Swanton staying on top of school safety

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

The Swanton Board of Education heard an update on safety planning from high school assistance principal Steve Smith at their meeting Wednesday.

Smith first spoke of ALICE training, which in an emergency moves away from doing everything a possible gunman might ask to being more proactive. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, which are the steps to take in an active shooter situation.

Smith, placing a blue bucket on the podium, told the board about safety buckets, which are sometimes known as “go buckets.” Every classroom in the high school has the buckets and there are plans to place them in each building. They could be used inside the classroom or brought when fleeing a room or the school.

Anything can go in the buckets, but Smith first pulled out golf balls. “The idea is that you throw these things head level to distract the gunman,” said Smith.

The buckets could also include tennis balls, a ball peen hammer, and gauze or cotton for injuries.

“The idea is that you’re buying time until law enforcement gets there by putting up resistance so we don’t have as many causalities,” said Smith.

The emergency response safety system, NaviGate Prepared, was also discussed. NaviGate Prepared was developed by Ohio-based Lauren Innovations specifically for K-12 schools, and uses cloud-based technology to better prepare and assist school officials and first responders before, during, and after a crisis.

“They have so much more visuals to work with through using this program that the police know everything there is to know, pretty much, about your building, each of the buildings, before they get there,” said Smith. They can pull it up on their phone or computer and based on information from the district, they can see what they are dealing with, he added.

NaviGate Prepared has been endorsed/vetted by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) and is a trusted company as a result, according to Swanton Superintendent Jeff Schlade.

It securely organizes emergency preparedness plans and associated information, such as call lists, personnel photos, building maps, color-coded floor plans, and 360-degree photographs of important building areas, like emergency resources, hallways, and rooms. First responders and school officials have immediate, real-time access around the clock to this imperative safety information – from any Web-authorized device.

In addition to heightening school safety, the system assists school administrators with organization and submission of the four required components of Ohio’s school safety plan statute. The statute includes submission of a school safety plan, floor plans that are unique to each building floor, site plans of buildings and surrounding properties, and emergency contact information sheets.

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise

Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise