Prepared Response, Inc., Communication Tool Keeps Students Safe During Flooding

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With Rapid Responder® Easy Alert, School District Personnel Were Able to Communicate and Prevent a Potential Disaster.

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Easy Alert was a cost effective way to internally communicate with our personnel, including staff, maintenance, and administrators. It allows us timely communication on one platform, something we previously struggled with.

With the large amount of rainfall experienced during the winter months in the Pacific Northwest, communities must be prepared to deal with emergencies ranging from landslides to flooding. The Monroe School District in Monroe, Wash., recently experienced a minor natural disaster and needed a quick and efficient way to enact and share emergency response plans to evacuate students safely and shelter them in place until reunification with families could occur. To do this, the school utilized Easy Alert, a browser-based communication tool that is integrated with Rapid Responder®, an emergency preparedness and response system.

On November 17, 2015, the Monroe area faced regional flooding, causing hazardous driving conditions across the county. Because of local flooding and a fatal collision, buses could not complete their routes and administrators had to find a central location to house those students who could not be safely taken home.

During their normal routes buses were stopped by flooded roadways and downed trees, making a hazardous condition for drivers and students still on the bus. With the need to relay information quickly to and from multiple departments, district administrators activated Easy Alert for quick and efficient correspondence.

Using Easy Alert, administrators communicated with each other to identify a central location not experiencing flooding which was accessible to all buses via clear roadways for student shelter in place procedures. Administrators notified transportation personnel real-time in Easy Alert to take students to the elementary school gymnasium, where administrators were preparing to welcome the students, check them in and notify their emergency contacts regarding reunification procedures. Drivers used their radios to update transportation personnel, who entered the information into Easy Alert. Drivers assisted in preparation and continuation of student safety by communicating how many students they were bringing, their bus route, and estimated time of arrival to the elementary school.

Pat Mata, Transportation Secretary for the district explained, “We were in constant contact with drivers via radios and with district administrators via Easy Alert. We were basically the middle-man to a constantly changing situation.” Mata also raved about the simplicity, “We were blown away that confusion never set in and that Easy Alert was simple and met all of our needs. Easy Alert proved to be an invaluable asset to our dedication to student safety that day.”

This situation could have been chaotic, lacked effective communication, and ended very differently; however, the Monroe School District was well prepared, had emergency plans in place, and were able to communicate with important parties. All students were safe and accounted for thanks to the quick action of district administrators and their dedicated use of Easy Alert.

“It is important to us that our products aid our customers in their responses and that the capabilities meet their safety and security needs,” said Tobey Bryant, Chief Executive Officer for Prepared Response. “Easy Alert has been proven to meet requirements for quick communication and is an invaluable tool to effectively handle both natural disasters and man-made threats.”

In 2015, Prepared Response, Inc., the company behind the Rapid Responder digital technology, released Easy Alert to empower key personnel and first responders to communicate quickly and easily for evolving incidents that may arise. Monroe School District saw Easy Alert as an opportunity to take their district’s preparation to the next level. In August 2015, the district trained key administrators and personnel on the features and uses of Easy Alert.

“We were drawn to the use of Easy Alert because the Rapid Responder system has been a great asset to our safety and security plans and procedures for the district,” said Jeff Beazizo. “Easy Alert was a cost effective way to internally communicate with our personnel, including staff, maintenance, and administrators. It allows us timely communication on one platform, something we previously struggled with.”

Monroe School District is a legacy Rapid Responder customer, implementing the system 10 years ago. Prior to the use of Easy Alert, Monroe School District had a system in place to email staff and administrators updates of any particular incident, but it quickly become apparent that communication needed to be better. The district realized staff sheltering in place or evacuating were not near their computers to receive updates, so communication was less than effective. Beazizo says the use of Easy Alert changed that for them and allowed for timely information to be dispersed and communication lines to be open.

This incident in November 2015 is not the only time Easy Alert has been activated by Monroe School District. In January of 2016, one school had an unknown trespasser and Easy Alert was used to communicate internally about a lockdown and the steps taken to mitigate risk. Also in January 2016, there was a bus incident in which administrators used Easy Alert to take pictures of the damage, images of completed forms, and logged all significant actions taken.

Easy Alert has been a powerful tool in the way Monroe School District responds to incidents and emergencies on its campuses.

“The Prepared Response team is always pleased to hear that our products are able to help during a crisis situation,” says Prepared Response CEO Bryant. “Being well organized, distributing critical information, and having the ability to communicate is what mitigates risk, just like Monroe School District recently experienced.”

Easy Alert is a browser based system, allowing for use on any device with an Internet connection. The Easy Alert login screen can be saved to home screens for quick access. The system allows users to take and post images of their surroundings, report their location using latitude and longitude, and more. Easy Alert incidents are saved and stored automatically for post-incident reviews and legal purposes.

ABOUT PREPARED RESPONSE, INC.
Prepared Response Inc. is the leading innovator of emergency preparedness and crisis management solutions in the nation. For over a decade, Prepared Response has provided industry leading technology and consulting services that have been proven to save lives and mitigate property damage. Our technology and collaborative approach enables facility owners, first responders, and other community stakeholders to act quickly, decisively, and safely during man-made or natural emergency incidents.

Used by over 1,200 public agencies nationwide, Rapid Responder® is certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act and endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association. Rapid Responder® protects more than 16,000 facilities and is currently deployed in educational facilities, public buildings, critical infrastructure, and private facilities across the U.S.

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Samantha Caron
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