Jan 03, 2022

|

Categories: News

Best Walkie Talkies For Schools – Consider These Key Features

The best walkie talkies for schools will be a bespoke two way radio system designed to meet the needs of your school. This will include radios that offer crystal clear communications, are robust and able to withstand water, knocks and drops, utilise ultra-high frequency (UHF) to enable long-range communications in built-up environments, have multiple channels, emergency features enabled, excellent battery life and come with a simple push-to-talk (PTT) function

Every school will have unique needs when it comes to two way communications. This means the best walkie talkies for your school will be bespoke to you and should be purchased and set up following an assessment of your needs based on the size and location of the school and how the radios will be used.

With a high proportion of lone working in schools and robust health and safety requirements to meet, clear, reliable communication devices are needed to enable staff to stay connected and reach out instantly when they need to reach others in schools.

Setting Up Your School Communications System

NRC radios have over 30 years of experience supplying two way radios, or walkie talkies as they’re more commonly referred to, for schools of all sizes. From licence free kits in smaller primary settings to licenced two way radios in large, multi-site campuses, we can recommend and support you with setting up the right solution for your needs.

Our friendly team can offer professional advice, competitive pricing, and options to hire or purchase market-leading two way radio models to create bespoke communications solutions for your security, safety or emergency communication needs in your school or education establishment.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Need advice about radios for your school?

Ask our experts –
call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.
_____________________________________________________________

Using Radios In Schools

Two way radios are brilliant bits of kit for when you need to communicate quickly, easily and reliably with other people that are not physically standing next to you, which is often the case in a busy school environment spread out over a large area with multiple out-buildings.

Radios are also particularly useful when you don’t have the luxury of being able to rely on mobile data or wifi signals such as in remote areas or complex buildings with thick walls, out-buildings or underground areas.

Read on to understand when two way radios are useful in schools, who can use them, why they’re a better solution for most when compared to mobile phones, as well as the best models to consider based on your budget and size of the site.


Features To Look Out For

Walkie talkies used in schools need to meet certain specifications to ensure that they last for a long time and can meet the pressures of a typical school environment. When looking to purchase or hire walkie talkies for schools, keep an eye out for the following key features to get the most from your radio communications:

  • You will want a single charge to deliver up to 30 hours of battery life which allows the radios to be carried around for a longer period before recharging again
  • Uninterrupted signal coverage whatever size your school is
  • Crystal clear audio that can be heard over classroom noise
  • Robust casing to withstand drops or water immersion
  • Simple push to talk buttons with built-in emergency functions
  • Scanning functions and multiple channel functions. Scanning means users can hear every message sent and using specific channels enable caller-ID for private conversations, channels for teams, channels for general chatter and emergency only channel to be set up.
  • UHF or ultra-high frequency radios are more capable of penetrating thick concrete walls than their VHF, (very high frequency) counterparts. They are therefore usually preferred in school settings, particularly those with older buildings with thick walls or large site areas.

Best Two Way Radios

3 DigiX radio models

We recommend the DigiX range of two way radios for schools of all sizes and the Halo, Halo with keypad and Neo are excellent models to consider and will provide the clearest of communications in the noisiest of school dining rooms or classrooms!

  • View All Two Way Radios recommended by NRC radio here. We have videos and specifications available to get an idea of each radios capability but if you prefer to talk to somebody in person please, Use our contact form to discuss your needs with radio experts here or call us on 0151 263 9993.

Radios Uses In School

Primary class looking at teacher and blackboard

For many schools, two way radios are essential bits of kit to be compliant with health and safety, lone workers and incident management regulations and procedures. Whether used by teachers, caretakers, management teams or others, here are some scenarios that occur during the day to day running of a school that would benefit from having robust two-way radio communications available at the push of a button.

  • Security
  • Health and Safety & Incident Management including fire drills or intruders
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Teacher to headteacher, office to teacher, office to headteacher comms
  • Lone working teachers, caretakers, cleaners, contractors
  • School trips
  • School events such as fetes or sports days

Security

Keeping pupils, staff and visitors safe when on school premises is a very important responsibility. It’s likely that you may already have CCTV, secure fencing, access codes or security pass systems in place, but radio communications can help to bring them all together and offer a simple but very effective boost to your school security measures.

Examples of two way radio being used for security include; car park to office comms during parent drop-offs and collections, alerting staff to possible intruders or children that have gone missing, caretaker site check reports back to main office staff.

Health And Safety & Incident Management

first aid bag and stethoscope

There can be a high proportion of lone working in schools, particularly teachers, cleaners, caretaking staff or visiting contractors. When working alone with children, or away from the main school building it can be a challenge to get the assistance you need when challenging situations arise.

Two way radios allow the user to manage risk and call for assistance as soon as possible and may be useful in managing situations where there is a risk from violence, manual handling, power outages, IT issues, first aid scenarios, medical emergencies, fire drills, staff shortages, and evacuation procedures.

There was a time in 2021 when whole year groups or classes were unable to mix with others that weren’t in their bubble to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Having two way radio communications during this kind of event is another great use of radios in Schools to prevent contamination or risk of infection whilst maintaining social distancing between groups.

Emergency Evacuations

Every school will have an emergency evacuation procedure and a crucial part of that will be to spread the message that an evacuation is needed as quickly and safely as possible in the event of an emergency situation unfolding.

Two way radios are invaluable in these scenarios as they enable communications when face to face discussions are too time-consuming or impossible.

For example, If you have a large site, it may take too long for somebody to physically round up everybody in person. In this scenario, being able to send out a single message to all users via radio is a quick and easy way to spread messages about the need for evacuations, routes to follow and actions that have already taken place.

