New Crisis Management System to Protect All Washington State K-12 Schools

OLYMPIA, Wash., The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) announced Dec. 20 that more than 400 high schools in the state are now protected by a crisis management system, and the state’s middle and elementary schools will soon have similar protection.

The statewide system, available on laptop computers or via the Internet, will provide police, fire and other first responders with instant access to more than 300 data points per facility, including emergency response plans, satellite and geospatial imagery, exterior and interior photos, floor plans, utility shut-offs, and hazardous material locations. The system will provide police, fire and other emergency responders with critical facility information, helping them save lives and mitigate property damage.

The program is the result of a bill passed by the state legislature in 2003 that delegated WASPC the responsibility to create and operate a statewide critical incident planning and mapping system. The legislature originally spent $3.3 million to implement the first phase of this program and digitally map all the high schools in the state. An additional $4.5 million has been appropriated to initiate the first stage of the project involving the 1,275 middle and elementary schools. Once the state’s school facilities are completed, the program will likely expand to other critical public facilities, including courthouses, public office buildings, water treatment facilities and more.

The system has already been tested. In September 2003 at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Wash., the system helped emergency responders contain a gunman in 10 minutes and safely evacuate more than 2,000 students in just 20 minutes.

“What emergency responders need most during an emergency is information,” said Don Pierce, executive director of WASPC. “This system gives police, fire and other first responders instant access to critical information so they can decide how best to respond to an emergency when seconds count.”

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