New safe room system in Cullman to protect students, staff in case of active shooter emergency

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 3:07 PM CDT

CULLMAN, Ala. (WBRC) - Kevin Thomas is the Founder and CEO of KT Security Solutions. Last year, his team was creating ballistic shelters for the military. Following the events in Uvalde, Texas, he shifted his ideas on how to better protect students and teachers from an active shooter emergency.

He came up with the Rapid-Deploy Safe Room System. It is a fold-out room that can expand in less than 10 seconds. It provides a ballistic shield in case of an active shooter, or serve as an emergency shelter during severe weather.

“Our goal here is to give every kid an opportunity to go home in the evening,” said Thomas. “This is not going to fix the issues that cause these things. But it’s going to give us a protective way to go until we figure that out as a community and as a nation.”

Thomas took his idea to State Senator, Garlan Gudger, who introduced him to Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff. That’s when the pilot for the system began in West Elementary.

“In the unimaginable thought or action of a shooter, this is a safe place for the students or the teacher to get in,” said Kallhoff.

Two classrooms currently have the Rapid-Deploy Safe Room System set up. It’s a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard pressed up against the wall when not in use. When expanded, it locks from the inside and can only be unlocked with a key.

The two in Cullman are the first of their kind. Thomas, Kalloff, and many other local and state leaders hope to see the installation of these rooms across the country one day to better protect teachers and students.

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