ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud's Apollo High School is the first of its kind to implement a new external lock down procedure using blue flashing strobe lights.

Assistant principal Brian Baloun says the new system was inspired by a security concern, "what do we do to alert the people  who are coming from outside of the school into the school to keep them out?"

The blue lights are located above each door on the outside of the building as a way to let outsiders know that the school is in a lock down procedure. Signs accompany the lights to explain the new procedure to Apollo's visitors.

Assistant principal Baloun says Apollo was chosen as the pilot school because the ISD 742 district offices are located in the building. There's more visitor traffic to the school.

The system is also a benefit for bus drivers who have been told to keep students on buses if they see the blue lights flashing.

School officials such as the principal and assistant principal have key-fob like buttons that are designed to instantly turn the system on. When the system is activated law enforcement officials and the alarm company are notified through a text message.

Baloun says when they tested the system law enforcement had about a two minute response time.

Baloun says Apollo is the pilot school for the blue light system but Sauk Rapids-Rice High School has a similar internal procedure. Apollo's external system can be modified down the road to include an internal alert system.

Installation costs were about $9,000. There is a $16 per month monitoring fee. Baloun says he thinks this is an inexpensive system that smaller districts could afford.

The school is part of a crisis management team which includes organizations such as St. Cloud Hospital, CentraCare and Crossroads Shopping Center. The group collaborates on how to react in emergency situations. These organizations are looking to possibly install this system in the future.