Swanton Schools to implement new safety response system

Staff Report

In an effort to further improve the safety of Swanton’s students while also helping to ensure compliance with Ohio’s school safety plan statute, the district has decided to use an emergency response safety system known as NaviGate Prepared.

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. 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.

“If an emergency strikes Swanton, teachers and other staff must act quickly to keep our students safe.” said Schlade. “NaviGate helps us to do so in the most efficient way possible with their safety app for mobile devices.”

In an emergency situation, NaviGate Prepared includes the ability to integrate floor plans and reunification procedures, tap into live security camera feeds, and quickly locate key resources, such as gas, water, and electrical shut-off valves, entrances and exits, designated evacuation sites, individual classroom numbers, and more. When coupled with the district’s Multi-Agency Radio Communications (MARCS) device, emergency personnel are just a “pressed button” away, enabling those responders access to building floor plans, and other necessary information at their fingertips.

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, released Jan. 5 by the Ohio Department of Education.

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.

“With the ever-changing rules and regulations at the state level, NaviGate Prepared provides an affordable service that will keep our district compliant with those safety requirements,” said Schlade. “It also provides assurances for us and our families that we have the best technology in place should the unthinkable occur.”

The superintendent said that numerous northwest Ohio schools have used NaviGate and the system came highly recommended.

“Steve Smith has been instrumental in seeing this through, and earlier this year he and Jason Longbrake visited Evergreen to see how they have used NaviGate Prepared,” said Schlade. “Wauseon is another local district we know is using it. As a result of our research, we believe that NaviGate Prepared is a proven school safety information and emergency response system designed to assist and prepare school officials and first responders before, during and after a crisis.”

For the initial year, services and licensing to NaviGate Prepared cost $10,700, $2,000 of that for licensing. “Though in the whole scope of student and staff safety, it’s a small price to pay. I would like to emphasize that the servicing cost was higher than other area districts due to the fact that we have more buildings to actually service and account for,” said Schlade.

Going forward, the Annual License Renewal will be $500 per building in year two and all recurring years.

Navigate Prepared is expected to be fully functional by the end of this school year, if not sooner. An update on progress is expected at the February school board meeting.

Staff Report