22nd Feb 2023

protecting our children and school safety with a picture of a child wearing a backpack and holding hands with a parent

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Protecting our children and school safety is a top priority for every parent. When we send our children off to school, we want to be sure they are protected from frightening situations and the right strategies are in place if these situations ever become reality.

Schools already need to provide their local law enforcement with building data and blueprints for their campuses, but at the end of 2022, Governor Whitmer signed a new bill into law that took effect in January regarding critical incident mapping. A tactic that would be a greater help in an active shooter situation. This is also a method that our military uses.

Critical incident mapping uses satellite images to create a real-life depiction of a building and the area surrounding it. A grid is then placed over the map so first responders (police, fire fighters, EMS, etc.) can accurately explain location information quickly and specifically. This will be extremely helpful in active shooter situations in schools. This would help all responders who are not familiar with a particular building or campus be able to improve response time and to articulate directions precisely so the proper course of action can be taken to protect everyone involved.

According to Michigan House Bill 6042, critical incident mapping must be compatible with software platforms used by local, state, or federal public safety agencies that provide emergency services. It must also be provided in a printable format, be oriented true north, and be verified for accuracy through a walkthrough of the school building and school grounds. House Bill 6042 says that the information that is provided in the digital format for first responders and and local law enforcement must include the following:

  • Accurate floor plans overlaid on or current aerial imagery of a school building or school plan.
  • Site specific labeling that matches the structure of the school building, including room labels, hallway names, external door or stairwell numbers, locations of hazards, key utility locations, key boxes, automated external defibrillators, and trauma kits.
  • Site specific labeling that matches the school grounds, including parking areas, athletic fields, surrounding roads, and neighboring properties.
  • Gridded overlay with x/y corrdinates.

Schools are not legally required to use critical incident mapping, but if they do opt to use it, it will be shared quarterly with local 911 operators.

Written by Beier Howlett

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