Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/993196

Homeland Security using technology to help schools stay safe

Statewide initiative results in creation of safety model
Apr 30, 2013

Once again, Delaware is first - the first state in the nation to develop a statewide comprehensive school safety model which includes a central portal for school safety plans.

Gov. Jack Markell and Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro have marked the next step in the statewide school safety planning process that will involve the development of a web-based portal to serve as a repository for all Delaware public school safety plans. While counties and school districts in the country have addressed school safety, no other state will have a portal to ensure consistency in statewide school safety planning.

The DSHS, charged with overseeing statewide comprehensive school safety planning, will now use technology to enhance the process. The new Emergency Response Information Portal will be developed by SafePlans over the next few months and become accessible to school safety teams by fall. ERIP is designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a qualified anti-terrorism technology and contains robust security protections.

“This demonstrates Delaware’s commitment to providing schools and emergency responders with information and resources that keep student safe in emergency situations,” Markell said. "This keeps school safety in the forefront and a process for safe and prepared schools moving forward.”

ERIP will provide K-12 schools best practice emergency plans and a state of the art web-based application for plan development and maintenance.  Building upon the existing safe school infrastructure, this innovative new program allows schools to embrace emergency planning best practices and the latest in homeland security technology simultaneously.

“This tool is more than a central repository. It provides a common framework for planning which will assist school safety teams with vulnerability assessments and risk management. In addition, it will make school emergency plans accessible through the internet and on smartphones, laptops and similar devices. The implementation of ERIP in the fall will make the plans not only accessible to school officials and their safety teams but also first responders and DSHS,” Schiliro said.

After the content of the plan has been established, a series of training courses and validation exercises will test the new plans. The system will incorporate an all hazards planning approach addressing a variety of emergency situations including but not limited to fires, power outages, gas leaks, kidnapping, bus accidents, flooding and active shooters. Next week, DSHS and SafePlans will conduct kick-off meeting in each county with school officials and emergency responders.

Schools will also receive SafePlans’ Intruderology training, which helps schools prevent, prepare for and respond to violent intruder and active shooter incidents.

“There is no one solution that protects schools from violent intruders” said Brad Spicer, president of SafePlans and creator of the program. “Intruderology is a flexible and multi-pronged approach to address the evolving tactics and threats posed by mass killers.”

SafePlans is a national homeland security consulting firm that specializes in providing the technology, tools and training needed to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents that impact daily operations. Through proven strategies, innovative thinking, and the latest technologies, SafePlans integrates emergency management and homeland security best practices to safeguard people and places.

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