The Mobile Emergency Response Plan

by | Feb 4, 2022 | Ask Gary, Gary's Blog

Re-introducing the Mobile Emergency Response Plan:
The app that puts your Emergency Plans
in the hands of those that need it, when they need it.

In 2008, my school district was awarded the first of two, Readiness and Emergency Management in Schools (REMS) Grants. A goal of the first grant was to create an All-Hazards Emergency Response Plan and to make the plans available to every staff member. Working with First Responders and local stakeholders, our plans were approved, and we used grant funding to print the plans as flip charts. Because our plans were created with federal funding, any school or district could request our plans to use as a model for their plans.  Although I sent the plans all over the United States, I do not know of one school that used our plans because of the cost of printing was too high. After retiring from the school district, I started Safeguard Risk Solutions.  One of our goals was to find a way for schools to take our plans and make them affordable for any school or district.  In 2014, we launched the Mobile Emergency Response Plan (MERP) that gave access to the plans on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.  And although clients still have the ability to print PDFs of their plans for substitutes or First Responders, using the MERP over printed flip charts has removed the barrier of high costs to put their plans in the hands of all of their staff.

DIGITAL.

A digital alternative to printed Emergency Response Plans, the MERP is a school emergency management software that allows your Emergency Plans, Floor Plans and Contact Information to be on the desktops and mobile devices of your staff, bus drivers, and even local first responders. The MERP comes pre-loaded with emergency plans that were developed with input from five Fire Departments, four Law Enforcement Agencies, the County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and the County Board of Health.

REVISABLE.

Knowing how quickly plans can change, I designed the MERP to allow the School or District to customize and revise their plans at any time for free.  You read that correctly: unlimited revisions at no additional cost.  Once those revisions have been made, MERP users will see those updates immediately.  Instructions are provided on how to setup, customize, and revise the MERP, but I am always available to assist clients without any additional cost or package upgrade.  In addition to Emergency Plans, building floor plans and any other PDF document can be stored and retrieved by necessary personnel.

FLEXIBLE.

Maybe you’re thinking of a group of individuals who you’d like to limit the information they are able to access on the MERP.  Do parent volunteers need access to a confidential phone list of key District Personnel or First Responders?  Probably not.  Would parent volunteers benefit from having the Emergency Plan listing how they should respond to a student’s allergic reaction during a classroom party at their fingertips?  Most likely!  I’ve designed the MERP to give my clients the power to decide who has access to each piece of information they incorporate on their MERP.

SIMPLE.

Most importantly, the MERP was designed with simplicity in mind.  When designing this software, I wanted to be certain that the end-user would not require hours of training to put their emergency plans into action.  To be clear, I fully encourage users to refresh their knowledge of their emergency plans through training and exercises – that’s part of why Safeguard Risk Solutions exists! But the container that holds emergency plans should never be a stumbling block during an emergency.  The MERP is that digital container for those plans, taking them off the shelf in the Principal’s office and putting them into the hands of those that need it when they need it. Because of its design, the MERP can be implemented at your organization in less than a day. This enables your School to get started using the app immediately.

The MERP Difference

Reading through my blog posts, you will see that my goal for Safeguard Risk Solutions is to be a resource to my colleagues in School Safety.  I am always available to answer a question or provide feedback on an emergency plan, and this holds true to the clients of the MERP.  When you’re a MERP client and have a question, the person who is there to provide an answer is a person with a career that spans more than 30 years as an Educator, Administrator, and Police Officer.  Safeguard Risk Solutions is not just a software company but a wholistic school safety company, who provide exercises, safety plan content, training, and an app to put all that knowledge in the hands of your personnel.  Who would you rather talk to when you have a question about the School Safety software you just purchased: A Chat Bot programmed with answers or the experienced School Safety Professional who created the app?

INVESTMENT
Are printed emergency plans going away?  Absolutely not!  It is helpful to have a hard copy of Emergency Plans in each building, and Safeguard Risk Solutions can help with those plans. In fact, the MERP even has a print feature that allows end users to print PDF copies for backup! But to have a 100-page plan condensed and printed to laminated flipcharts with wired-binding will cost a School upwards of $35,000.00. And that is just ONE copy. When that plan changes and needs reprinted, there’s another $35,000.00 cost. I don’t know of many Schools or Districts with these funds that aren’t being allocated for something student-facing.
 
I designed the MERP to be a tool that Schools and Districts can’t afford not to have.  The base cost of a one-year license of the MERP is $750, plus $1 per user.  A ‘user’ is defined as any person who will access the MERP through their computer or mobile device and identifying your users will be a decision I can help you make during our live demo.  While Teachers are a clear choice to be included in your user list, consider your auxiliary staff, your bus drivers, and your local First Responders.  Many School Districts will provide access to the First Responders who will support their School during an emergency, so they have immediate access to building floorplans and up-to-date contact information at their fingertips.

 PRICING SCENARIO

Let’s consider a School District that has four elementary schools, an intermediate school, a middle school, and a high school that graduates approximately 350-450 students each year.  To make each Teacher, Coach, Cafeteria Worker, School Resource Officer, School Nurse, Guidance Officer, and Janitor a MERP User and provide an individual login to each local First Responder, the annual cost of the MERP is $1,180.00.  For under $1,200.00, this School District has placed their own Emergency Plans, Building Floorplans with Evacuation Maps, Contact Information with a direct-dial feature, and pre-loaded plans in the hands of the people who will be responding to an emergency.
The MERP In Action

While all of this information can seem overwhelming, remember: The MERP was designed to be simple. Simple to set up.  Simple to use.  Simple to revise.

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