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VIPlanning Software & Online Services Provides Sustainable Solutions for School Emergency Coordinators To Prepare and Respond to Emergency Incidents

Today we must admit that America’s schools are vulnerable to threats and terrorism. School violence can no longer be ignored. The Columbine High school massacre left 15 dead and 24 injured in 1999 and the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history took place at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 leaving 32 people dead and many more wounded. Think about it. It was the students, staff, teachers and administrators who were facing the gun fire from Seung-Hui Cho’s 9mm semiautomatic and a .22-caliber handgun.

Families trust that schools will keep their children safe and parents assume that those tasked with that responsibility have been trained in emergency preparedness and response. Those tasked with creating school emergency management programs and plans must face the fact that no school, no matter how large or small, is really safe today and every school is responsible for developing a realistic emergency plan and virtual tour of their facility. It is also critical that once these pre-incident planning tools are created that schools need to use them for emergency preparedness training, exercises and drills.

Visual Imagry, Inc. has developed affordable software and online services that provide tools for school emergency preparedness coordinators to prepare and respond to school emergency incidents.

VIPlanning® Online is
secure web site created and operated by Visual Imagry that provides an environment in which designated school administrators can create and control partitions (portals) containing critical information and data. Authorized users can easily view and modify documents, links, contacts, calendar events and press releases. Any item can also be marked as viewable and posted to a companion public web site. The secure web site also facilitates communications and information sharing via discussion forums.

Both the Washoe County School District (NV) and the Humboldt County School District (NV) started using VIPlanning® Online to develop HTML preplans in 2006.

Their secure web sites are interactive tools for building an extensive network for disaster planning, preparing, training, communicating or responding to any school threat or emergency. These secure web sites are operated separately and independently of any school district web site and do not require school district IT support.

VIPlanning® Online's secure application is key for sharing of sensitive data and collaboration between administrators, school site principals, 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 district has their own secure web site that has its own controlled-access to their school's Forum, as well as the All-Schools Forum and 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.

VIPlanning® Software was used by 132 facilities to develop each school's HTML preplan or virtual school facility tour. Authorized users could then easily access their HTML preplan for proofing and review. Both District's Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) were also converted into an HTML through the use of VIPlanning® Software.

"VIPlanning® Software and Online Services have been used to change the way school districts approach disaster preparedness / readiness," said Dee Beaugez, Chief Operating Officer of Visual Imagry, Inc. "Authorized users are able to access their school plans, preplans and data to help them mitigate disaster incidents for all hazards during all seasons."

VIPlanning® Online
and the 132 preplans developed using VIPlanning® Software have strengthened both school district's communications and information technology systems. These tools have become critical to effectively prepare or respond to any type of emergency or disaster that could impact these school districts.

"Children are our future and their safety is our responsibility, " said Beaugez. "It has been proven that technology can help schools better prepare and respond to any type of school incident."

"I am honored to say that Visual Imagry has been part of an all-hazards approach to emergency pre-incident planning for school safety since 1999."

Read More about the 2006-07 Washoe County School District and the Humboldt County School District Critical Incident Response Projects, funded by the U.S. Department of Education grants.

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