Sep 25, 2017
The Push of a Button

This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Training & Conditioning.

When a baseball player collapsed on the diamond at Benton (Ark.) High School last spring, an emergency action plan was activated within seconds, and the young man’s life was saved. Heroes included medical personnel, coaches, and administrators — as well as an app on their cell phones.

The app is called the Rave Panic Button, and it expedites emergency management plans by immediately notifying potential responders. With one click, necessary personnel are alerted, and everyone can do their part without missing a beat.

At Benton, as soon as the baseball coaches realized they had a medical emergency, they pulled out their phones. One coach called school Athletic Trainer T.J. White, MS, ATC/L, and the other called 911. Because the second coach had downloaded the Rave Panic Button, dispatch was able to identify exactly where the incident occurred and send a medical emergency notification through the app.

“Besides the phone call I received, the app alerted me, the medical staff, and administrators on campus and got everyone involved as quickly as possible,” says White. “By the time the ambulance arrived, all of our central office administrators were on site, as well as the three assistant superintendents, the superintendent, the athletic director, and the high school, junior high, and middle school principals.”

In addition, the app alerted campus police, who were able to open up a path for the ambulance to get to the athlete. This was a key factor in the timely response, since the incident happened at the end of the school day when traffic was thick around school grounds, and the athlete was suffering from arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia.

“With an emergency like that, timing is very important,” says White. “The longer the athlete went without oxygen, the greater risk he faced for long-term effects. Having advanced care on scene quickly saved his life.”

The Rave Panic Button is a free download for both iPhone and Android devices, although the app setup fee varies. When the app is installed on a campus, a perimeter area is designated around the school. Cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses for necessary personnel are then registered, and they are encouraged to download the app. If a staff member’s phone cannot support the app, they can still sign up to receive text messages and e-mail notifications during emergencies.

When needed, the Rave Panic Button can be used in two ways. One option is to dial 911 within the app’s perimeter. Often, dispatch centers will be able to determine the location of the caller on campus and send out emergency notifications through the app to the school’s designated list of individuals.

A staff member can also activate the app by clicking one of five scenarios listed on the home screen-active shooter, fire, police, medical, and other. This will issue an alert to the designated personnel for the chosen option while connecting the staff member with a 911 operator.

Either way, the app’s notifications help decrease the confusion that can ensue in a crisis. In the case at Benton, White was able to get to the field 20 seconds after being alerted by the app. He then worked with the coaches to give the athlete CPR and used an automated external defibrillator until the ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. The player is alive and well today.

“The Rave Panic Button definitely made a difference in this young man’s life,” says White. “It alerted several people across campus, allowing us to speed up the process of getting him from the field to the hospital.”

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