Local Schools Adding Safety Plan App


By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Jared Roberts

WILLIAMSON CO. -- Everything from textbooks to testing can now be found on tablets and computers. Now a pair of local districts are making their safety plans digital.

School districts in Marion and Wayne City have signed up to use the CrisisGo app. The goal is to let teachers and staff have step-by-step instructions on how the district wants to handle emergencies. It also allows them to communicate while they wait for help to arrive.
It's a device that's already found in hands and pockets. It can let school staff know in a moment's notice of a dangerous situation or a medical emergency.
CrisisGo is a safety plan app for phones, tablets, and computers. It was developed by a Marion-based company last year for a school district near Chicago.
"They wanted to make them mobile," said Midwest Director of Regional Sales Ed Renshaw. "They found that people simply did not run to three-ring binders when they had emergency situations."
The program has since been picked up by more than 70 districts in about 30 states.
"You can text, you can video, you can instant message everyone in your district by individual or by group so that they know what's going on," said Renshaw. 
So far, the app hasn't been needed for a major emergency. However, schools are using the maps, contact lists, and communication tools for drills.
"Can look during the drill, after the drill, at a reporting tool that tells them 'Okay what did each teacher do?,'" said Renshaw. "'What did each staff member do?'"
The Marion School District started training with CrisisGo last week. It's one of the safety upgrades they're making for the new school year.
"If there's anyway that we can continue to do a better job in that area, we're going to try to do that," said Superintendent Keith Oates. 
Oates likes that the app could speed up response times and add a digital layer to the protocol they already have in place.
"Any time you can have information in the palm of your hand, and access that and communicate with other people or groups of people, that's to your advantage," said Oates. 
The Marion School District will also be using grant money this year to put in better security at the school entrances.
Right now, CrisisGo is focused on school emergencies. However, they could look at developing a program for hospitals and workplaces in the future.
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