Delaware officials have unveiled Internet-based tools that hold the promise of improving safety for local students, teachers and first responders. Governor Jack Markell, lawmakers, and officials with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) recently gathered for a demonstration of the new Emergency Response Information Portal (ERIP), which underwent beta testing at two downstate school districts.
Accessible to school officials, police and other first responders, the portal primarily acts as a central repository. Safety plans, response protocols, building plans, aerial photos, and site maps for each public school in the state will be available via laptops, tablets or smart phones. One portal feature provides personnel entering a school with interior photos of the facility, allowing them to anticipate what lies behind a closed door or around a corner – an especially useful aspect when dealing with situations involving intruders.The portal also includes training tools and tracks drill results so school administrators can gauge the effectiveness of their preparedness efforts.
DSHS Comprehensive School Safety Planner Joey Melvin said the Milford School District has the portal and is utilizing it now. Mr. Melvin served as a School Resource Officer for the district until accepting his current position in October.
“This is an impressive system,” said State Representative Harvey Kenton of Milford, who took part in the unveiling. “Helping to ensure the safety of our children while they are in school gives them the sense of security they need to concentrate on learning, while providing their parents peace of mind. I’m looking forward to this becoming fully integrated into all Delaware schools.”
According to DSHS officials, statewide “tabletop exercises” will begin early next year in each district to ensure that school safety teams are able to execute their plans and effectively use the portal system.