Henrico Schools upgrading to digital school floor plans

Digital mapping will help first responders respond to emergencies quicker and more effectively.
Whether it’s a school fire or threat, first responders will now have the best information to help respond to these emergencies as quickly as possible in Henrico
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Whether it’s a school fire or threat, first responders will now have the best information to help respond to these emergencies as quickly as possible in Henrico County Public Schools.

During Thursday night’s meeting, the school board accepted 225 thousand dollars from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

“We’re continuing to look at student, staff, and community safety at every angle,” Superintendent Dr. Amy Cashwell said.

The money will go towards school safety, including a new feature called digital mapping.

These maps are aerial shots of school buildings that will help first responders react faster in an emergency.

“It shows them exactly what point the incident is occurring or where to stage or where unification would be so that they can better respond to a large school building and know which door to enter into all of those types of issues,” Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety’s Donna Michaelis said.

Over the summer, a state law took effect requiring school divisions to provide detailed digital floor plans to police and other first responders.

The school division’s Emergency Manager Cortney Berry says emergency crews have had access to school floor plans, but the digital aspect also allows the maps to be updated more quickly.

Berry says although technology enhancements are beneficial, strong relationships with community partners are the most crucial.

“It’s so important that we have folks in place that are building repour with students, talking to kids, understanding what our procedures and protocols are and enforcing those,” Berry said.

Berry adds the division continues to work on other safety protocols, which include updating video surveillance and implementing more vestibules throughout school facilities.