When it comes to school communication systems, a public address (PA) system is one of the most important components. A good PA system can make a huge difference in ensuring that important announcements and notifications are heard clearly throughout the school, but not all PA systems are created equal. Before making a decision about which PA system to install in your school district or school, there are a few key things to consider.

1. Coverage

A PA system should be able to reach everyone across the entire campus. When evaluating potential systems, consider the size and layout of your school grounds and make sure that the system is powerful enough to cover the entire area. Also, consider the location and positioning of speakers, and ensure that it will be able to reach all areas of the school including hallways, classrooms, and outdoor spaces.

2. Ease of Use

A PA system should be easy for anyone to use, including principals, administrators, and other staff members. Look for systems that are simple to operate and have intuitive interfaces, such as clearly labeled buttons and easy-to-use software. Carina, made by Wahsega, can send emergency alerts, schedule bells, and upgrade firmware through a single dashboard.

Anyone can learn how to use Carina in minutes with our free video tutorials.

3. Visual Signage

A public address (PA) system is not only an audio system, but can also a visual one. The visual aspect of a PA system is becoming increasingly important, particularly when it comes to emergency communication. In the event of an emergency, quick and clear visual signage can be just as important as clear audio announcements. Consider incorporating visual signage into your PA system, such as IP Displays, which can be used to display emergency messages, school announcements, and other important information. This will be particularly useful in schools where some students may be non-native speakers or for ADA compliance for deaf students, where clear visual messages are needed.

4. Emergency Announcements

In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial that the PA system can be used to quickly and clearly broadcast emergency announcements and instructions. Look for systems that are compatible with panic buttons and other emergency notification systems, and that allow for easy switching between pre-recorded emergency messages and live announcements.

Carina includes integrated emergency paging and emergency announcements functionality. For example, when panic button is pressed, an emergency message will be immediately broadcasted via the PA system. Having an emergency system that is integrated with the PA system, will save precious time in emergency situations.

5. Cost

A good PA system can be a significant investment, so be sure to consider the total cost of the system, including the initial purchase price, installation costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses. 

In a typical PA system installation, each classroom requires an Ethernet cable run (or home run) to the server room. Each home run costs hundreds of dollars per classroom to install. Wahsega’s wiring reduction technology only requires one home run for every 2 classrooms, saving schools up to 50% in installation costs. This is accomplished with a “daisy chain” from Classroom A to Classroom B, eliminating the home run from Classroom B to the server room.

By keeping these factors in mind, school districts and principals can make informed decisions about which PA system best fits their needs. While cost may be a factor, it is important to remember that a high-quality PA system can be a valuable asset that will serve the school community for years to come.

In summary, a good PA system can make a huge difference in school communication, the system should be able to reach every corner of the school, easy to use, have scalability, and integrate with emergency services. Cost is also important but should not be the only deciding factor in choosing a PA system. Properly evaluating and choosing the right PA system will make communication more efficient and effective for everyone in the school.

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