Burlington County officials plan to enhance first responders effectiveness in critical emergencies.
Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs announced on Nov. 2 that the county is supporting a new digital mapping service for schools and other community organizations in the county.
The service is intended to help police, fire, and EMS personnel to not only quicken their response time,but to accurately identify the location of an emergency as well.
“Ensuring that our schools and first responders have the resources and tools they need to keep our students and communities safe are top priorities of mine,” said Freeholder Director Gibbs. “As Burlington is the only county to provide 9-1-1 emergency dispatch for every municipality and has launched a first-of-its-kind school security initiative, we have identified yet another safety measure that unfortunately is needed in this day and age. We hope every school, and other community meeting places, will participate and provide our first responders with up-to-date information that can save lives.”
County officials said in a statement that the program will rely on individual schools and other community organizations to participate in a comprehensive mapping project to populate a cloud-based database, managed by the county prosecutor’s office, and housed and operated by Burlington County Central Communications, with an up-to-date, accurate depiction of the interior and exterior grounds of their buildings.
Officials said the intended digital mapping will enable all personnel responding to an incident to have access on their smartphones or other mobile devices to updated floor plans depicted in a standardized grid, they can locate a threat or emergency as quick as possible, regardless of the responder’s familiarity with the property.
The county said it’s paying approximately $40,000 per year for the system, which includes mobile applications for first responders and data storage.
The cost for the mapping will vary from location-to-location depending on the size of the property.
Officials said that ten schools in the county have already been mapped.
“Law enforcement officers are trained to respond and engage a threat as rapidly as possible. We want to help them do it faster and more accurately,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “I am pleased to work alongside Freeholder Director Gibbs and offer this service to our schools and community organizations. Our initial engagement with superintendents across the county indicates genuine enthusiasm for the program.”
This announcement comes in light of a recent grant initiative from October, when the board of chosen freeholders committed to funding capital enhancements for security measures in multiple county school districts.
The county is accepting applications from school districts on a first-come, first-served basis with no deadline to apply.