Home | News & Views | 2006 | WCSD Awards Contract
  Media Update | January 24, 2006


Washoe County Schoo District Police Chief Mike Mieras
announces contract award.


Washoe County School District Selects
Visual Imagry for District Emergency Preparedness Project

Reno, Nevada - School Police Chief Mike Mieras announced today that Visual Imagry, Inc. has been selected as the contractor for the Washoe County School District's upcoming project designed to improve school security and the district's ability to respond to emergencies.

Visual Imagry was awarded the contract during the WCSD School Board meeting today. The contract will be funded from the $959,950 School Readiness & Emergency Management grant awarded to the WCSD by the U.S. Department of Education on August 23, 2005.

Visual Imagry will be required to inventory all public schools and other WCSD facilities to take digital photographs, 360 digital movies and collect other critical school site specific data and integrate them into an interactive electronic database.

Visual Imagry, Inc. will also develop a secure web site for the District designed to become an interactive tool for building an extensive network for disaster planning, preparing, training, communicating or responding to any school threat or emergency. This secure web site will operate separately and independently of any WCSD web site and does not require District IT support.

"We hope that the secure web site, developed through VIPlanning® Online Services, will be used to removed the barriers of time and distance between administrators, principals, emergency management staff, first responders and other WCSD authorized users," said Dolores Beaugez, Chief Operating Officer of Visual Imagry, Inc. "We have learned from users of our online systems, that our secure site can be used to strengthen communications and information technology systems critical to effectively prepare or respond to any type of emergency or disaster that could impact the Washoe County School District or the community."

"Children are our future and I believe that their safety is our responsibility," said Ms. Beaugez. "It has been proven that technology can help schools better prepare and respond to any type of school incident.
Our software and online services are being used to change the way school districts approach disaster preparedness and readiness. Authorized users are able to access their school plans, HTML preplans and data to help them mitigate disaster incidents for all hazards during all seasons."

This secure application is key for sharing sensitive data and collaboration between school officials, school police, emergency preparedness staff and authorized first responders. Information can be shared among authorized secure users and, when appropriate, with the authorized first responders.

Each school will have its own controlled-access secure School Site Forum and they can also participate in the All-Schools Forum and the District Forum. These Forums allow authorized users to initiate and participate in discussions, start new topic areas and publish working documents and links for peer review and comment.

When each school’s HTML preplan (virtual school tour) is being developed, authorized school site users will be able to access their preplan for proofing and review.

Chief Mieras said, "Other emergency first responders such as local area fire, police will be able to call up a virtual tour of the building on a laptop computer and know the complete layout of the site. When responding to an emergency, they would know exactly where everything in the building was located, including all emergency shutoffs, gas and water lines and electrical panels. A few clicks of a mouse would take them anywhere in the facility or on the site."

"When emergency responders arrive at a school, they are often unfamiliar with the layout of the building. Having this information at their fingertips will save precious time and allow them to do their job better and faster. Without doubt, this new technology could end up saving lives and protecting property," Chief Mieras explained.

Visual Imagry will also be involved in the second important component of the grant. They will be responsible for coordinating a safety survey and audit of each school's emergency plan, standardize those plans and training a common incident command structure. The grant requires that all information be compatible with the National Incident Management System.

The contract and all phases of the work will need to be completed over the next 18 months. At the conclusion of all work, an outside third part evaluator will audit the project to ensure that all terms of the grant award have been fulfilled.

Chris Smith, recently a vice-principal at Sparks High School, was hired to serve as the grant coordinator. Smith's job will be to coordinate the activities of the contractor and to involve the other local law enforcement agencies including the Sparks and Reno police and fire departments, the Washoe County Sheriff's Department and REMSA.

Police Chief Mieras said that all participating agencies will be critical to developing "an integrated, community-wide approach to emergency planning."

Beaugez, president of Visual Imagry, Inc. was selected to co-coordinate the project with Smith from the WCSD. Renee Domingo, an associate of Visual Imagry, will be developing the emergency management plan and providing ICS/NIMS training for the School Board and members of the Code 33 Team. The HTML preplans will be developed using VIPlanning® Software.




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