HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico is planning to increase school safety by implementing new maps and signs that will make its schools easier for first responders to navigate.
The idea began in June and was discussed at a recent school board meeting. On Oct. 27, the school district’s office of public safety and emergency management shared the findings of a safety panel about what Henrico Schools can do to improve exterior security and access points for first responders.
According to Henrico County Public Schools emergency manager Courtney Berry, these improvements are critical since safety is always changing for the district.
“It’s revolving. We can’t be complacent,” Berry said. “Just because we do something well today doesn’t mean it’s going well tomorrow.”
Henrico Schools is looking to improve security by making 3D digital mapping of the schools that will be more helpful for first responders.
“It really provides live viewings of the floor plans and aerial mapping,” Berry said. “If someone were to call 911 within a school building, the communications department would automatically be able to see a pin drop in in the specific location where the call is coming from.”
The school district recently received a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice to make these new maps a reality.
Another priority for Henrico Schools is increasing the number of access points for staff throughout the buildings and standardizing school signage. While the district has signage for exit door numbers and classroom numbers inside all of its schools, the signage is not consistent from school to school.
“You might see a different sign at one school versus a sign you see at another school,” Berry said.
Berry does not know when students and staff will see these improvements. Henrico Schools is looking at whether it needs allocate or secure funding before these changes can be made.