Your grant should be crafted by your district's grant writer's own words as this text will be available to other schools. The scenarios are only meant as a suggested approach for your grant.
(Below word count is approximately 1,159)
This grant will address;
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION: Whenever the school alarm sounds, our teachers and staff take the necessary response according to our All Hazards Plan. Several key members of our administration have 2-way VHF 2-watt radios. The remaining faculty and staff are without. Purchasing radios at $200 each for 250 employees and staff members would not be practical.
Not receiving updates by employees is most unnerving. During unannounced alarms/evacuations, we often hear "What is going on?" The children become unnecessarily scared. This has been one aspect of our exercises or actual incidents that we have experienced that is most often discussed. The same questions arises; "How can we better our emergency communications so more know what's going on?"
During a lockdown our faculty and staff must wait a long time before they have any idea what is going on. Delays in public address communications may be a result of the school's principal being very busy taking care of the emergency at hand or possibly incapacitated due to injury or to any number of other distractions. A power outage would cut off our PA system as we have no back-up generator. An ideal approach might be to have an emergency communication system that broadens communication flow with school employees and local First Responders.
Because our schools are many years old with concrete-poured walls that inhibit reception. To check for dead zones In our schools, we assembled several cell phone teams and conducted a building walk-thru sending and receiving text messages. We plotted rooms, stairwells and designated safe zones (lockdown rooms). We then knew where the dead zones were where our signals were weak.
The main focus of our this grant request is to upgrade all our schools' existing Wi-Fi system with a greater reception system: not just localized near the administration offices.
The next focal point is an approach to better communicate with everyone involved. If there is a something going on in a section of our building, those nearby are situated better than anyone to see and know what is going on. They are our eyewitnesses. The rest of the school employees do not. Other calls will be sent; 9-1-1, our main office, police,. Although calls in this manner are this way are part of our emergency [procedures] [plan] protocol] other calls are being made too; home, a loved one or a friend.
Q: WILL EMPLOYEES RECEIVE RETURN CALLS FROM 9-1-1 WITH UPDATES TO THE SITUATION?
Until they arrive on the scene, First Responders are not eye-witnesses to what is actually happening inside the school. Limited at best. They might get updates from 9-1-1- or the Incident Command Post that have been phoned in from some of those inside. Those eye-witness updates are happening often...or not at all.
Unsecured social media such as Twitter, Face Book, Instagram and small group text groups are also getting flooded with information. Even using conventional text messaging is limited to about ten users in a single thread depending on the mobile carrier's plan.
So, with a fluid incident evolving in a section of our building, those nearby (the eye-witnesses) are situated better than anyone else to see and know what better what is going on. They might be hearing shots near their room, explosions down the hall to the right, or even seeing the intruders, or structural collapse. The rest of the school does not. Once again it is very unnerving.
SOLUTION: With a stronger Wi-Fi system in place, the second part of the formula is a secure communication program that we control within each school designed for designated users within our facility and local First responders. The service must have unlimited users and preset by our school's SRO, principal and/or emergency coordinator. Because the majority of our teachers and staff have mobile devices with text messaging capabilities, we feel we should use this existing hardware to its best advantage and search for a vendor that has the equipment- software solution.
To take advantage of cell phone and text messing alerts, we would like to incorporate a new emergency communications system offered by a Pittsburgh area-based company US Life Safety, Inc. Since 2003, and their launch of the Life-Counts® information system at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Harrisburg, this company continues to be the leader in emergency information sharing technology and innovation. Their Life-Counts® system is being used in school districts in western Pennsylvania. Their new HERO application is an important feature of US Life Safety's Life-Counts®.
HERO would allow all of our teachers and staff who have alert texting capabilities to send/receive text & email alerts. In short, the eye-witness composes the important update message and provides their location. It can them be immediately sent to all employees and First Responders using HERO. The First Responders are pre-selected and added into the Life-Counts® program. These First Responders become part of this communication group.
The core of the Life-Counts® service helps us better manage our All-Hazard plans to be securely shared with employees and First Responders. Our updating our plans are underway and will be updated with this Life-Counts® program; making updates and current information immediately available to local First Responders.
Another aspect in Life-Counts® that addresses 'emergency communications' is the Head Count feature found in Life-Counts® that is unique for each school. After an evacuation, Head Count can be accessed in the same way as HERO. Teachers can check off the members in their group by name. Head Count has the capabilities of sending text alerts to those individuals who are NOT checked during roll call.
Training. We have been concerned with how knowledgeable our employees are with our All-Hazards Plan. A particularly valuable feature in this Life-Counts® program is an on-line assessment/quiz that can be tailored to our own All-Hazard Plan. After testing, the feature will quickly reveal to us which subject areas our employees understand or do not. This can be used to strengthen our plan when our safety committees revises our plan..
The entire Life-Counts® program will include complete setup for each of our schools with on-line tutorials and 1:1 tech support for our emergency coordinators.
A text messaging plan will be necessary and cannot be included in your grant. [Contact US Life Safety for quote]
IN-SERVICE TRAINING Is available from US Life Safety for Life-Counts® administrators, Life-Counts® Coordinators and for all employees on use of the HERO emergency communication system. Cost are estimated based our Life-Counts/HERO quote: 5-10% plus travel expenses.
Ask: How important would it be for school employees to receive a HERO text response from S.W.A.T. indicating they are approaching your area to clear occupants, a fellow co-worker that intruders were spotted running from the building, or your local police chief that the danger is over?
The Life-Counts Information Sharing Network couples facilitie and local First Responders to critial emertgency for pre-training or response.
Office of Safe and Healthy Students
Department of Education / Safe Schools
Department of Homeland Security
Partnering for Safe Schools
California Department of Education