Situational Awareness For Emergency Response (or SAFER) is a unique program that gives Frisco firefighters, EMTs and police officers immediate access to building information, including 'real time' video in schools and city facilities, while responding to emergencies. 

Originally designed for schools, SAFER provided Frisco's first responders school floor plans, campus photos – taken inside and out -- and aerial maps, plus lists of onsite hazardous chemicals, contact information for school administrators and 'live' video of hallways and common areas. This innovative tool is available to firefighters and police officers with a touch of a screen or click of a 'mouse' from inside their squad cars, fire trucks and ambulances. It allows first responders to begin planning how to handle the emergency even before they arrive at the school. Saving time can mean saving lives and property. 

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SAFER Logo 2009SAFER was conceived in 2008 when Frisco Independent School District (FISD) administration approached then Fire Chief Mack Borchardt with the idea of providing the City’s first responders with CDs containing school floor plans to ensure the safety of students in the event of a school emergency.  Chief Borchardt wanted to support the idea but was concerned about creating a situation where first responders had different protocols and procedures for responding to a school incident than all other incidents in the City.  His experience also told him that providing CDs to every apparatus in the Fire Department fleet and every vehicle in the Police Department fleet, then keeping them up to date would be a laborious and administratively intensive effort.  Having worked closely with the City’s Information Technology (IT) Department for several years, Chief Borchardt was certain that IT staff could develop a system leveraging Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies already in place.  It was his steadfast support, coupled with the collaborative work environment already established among IT, Fire and Police departments and the FISD that prompted city staff to develop an alternative.  Since there was a pending request for the FISD Board to execute a $350,000 contract for the procurement of the floor plan information, the Chief requested the FISD Board delay their approval allowing the City’s IT Department to get involved.  In January 2008, the team began efforts to comprehend the scope of the pre-plan project and gather project requirements which ultimately led to an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) between the FISD and the City.  The intent of the ILA was to develop, implement and maintain a pre-plan program, procuring software and hardware as needed.  This pre-plan program was ultimately named SAFER, Situational Awareness for Emergency Response.

Fireman_Smoke_FHSAt the time, information to assist Public Safety with responding to a school emergency was mainly paper based and difficult to quickly access when needed.  Only select emergency vehicles in each fire station had enough room to maintain rolling files of information.  Additionally, there were few common systems or processes in place to communicate changes to the information between the agencies involved.  An essential requirement when addressing this problem was to make sure that the way fire, police, and emergency medical personnel responded to a school event was as similar as possible to the way they trained for response to all emergencies so there would be no requirement for unique or one-off training to ensure preparedness.

SAFER Videos