West Jefferson Hills district emergency response includes 360-degree imaging
Emergency responders in the West Jefferson Hills School District soon will have access to 360-degree images of each classroom and hallway, live camera feeds and updated emergency plans at the click of a button.
The move to compile building blueprints, aerial photos and updated rosters in an online system — along with adding 360-degree images — will provide faster access to emergency responders in the event of an emergency, said Jim Modrak, director of security.
“You're seeing it first hand,” he said.
Board members in January approved a proposal from NaviGate Prepared for $16,500 for a one-year licensing and setup cost for the 2018-19 school year. The district will pay an annual licensing fee of $5,000 for subsequent years.
A $1,600 down payment for 2018-19 provided the district access for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.
“This will give us a digital, online emergency operations plan that all of our first responders, all of our police departments, fire, medics, anybody that is part of our safety plan, would have access too,” Scott Milburn, assistant superintendent of secondary education, told board members.
Under Chapter 10 of the Pennsylvania Code, school districts in cooperation with their local emergency management agency, must create and implement a comprehensive disaster response and emergency preparedness plan.
Districts must distribute copies of building blueprints, aerial photos, teacher and student rosters and a current yearbook to local police and fire departments before Sept. 30 each year.
Currently, West Jefferson Hills provides its emergency service departments with hard copies of the documents, Modrak said.
“Up until six or seven years ago, that was standard,” he said.
Some districts now distribute USB drives. However, one change to a student roster or classroom and those are outdated, he said.
Modrak consulted with other districts that utilize an online-based system that provides up-to-date information on handheld devices and computers for emergency responders.
Both Quaker Valley and South Fayette use NaviGate Prepared, he said.
The district can restrict who has access to what information.
There are five fire departments, two medic units and three police departments in the West Jefferson Hills School District, that includes Pleasant Hills, Jefferson Hills and West Elizabeth boroughs.
In the next month, crews will walk the hallways and classrooms in the district to document and photograph the buildings for the 360-degree imagining.
“What is nice is the immediacy,” Modrak said. “The information can stay new, current and updated.”
Future plans are to connect each camera to the plans so that emergency responders can view a live feed at the click of a button while looking through the floorplan during an emergency, Modrak said.
“If there's an active intruder, they can click on the cameras right there and see what's going on,” he said.
The system also will include an app available on mobile devices that will allow district staff to digitally check off where a student is during a fire or emergency.
Currently, they do all of that on paper.
“It narrows down really quickly who's here and who's not,” Modrak said.
Once the system is up and running the district will do a test run.
The current high school will be added to the system and once the new high school is finished, it will be included.
Modrak said he hopes to have the program operating by the end of this school year.
Semi-annual meetings will be held with emergency responders to go over the information and updates, he said.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.