Equally, if you can’t access certain areas of the building due to threats such as fire, hazardous substances or intruders, for example, being able to communicate with the people in those spaces can enable them to act quickly and receive information that could save lives.

Staff Communications

Unlike open-plan offices, schools are made up of lots of smaller offices, classrooms and storage areas. Being able to talk to others that aren’t in the same room via a reliable radio signal is a great way to quickly relay messages, especially when a mobile signal is an issue.

Quite often teachers and other staff in schools aren’t sitting in front of a PC all day, so using traditional instant messaging like Skype or Microsoft Teams might not be as efficient as it would be in a typical office environment. Mobile phones, whilst offering instant messaging services, are usually banned from being out on display in schools for both children and adults and the mobile signal can be an issue in more remote suburban areas or areas of the school.

Ensuring key adults have access to two way radios will ensure that clear lines of communications are available for teacher to teacher, headteacher to teachers, office to teachers and office to contractors whenever the need arises.

School Trips

Young children with two adults looking at Forest

When taking a bunch of excitable children anywhere off school premises, you can be sure that you will need excellent communication between supervising adults to ensure that children and staff remain safe and everybody is accounted for. Long gone are the days of sending children between groups to ferry messages between groups doing different activities. Now a simple push to talk radio will ensure all groups, wherever they are, can talk to the others for key arrangements regarding logistics, meeting points and start/finish times.

School Events

Any event that involves a large number of people being on school premises requires coordination and central communications. Whether it’s teachers managing the start and finish line on sports day, the PTA organising the school fete or backstage support talking to front-of-house during a school production, you can see how having the ability to talk to another person or whole groups of people that are not in the same place as you can be easily managed with a two way radio.


Do You Need A Radio Licence?

Some two way radios require a licence to operate. All this means is that a licence is purchased from Ofcom for a small fee, which operates in a similar way to a TV licence. NRC radios can sort out licensing for you at the point of purchase so it’s not something to worry about.

For large schools or Universities, you may need a licenced two way radio set up to reach all areas of the school, but smaller schools may find that unlicensed radios are sufficient for their needs.

You should look at your needs, the size of your site, how and where the radios will be used to determine whether a licensed or unlicensed radio is the best fit for your school. NRC radios can help you to figure this out and provide support in finding the right bespoke radio solutions for you.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Need advice about radios for your school?

Ask our experts –
call 0151 263 9993 or send an enquiry.
_____________________________________________________________

Typically an unlicensed radio will provide communications over a distance of around 800 yards whereas this is boosted to around a mile of coverage in open spaces for licenced products, which also tend to have better audio quality too.


Related Questions

Mobiles Vs Radios In Schools

On the face of it, mobile telephones and two way radios do a similar job, and with nearly every adult in the UK owning a mobile phone these days, you may be wondering if you really need to set up two way radios in your school or if your mobile phone will work just as well as investing in new technology.

In our opinion, there are plenty of reasons why using two way radios over mobiles in a school setting is the way to go, and we’ve outlined these below;

  • Radios don’t need a cellular signal to work like mobiles meaning they’re always reliable (when charged) and they don’t need to have a call plan or credit available to use, unlike mobiles
  • Radios offer direct connectivity, without delay or waiting for a connection to be established
  • Radios don’t suffer from network outages
  • Radio operation couldn’t be simpler – push to talk, release to listen. No passcodes, fingerprints or facial recognition required
  • Messages are heard instantly without needing to rely on notifications or seeing a phone light up meaning you’re far less likely to miss crucial, time-sensitive information being shared when using radios.
  • Radios are better protected against damage than delicate mobiles. IP ratings show how resistant they are to water and dust ingress and won’t shatter when dropped.
  • Radios enable you to talk to multiple people are once and switch between group and one-to-one conversations easily
  • A central school managed radio communications solution ensures one or two people are in charge of keeping radios powered and working and ready for use, which might be an issue for individual mobile phone users.

These are just some of the reasons that we think two way radios provide a more reliable way of managing instant communication needs within schools when compared to mobile phones.

Can You Hire Walkie Talkies?

If you are sold on the benefits that two way radios could offer the staff, pupils and visitors at your school but are worried about the initial investment to purchase and set up the radios, then NRC offers the ability to hire two way radios so you can test them in your school before committing to a purchase.

Summary

We hope this article has demonstrated how valuable two way radios can be for providing instant, reliable, and clear communications that can be relied upon for managing day to day operations and emergencies in schools, regardless of the size of your site or budget available.

In short, the best walkie talkies for schools will be a bespoke two way radio system designed to meet the needs of your school that includes robust radios that can withstand water and knocks, utilise UHF, have multiple channels and emergency features enabled, have excellent battery life and come with a simple push-to-talk (PTT) function.

As every school is different, getting the right setup to meet your needs is crucial when sourcing the right radios for you, and NRC radios can help with this. It’s safe to say, that when set up, two way radios can assist in the smooth running of day to day operations in schools including security, health and safety, emergency evacuations and drills, staff communications, lone worker safety, school trips and events, without the need to worry about the mobile signal, monthly billing or missing crucial notifications.

See our recommendations for two way radio models to consider in schools here or get in touch to discuss your specific needs with our expert team.

Our friendly team can talk you through your options on 0151 263 9993 or you can send an email to let us know what you’re looking for. DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios offer some of the best functionality and reliability available for school environments and our team can secure excellent pricing for our customers on these models.

Founded in 1989, Northwest Radio Communications provides professional communications solutions and excellent customer service to its clients spanning hundreds of industries throughout the UK. From farming, catering, hospitality, leisure, construction and many more, as an approved dealer for DigiX, Motorola, Hytera, ICOM and Kenwood 2-way radios, the team can find the best purchase, hire and maintenance options available for you and your business when it comes to choosing the right communication tools to use.