Firefighting Technology: School Campus Security

First Responders and Midlothian, TX, School District collaborate on Campus Security
The Midlothian Independent School District (MISD) recently installed the Rapid Responder Crisis Management System, from Prepared Response, Inc. headquartered in Kirkland, Washington, to protect the campuses in its district. The system now protects 17 sites, and MISD is planning to expand it in the future.

The system documents and secures information pertaining to ongoing fire drills, shelter in place and lockdowns, emergency plans, chemical identifications and locations, and emergency reunification sites. Data also include floor plans, site maps, aerial photos, interior and exterior facility imagery, hazardous material locations, utility shut-off instructions, police and fire tactical response plans, facility emergency and evacuation plans, and key contact information. In an emergency, first responders and school officials have instant access to the school’s emergency plans and critical information relative to the site.

Rhonda Welch, MISD safety and security coordinator, conducts regular training sessions to teach new responders how to use the Rapid Responder system. Members of the Midlothian ISD, the Midlothian Fire Department, and the Midlothian Police Department meet weekly to keep their emergency preplans current.

MISD purchased the all-hazards, site-based crisis management system with funds from a U.S. Department of Education Readiness Emergency Management for Schools grant.

Rapid Responder, which is used in more than 3,000 U.S. schools in 24 states, is certified by the Department of Homeland Security Safety Act, through which buyers and subcontractors receive powerful liability coverage from third-party claims related to the performance of antiterrorism technology and professional services ( For additional information, contact

Panic Buttons Signal Emergency in Progress at Florida College

Fixed and mobile panic buttons are part of the overall safety plan for students and staff members of Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. The buttons, Help Alert pendants from RF Technologies, Brookfield, Wisconsin, are installed in classrooms and public areas.

According to a Campus Technology report, when a Help Alert button is pressed, the Florida State University Police receive a silent, wireless alert, which they then view the alerts on police car laptops or on an Apple iPad. The software reveals the location of the panic alarm, even when a mobile pendant is not stationary. Security teams can then respond to the location and implement security measures. The alerts are also immediately sent to department heads, college administrators, and a county emergency operations center.

Joshua Bolkan, multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal, Sept. 11, 2013. He can be reached at

Mary Jane DittmarMARY JANE DITTMAR is senior associate editor of Fire Engineering and conference manager of FDIC. Before joining the magazine in January 1991, she served as editor of a trade magazine in the health/nutrition market and held various positions in the educational and medical advertising fields. She has a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism and a master’s degree in communication arts.

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