Baldwin-Whitehall moving toward web-based emergency response plan
The Baldwin-Whitehall School District is in the early stages of reviewing and updating its emergency response procedures ahead of a move to a new web-based application.
The Mobile Emergency Response Plan, or MERP, lets faculty and staff access safety guidelines for each of the district’s facilities from their computers or smart devices.
School Safety and Security Director Bill Coddington said during the regular September Baldwin-Whitehall School Board meeting that the program will allow for easier access to emergency protocol than ones currently reliant on paper. Additionally, the application comes equipped with an instant messenger function allowing for real-time communication in the event of a fire or active shooter.
“Information concerning any critical incident or emergency can be disseminated with the touch of a finger, keeping everyone involved updated with information and, potentially, safe,” Coddington said.
The move to MERP is one improvement Coddington said he hoped to make to an otherwise solid state of security.
In a presentation to the school board Sep. 12, Coddington commended the district’s “proactive” use of keycards and school visitor tracking software. District personnel will continue to receive active shooter training through participation in the ALICE program, he said.
In the month since Coddington was hired, he has inspected district facilities and helped execute bus evacuation drills at Baldwin-Whitehall High School and McAnnulty Elementary.
Coddington said he has begun meeting with district administration to discuss the transition to MERP, although no date has been set for the switch.
The recently created safety director position centralizes security responsibilities that had previously been spread throughout the district. In the role, Coddington will, among other things, be responsible for supervising security personnel, administering district safety contracts and overseeing the district’s keycard access program.
“I would like everyone to understand that I am personally invested and committed to providing the safest learning environment that I can,” he said.
Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.