A Columbiana County school district is getting a big safety upgrade for the fall.

Columbiana Exempted Village School District is the first school in the Valley to use a special device to help protect students in the case of an active shooter situation.

In that worst-case scenario situation, seconds count.

Columbiana Schools are hoping a simple device could save lives in the unlikely event something were ever to happen within their walls.

The device is called a Threat Extinguisher.

Pepper spray canisters are set up at various points at all the schools.  They can be used as a last resort to disable any assailant.

The canisters are set inside a case and connected to a communications system. Once the glass is broken and the spray is removed, alerts are immediately sent to teachers and authorities.
"When the can is removed from the cabinet, it can send up to a thousand text message and emails, plus calls authorities and then gives the location of which threat extinguisher has been removed. So when authorities roll up, they know where they need to be in the building," said Sam Fasone of Threat Extinguisher.

 The message will tell people where the assailant is so teachers and students know where it is safe to escape.

"It tells them if they should exit the building if they are far enough away from the threat, or if they should go into lockdown or whatever their safety protocol is," added Fasone.

The pepper spray itself can spray at a range of 25 feet. 

So what happens if a student messes with one of these as a prank?  They'll wish they didn't.

"They are calling the authorities and letting every teacher know what they did. In the schools we are in, it's just like pulling a fire alarm. All the consequences that are involved in making a false alarm," said Fasone.

School administrators just didn't arbitrarily buy the product out of thin air. They had a lot of community input before they made the final purchase. The investment was $25,000 and there is also a yearly fee to maintain the system.