The Woodward News

Local News

February 18, 2014

High Plains sets up new system for emergency management

Woodward, Okla. — High Plains Technology Center is in the process of implementing a new web-based emergency management system for its campus.

Using software known as NaviGate Prepared the school is now able to upload its emergency management documents and information to a cloud storage system, according to HPTC Superintendent Dwight Hughes.

These documents include everything from a map of the school to lists of emergency response procedures such as evacuation plans, Hughes said.

He said the school map is important for helping people within the school know where specific areas or items are when trying to address an emergency situation.

For example, Hughes said, "the map has an AED icon that you can click on so that if someone were to have a heart attack and you didn't know where the AED was located, you can just click on the icon and it will bring up the area on the map where the device is located.  You can then click on that area of the map and it will bring up a photo of that area of the school, so you will know what it looks like and know if you've made it to the right place or not."

Other icons can be used to show the locations of tornado shelter areas, fire alarm pull stations, exits, security cameras, and even gas shut off valves, he said.

In addition to still photos of the different areas, Hughes said the school is currently in the process of adding detailed floor plans, so that people will be able to find the exact location of certain items as well as the general area.

While emergency management plans and procedures are subject to change, Hughes said he is hoping to have most of the school's current emergency management documents and information uploaded to the NaviGate Prepared system by the fall.  From there, he said documents can then be updated as needed.

"Basically what we purchased was the software, and now we build the webpage with all our information," he said.

Hughes said the NaviGate Prepared software cost the school about $3,000, but that included having personnel from the development company Lauren Innovations come to help the HPTC staff know how to build and implement the program.

He said he feels the program is worth the cost for 2 important reasons.

"What I liked is that it pulls all our emergency preparedness information into one spot and that it is web-based so that we have access no matter where we are," he said, noting "All our emergency preparedness documents can be loaded into these virtual binders and with it being web-based I can get to the information from home, from here (at the school), or even if I was in the city."

This accessibility factor is really important, Hughes said because an emergency can happen at any time while he and other school officials cannot be at the school all the time.

"With as mobile as we are anymore, it just makes sense," he said.  "Because if an emergency were to happen here, who knows who might be here. I might be at the Capitol in Oklahoma City and not have the information with me.  But now with a smart phone, I can pull up all the information from the one site.  So, for example, we have had a lot of construction recently and if someone were to hit a gas line, I could still pull up the information even from Oklahoma City and be able to tell someone here where to go to shut the gas off."

And it's not just about making the emergency preparedness information available to school officials, but also to emergency officials.

"One of our goals is to eventually have it so that fire and police can access the information as well," Hughes said.

That way if there was ever an emergency situation that required police or fire response, those authorities would have access to whatever information they might need to address that particular situation, he said.

"There's a lot of buildings in town and we can't expect the fire and police to know where everything is in every building, so this will help them out with knowing where to find things on our campus," he said.

To illustrate his point, Hughes said, "If we had a call come in about an intruder in the welding shop, but the police might not know where the welding shop is or what it looks like, so with this system, they can just click on the map and know right where to go."

As another example, he said, "if we had a tornado, the first responders could pull this system up and see where all the tornado shelters are at, to know where, if heaven forbid, they had to try to dig people out, to know where those areas would be."

Hughes said the school has been fortunate so far to not have faced any serious emergencies such as those discussed above, but that doesn't mean the school won't face one in the future.

"To me a lot of why we did it was just to be proactive," he said.  "And also to make it as simple as possible, so that if something was to happen then we will have all our information in one spot."

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