Safety for schools

Safepro provides buildings with technology for emergencies

Paul+Eckert+the+Founder+and+CEO+of+Safepro+Technologies+stands+for+a+photo+next+to+a+proof+of%0Aconcept+prototype+of+the+Soteria+System+for+emergency+evacuation%2C+inside+the+Innovation+Center%0Aat+Whitewater+University+Technology+Park.

Dane Sheehan

Paul Eckert the Founder and CEO of Safepro Technologies stands for a photo next to a proof of concept prototype of the Soteria System for emergency evacuation, inside the Innovation Center at Whitewater University Technology Park.

Hannah Avdic, Business and Technology Editor

A surge in active shooter cases has the country talking about how to prevent gun violence. Many feel that actions need to be taken to help protect citizens from active shooters. The recent shooting in Oconomowoc made the founder of Safepro technologies Paul Eckert realize that he needs to keep pushing forward with his system’s development and marketing.

According to Eckert, there are several alarming statistics about active shooter events: the average response time for first responders is 4-11 minutes, 70 percent of active shooter incidents occurred in either business or educational environments, and that a fatality occurs every seven seconds.

Eckert is passionate about protecting citizens from emergencies. With a background in law enforcement, Eckert understands the severity of active shooters in schools and he’s developed a technology to guide innocent bystanders away from danger. 

“I’ve been working on this for so long. It’s my passion. It’s kind of hard to wake up and to go bed thinking about active shooters and how to save people. I want this out there so bad,” states Eckert.

He understands that there is no immediate help for innocent bystanders in these types of events. The Soteria system was invented to save lives through safe separation.

The green arrows of the Soteria System proof of concept prototype are seen laser projected onto
a wall inside the Innovation Center at Whitewater University Technology Park, as a way to guide
people during the event of an emergency evacuation. (Dane Sheehan)

“Paul has demonstrated what I like to see in every entrepreneur, passion and follow through! The Safepro Technologies System, to my knowledge, is the only system being developed to actively direct potential victims, at the moment, away from the threat and direct law enforcement toward the active shooter to minimize casualties to the greatest extent possible. Personally, I would feel a greater degree of comfort knowing that when my family goes to work or school each day that there is a better chance of them returning home safely because the SafePro Technologies System is installed,” says executive director of the innovation center Mark Johnson.

The Soteria system can be installed in schools, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and other buildings. When an active shooter enters the building and fires the first shot, the system is activated. Typical shot detection systems relay the message to the police department and first responders are sent out. The Soteria system reacts immediately for the moments before first responders arrive.

Digital signs are then displayed on the building’s walls or floors, either showing a red X or green arrows. The red X tells students and staff that they would be in danger if they went that way. The green arrows guide students and staff to safer areas of the building. 

“The human brain doesn’t function well under stress, even the brains of tactical professionals because we just don’t have enough training,” explains Eckert.

The green laser projected arrows of the Soteria System proof of concept prototype illuminate a
wall inside the Innovation Center, as Founder and CEO of Safepro Technologies Paul Eckert
makes his way down the hall. (Dane Sheehan)

The easy-to-understand images make it possible for even young children to follow directions properly. If another shot is fired, the system will recalibrate and continue to guide individuals to safety. These signals also make it possible for first responders to find active shooters faster, by following the red x’s. Beyond that, the technology can guide individuals away from fire, ammonia, chemicals, and other dangerous situations. 

“As the Director of Facilities, Grounds, & Safety for this school district, I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is for me to potentially have this system in place. In the heat of the moment, a system such as this would be incredible to utilize, and knowing we have it would definitely give me a feeling of safety,” states director of facilities, grounds, and safety at Clinton Community School District Brandon Loomer.

Although it may sound like this technology should be implemented in every building, Eckert is having trouble finding financial support for his company. So far, he was awarded a U.S. patent in August of 2020, which has been a huge step towards his goal. Surprising the only thing holding Eckert back is the lack of funding for his project. He hopes for support from school boards, legislature, and others passionate about public safety because this technology will save lives. 

The Safepro Technologies Soteria System uses a laser projection system to display both green
arrows and red X’s on a surface in order to guide people in the event of an emergency
evacuation. (Dane Sheehan)

“Funding is often a challenge for entrepreneurs and startup companies. Investors typically like to see revenue or at least the promise of revenue from potential customers before they choose to invest in a company. Investors also like to see passion and commitment in a founder and Paul has plenty of that! I believe that if Paul can obtain the funding he needs to develop the Soteria System that he could bring a solution to the marketplace for a very challenging problem,” explains Johnson.

The Innovation Center at UW-Whitewater has helped Eckert develop and market his system. He’s thankful for the help he’s gotten here, especially from Johnson and John DeGraff. A senior marketing even class did a marketing study on his system, which gave him great feedback. One of the students even became a part of the Safepro team. The Innovation Center is home to the first three prototypes of the system and shows just how the technology works. 

For more information and to watch a demonstrative video please visit https://safeprotechnologies.com/Soteria-System/

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