Delaware Launches School Security Initiative

The state will provide accurate and uniform maps for all of Delaware’s 19 public school districts and charter schools to help first responders improve response times during emergencies.

Delaware Launches School Security Initiative

This sample map by CRG illustrates the gridded overlay of a school building and adjacent grounds with detailed labels for classrooms, utility areas, offices, and common spaces such as auditoriums and cafeterias. Photo by Delaware Emergency Management Agency - Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Smyrna, Delaware — The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and its Comprehensive School Safety Program will invest almost $1 million to enhance school security statewide by providing accurate and uniform maps for all of Delaware’s 19 public school districts and charter schools to enable law enforcement and first responders to react swiftly during emergencies in unfamiliar environments. Delaware’s General Assembly provided the funding this year as part of a $10 million allocation to the School Safety and Security Fund, which was originally established in 2018. Under the bill, $1 million was provided to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security for “school mapping, reporting application, and threat assessment tools.”

“These digital blueprints and maps represent a significant, tangible investment in school safety and security throughout Delaware. The goal is to ensure all emergency personnel have the best tools to communicate and collaborate in a crisis – when seconds count and lives are on the line,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen, Jr.

Delaware is partnering with Critical Response Group, a New Jersey-based firm that specializes in collecting and digitizing school building blueprints and making them available to first responders. Its proprietary Collaborative Response Graphics® (CRGs) are built upon the same tactical and operational framework used by highly trained military units. Featuring a gridded overlay map of school buildings and grounds, CRGs provide simple visual communication tools to coordinate emergency response during an incident. Easily understood during stressful situations, the maps enhance response time and improve command and control during an incident. Any changes will be updated continuously in a sharable and easily accessible format for ready access by school officials, emergency personnel, and law enforcement.

The maps combine detailed information on floor plans – including room labels, hallway names, external door/stairwell numbers, and key utility locations – with high-resolution imagery of the entire campus and accurate labeling for parking areas, athletic fields, roads, and neighboring properties. The goal is to give first responders everything they need to coordinate emergency response both inside and outside the building.

Copies of each high-resolution composite map will be available to local, county, and state emergency operations and dispatch centers, law enforcement personnel, and on-scene first responders. They will also be utilized to facilitate interagency training exercises, school drills, and coordinate any post-emergency reunification process. Once complete, cooperating agencies plan to conduct periodic walk-throughs and campus visits to ensure that each of the maps is current and up to date.

Video Overview of Critical Response Group Maps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10aghbY3AKI&t=30s

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