The Zachary Community School District is enhancing its all-hazards emergency preparedness program by implementing a multi-year project that will update emergency plans and implement SafePlans, a national homeland security consulting firm that specializes in providing the technology, tools and training needed to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from incidents that impact daily operations, a news release said.

SafePlans integrates emergency management and homeland security best practices to safeguard people and places by using proven strategies, innovative thinking and the latest in technologies, district officials said.

“The safety and security of our schools has always been a top priority,” School Board President Hubie Owen said. “This will build upon our existing programs and provide our district employees and public safety partners with technology that can help make our schools even safer and more prepared.”

The Safer Schools Program leverages the SafePlans Emergency Response Information Portal, a secure emergency preparedness application designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as qualified anti-terrorism technology.

With the program, the Zachary School District’s updated emergency plans will be available to authorized personnel in multiple user-friendly formats. Security assessments, online emergency response training for staff and the secure sharing of pertinent information with local public safety agencies are critical components of the program, district officials said.

Using his experience as a Louisiana state trooper and SWAT team member, Brad Spicer, president of SafePlans and creator of SAFE, developed ERIP with an emphasis on practical application.

“ERIP was developed as a tool that helps protect good people from bad things. Our mission is to help,” Spicer said.

Superintendent Scott Devillier said safety is always a top priority of the Zachary school system.

“SafePlans is a tool that will allow us to be proactive. The experience that comes with this program is very valuable in helping us to work with our first responders in keeping our students and employees safe,” Devillier said. “We understand that safe and secure schools are a product of effective planning, training and collaboration with local public safety agencies, and we’re committed to providing the resources and expertise to help make our schools safe and secure.”