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					  SCHOOL SAFETY NEWS

 Rapid Responder Crisis Management System
Helps Emergency O cials Avert School Tragedy
                        An Inside Look at the Lewis & Clark High School Incident.


F
       or Jon Swett, principal of Lewis      relay crucial information
       and Clark High School in              about the layout and the
       Spokane, Washington, the crisp        gunman’s location to
       fall day started out like any         arriving officers. Following
other … a staff meeting, a concerned         the Columbine incident,
parent, and budget issues. Suddenly a        the Spokane Police
distraught student teacher burst into        department implemented
his office, breathless from running          the “active shooter’
down three flights of stairs, and            response, meaning that
screaming about a student firing a gun       the first arriving patrol
in her third floor science classroom.        officers would form up
                                             in a team of three to four
While office staff called 911, Swett         and immediately enter
responded with his district resource         the building to isolate
officer (DRO) up an ornate wooden            the gunman. The SWAT
stairway to the third floor where a          team, which takes longer
student had barricaded himself in a          to mobilize, would take over once they
corner classroom. Swett had to make          arrived and suited up.
a quick decision; it was lunchtime
at Lewis and Clark, and following            At Lewis and Clark, officials quickly
tradition, thousands of students were        set up a command post in a vacant
sitting in the hallways eating lunch.        classroom and brought up the
Procedure called for a lockdown, but         Rapid Responder program on a
that would not work in this situation.       nearby computer. The program can                      Rapid Responder Site View
After a quick discussion with his            be accessed via the Internet, via
                                                                                        The SWAT team, now taking over from
DRO, they made the decision to pull          a network, or through a portable
                                                                                        the active shooter team, positioned
the fire alarm. Over 2,000 students, well    USB storage device carried by
                                                                                        themselves outside of Room 307 where
practiced in evacuating the building         DROs and first responders. Police,
                                                                                        the gunman was barricaded. They were
during fire drills, quickly exited the       fire, and emergency services in
                                                                                        concerned when he popped his head
school to pre-assigned relocation points.    the Spokane area all adhere to the
                                                                                        out of three different doorways along
                                             Incident Command System, whereby
At the same time, Spokane Public                                                        the 3rd floor hallway. Back at the
                                             responders play pre-determined roles
Schools Director of Safety & Risk                                                       command post, officials using Rapid
                                             during an emergency, independent
Management, Joe Madsen, quickly                                                         Responder accessed the floor plan
                                             of their rank or agency. This high
mobilized his staff of safety officers via                                              and saw that Room 307 and Room
                                             level of coordination made a world of
mobile phone and fell in behind police                                                  305 were connected by an internal
                                             difference in their ability to quickly
cars speeding towards the high school.                                                  doorway. When the opportunity
                                             respond and mitigate the critical
Using a new technology called Rapid                                                     presented itself, the SWAT team
                                             situation at the high school.
Responder that had been recently                                                        quickly blocked the doorway to isolate
implemented at the school, a DRO at          “In 12 minutes we responded, contained     the gunman to the single classroom.
another district school accessed the         the shooter, and evacuated the school. I
                                                                                        As a negotiator began talking with
program via laptop computer. The             was in the command post and I couldn’t
                                                                                        the gunman, officials in the command
crisis response software displayed           believe it,” said Roger Bragdon, Spokane
                                                                                        post noticed that the corner room
an overview of the school and the            Chief of Police. “Every question we
                                                                                        he occupied had unobstructed views
floor plan of Room 307 where the             had and every contingency we had to
                                                                                        of both the grassy fields where the
gunman was barricaded. The DRO               plan for was answered by the Rapid
                                                                                        students had evacuated to, but also the
called police dispatch and began to          Responder system.”
eight lanes of traffic on the adjacent      possible hazardous chemicals, also         the gunmen, the ability to shut off
Interstate 90 freeway. Again, turning       used Rapid Responder to print out a        utilities and cable TV, and the lack
to Rapid Responder, officials viewed        list of all chemicals stored in Room       of pre-planning and coordination
