Creators of Safeguard OES app hope to save lives during school emergencies

SEATTLE -- The creators of a new app are hoping technology can keep students and teachers safe during an emergency.

For Steve Foster and Mike Jacobs, seeing one tragedy was enough.

"I'm from Colorado and when we saw Columbine happening, this is a situation where we said there should be a way to be addressed with the technology that we have today," said Foster, who is Safeguard's chief marketing officer.

They've addressed it by creating an app called Safeguard OES,  which stands for "operations of emergency services." And the idea for the app is simple,
keep communication open between school staff and first responders during an emergency.

"That means having the right specific level of information from a location perspective. In other words, where is the issue occurring at a school ... what room is it happening," said Foster.

If there's an emergency, a school staff member can open up the app and is immediately in communication with emergency managers.

"You have a few different options to choose from, in terms of communicating their status if there's an emergency. You have stable, unstable, assistance needed or medical emergency," said Safeguard OES, CEO Mike Jacobs, giving us a demonstration.

Not only do first responders see what kind of emergency is happening in real time, but even more critically, it pinpoints the location on campus where assistance is needed.

"They can then go to a map view, which will show them exactly where it is on campus," said Jacobs.

And if a first responder is unfamiliar with the campus, it can even provide directions. Jacobs said that type of communication and information is key, especially during active shooter situations.

"They're almost going in blind because they don't know where the shooter's at. He could be around the corner. He could be behind them for all they know," said Jacobs.

Along with Safeguard OES, they've also developed a secondary app called Mindguard. This is an app specifically for students. The app connects students with counselors at any hour of the day, if they need one.

They tell us many schools and businesses in the Puget Sound and Silicon Valley have shown interest in this app. Main development of the app is done in Palo Alto, Calif., but the company recently opened an office in Kirkland.  The goal is to have the app available by the end of the month.