remember a password. You open Building Safe and within seconds, at the push of a button, everyone in a school can be notified of an emergency. My app also connects staff to first responders. There are six emergency situations to choose from: evacuation, soft lock down, intruder lock down, panic, severe weather, and medical emergency. The app shows the status of all staff members and their exact location during an emergency.”
Haase said the app, which was launched in February 2019, has already been used for a medical emergency.
“A student had a medical emergency, the staff member pushed the button, and the first responders were there in 4 minutes.
“What makes Building Safe unique is that it is not a cookie-cutter app. I can customize it, and I am in the area and can update the app as needed. It is very user friendly, and the app has a drill mode so that only staff and administration get the alert. We don’t want first responders arriving unless it is a real emergency. We can set the app up to notify a whole district or individual school buildings. We can customize for any size school district.”
Haase said more area schools are looking at his Building Safe app.
“We think we will have four or five others on board by fall. Although I work and go to school full-time, I also have an employee who is always available to answer questions. I see Building Safe growing in the next few years. I didn’t think about making money when I developed the app. I wanted to make students feel safe knowing their teachers and administrators had a way to communicate through their phones. I wanted them to know their building was safe.”