aerial photos of the site and decided to    307. The printout listed the type of       among responding police and fire
move the students under the overhead        chemicals, their location, quantity,       units, all added to what was an already
freeway where they would be out of          and the Material Safety Data Sheets        confusing and traumatic scene.
the line of fire.                           (MSDS) that profiled the chemical’s
                                            characteristics and safety precautions.    Rapid Responder addresses these
Using contacts listed in Rapid                                                         crucial concerns and provides
Responder, Madsen called the                With all the students safely evacuated,    all responding agencies with a
transportation vendor and asked             all the roads blocked off, and the         single database containing all the
them to immediately send twenty             gunman isolated to a single location,      information they need to make real
buses over to relocate the students         it became a waiting game between           time tactical decisions. Valuable time
to an alternative site. The vendor          the SWAT team and the gunman.              is saved by pre-planning roadblocks,
had participated in the preplanning         Unfortunately, the gunman chose            command post locations, observation
sessions that are part of the Rapid         to provoke the SWAT team who               posts, and a myriad of other details.
Responder program, and immediately          were forced to fire in self-defense.       At Columbine, every minute saved
understood what was needed. At the          The wounded student was quickly            in response time could have equaled
same time, a list of pre-determined         evacuated by waiting paramedics to a       actual lives saved.
roadblocks from Rapid Responder             nearby hospital where he eventually
was sent to the Spokane City Streets        survived his wounds.                       Rapid Responder provides first
Department to block adjacent streets,                                                  responders instant access to over 300
and another to the Washington State         “By pre-planning for this type of          data points, including floor plans,
Patrol to block access to the eight lanes   event, and using the Rapid Responder       indoor and outdoor building photos,
of Interstate 90. Valuable time was         program during the actual incident,        hazardous material locations, and
saved because all the roadblocks were       we were able to contain the shooter        directions to key public facilities
determined during the pre-planning          within 12 minutes, quickly block off all   such as schools and hospitals, all of
sessions with school officials, police,     access to the school and the freeway,      which saves critical time and allows
fire, State Patrol, and emergency           and safely evacuate over 2,000 students    responders to focus on solving the
services that are part of the Rapid         within 20 minutes” said School             crisis or emergency at hand.
Responder implementation.                   Safety Director Joe Madsen. “More
                                            importantly, with the students offsite     Prepared Response, Inc. not only
Another problem quickly developed           during the actual shooting, they were      builds, provides, and maintains the
when the gunman asked the police            spared the psychological trauma of         information system used by the school
negotiator for matches. Fire officials      having to hear or see a fellow student     districts and public safety responders,
knew from Rapid Responder that              being subdued by police. As a result,      but provides training and consulting
Room 307 was a science lab, and as          we were able to quickly repair the         to assist in developing emergency
such, had a number of natural gas           physical damage and reopen school          preparedness plans, data collection and
outlets used for experiments. The           the next morning. With psychologists       implementation. Prepared Response,
concern was that the gunman may             available to counsel the students, we      Inc. believes that the technology alone
be suicidal. In addition, there was         were able to regain some semblance of      is not the complete solution and works
always the potential for an explosion       normality within a short time.”            closely with stakeholders to integrate
caused by any errant gunfire. Officials                                                critical facility information and
in the command post called the local        Lessons From the Tragedy                   develop effective tactical pre-plans for
gas company, which dispatched the           Prepared Response, Inc., developers        every contingency.
nearest crew to help shut off the gas.      of the Rapid Responder program, is
Unfortunately, the crew was used            an outgrowth of the many lessons
to working on residential facilities        learned following the Columbine High
and wasn’t familiar with commercial         School shooting tragedy in April 1999.
installations. Using Rapid Responder,       At Columbine, poor communications                     600 University Street, Suite 1525
officials printed out photos of the         and the lack of key school facility                                 Seattle, WA 98101
utility shut-offs valves and their          information seriously hampered the
                                                                                                                     800.705.1856
location. A police officer escorted the                                                              www.preparedresponse.com
                                            effectiveness of the responding law
utility crew and the gas was quickly        enforcement officials. This lack of          General Info: info@preparedresponse.com
shut-off. Fire officials, concerned about   critical information, including access             Sales: sales@preparedresponse.com
their people entering a room with           to school floor plans, the location of      PR Contact: gsabol@preparedresponse.com
                                                                                                                           Rev. 9_08

				
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