Dunkirk superintendent: New program will make district safer

Superintendent of Dunkirk Schools Dr. James Tracy says the district’s progressing toward a more technologically advanced plan to keep students safe in the event of an emergency.

Safety plans are under development by Navigate, a company that’s moving school districts to the forefront of emergency preparedness. The company’s prepared software system is designed with schools in mind as it provides real-time access to situations and facility information. School officials, staff and emergency responders can use the information to train, prepare and take action when necessary.

Tracy told board members during a Thursday meeting at School 3 that plans and maps of each building, among other items, can be accessed by administration and staff using an electronic device.

“Instead of keeping a binder on the shelf, this will allow us to keep our (emergency plans) current,” Tracy said. “If there’s a fire alarm or a threat, it tells what teachers and principals should do.”

When the system is fully operational, teachers will be able to conduct attendance through a electronic device in the event of an emergency situation. Administrators could then open their devices to see who’s accounted for. Tracy said it’s more efficient than the older method of reporting it in person to different people.

“It tracks students quickly and allows teachers to easily take attendance,” Tracy said.

The system also gives real-time intelligence to first responders. During the summer, Tracy said pictures were taken of all rooms and hallways in each school building. Tracy acknowledged it will give first responders a glimpse of a specific room before going into a building.

Dispatchers would also have access to building map plans to assist first responders if they take an emergency call.

“This will make the district a safer district and one that will work well with first responders,” Tracy said.

Tracy said they’re still in the process of putting all the pieces together. He said he plans to sit down with law enforcement and emergency responders to see how the tool could be best used. Once the safety program is ready to go, Tracy said they would conduct drills.