Laurel SD Demonstrates New School Safety Planning System - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Laurel SD Demonstrates New School Safety Planning System


LAUREL, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware is showing off its new central spot to keep and find school safety plans across the state.

The Laurel School District demonstrated Wednesday how it is using the Internet-based Emergency Response Information Portal to give essential people easy access to its safety plans.

This is part of statewide effort. Every district in the state will eventually have its safety plans in this system.

The plan information will be comprehensive and consistent, in order to make things as simple as possible if they are necessary during a crisis.

Laurel and Polytech were the first two districts ready to go.

Laurel Superintendent John Ewald gave a packed library at Laurel intermediate a tour of how his district's plan looks in the system.

"I, as the district superintendent, or our facilities supervisor or local police and fire personnel can see our plans and what's expected at each of our buildings," he said.

A great deal of information, including safety protocols, building plans and site maps is included. Laurel Police Chief Michael Wilson said having all that so accessible is invaluable.

"It's tremendous for us to be able to go into a situation and visualize where we're going," he said.

Wilson said it is also important for outside agencies in an emergency. They would not be as familiar with Laurel's plans as his department is, but they can easily see them through the system.

Delaware Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Lewis Schiliro said this goes beyond emergency responders.

"It really is giving our teachers the best in planning and in training," he said. "They're the ones that will be on-scene and responsible in the first few minutes for the safety of the students."

"In that preparation is great comfort, because kids, staff and community know that we have a plan that we've practiced and can easily implement in the event of a tragedy," Ewald said.

He said Laurel schools do multiple fire, lock down and shelter-in-place drills each year. This new system can store data from them, to help make the drills and emergency plans more effective.

The law that led to this was passed in 2012. Originally, it gave the state five years to get things up and running. Gov. Jack Markell pushed it to happen in two following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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