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DEMA investing $1 million on new school maps


The Delaware Emergency Management Agency is investing $1 million into new school maps to improve safety.

Most school maps are outdated, some drawn and highlighted with magic markers, leaving first responders with a confusing picture in the event of an emergency.

In any event, comprehensive school safety program manager Doug Scheer says new maps will be extremely detailed to help locate room numbers, entrances, exits, and even layouts of surrounding properties.

“And one of the really important things on these maps is what they call collaborative response graphics," Scheer said. "So in short it's a grid-style map. If I had said for you to go to “D5,” kind of like Battleship if you will, I could hand that map to anybody and if you looked on there and saw D5, you would know exactly where to go.”

Scheer says these maps will help first responders navigate school properties in the event of an emergency, whether it be a natural disaster, or an active shooter situation.

“So what we need to do is learn from those past events and prepare our schools in advance so that we are as proactive as we can possibly be so that we do not have to be one of those states that has a school shooting," Scheer said. "Or, if the fact that we can do everything we can to protect our schools and do everything possible, so that the response side is good and the recovery side is good.”

DEMA is partnering with New Jersey based firm Critical Response Group to collect and digitize school building blueprints. 237 public and charter schools are already sending in their most updated maps for CRG to start with.

Delaware’s General Assembly provided the funding this year as part of a $10 million allocation to the School Safety and Security Fund, which was originally established in 2018.

The entire process will be completed in 6 to 8 months before the end of the school year.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.