Could 3D school mapping be a new tool for school safety?

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) It's been just over two weeks since that deadly school shooting in Marshall County. In the wake of what happened there, school districts across the state have been looking at and revaluating their school safety plans. WKYT's Amber Philpott recently found a new high tech approach that could help first responders and school officials not only train for, but respond faster in the event of another situation where just seconds count.

The dispatch tapes released from the January 23 morning are chilling.

"If you could respond to Marshall County High School. Five shots fired, four down at the high school at Marshall," said a dispatcher.

It is a school administrator's worst fear, what happened at Marshall County High School now has schools all around the state on heightened alert.

"It is not something that we ever thought of, but it seems to be more common as the years go on, so it does weigh heavy on me and the teachers," said Jamie Burch, principal of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School.

Jamie Burch is in her second year as principal at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Lexington. The safety of her students is her number one concern. Her teachers all have safety plans, emergency kits and go through drills.

"Honestly, one of the things that came up was what would I do if that happened, how would I help those coming to help us, that is not something I had thought of previously. So do I have the blueprints I need, do I have everything I need for the first responders so they can do what they need to do quickly," said Burch.

A certain type of camera could be a way for school officials like Burch to give full access to first responders before they ever step foot inside the building. Bill Gregory is the founder of Enomalies, a Mt. Vernon based company specializing in advanced imaging.

"We've done everything from opera screens, robotics to scanning of archaeology artifacts and then we got into the military side of scanning for the military," said Bill Gregory, Enomalies.

Those military scans used for training gave Gregory an idea, what if he used that technology in schools. Gregory did scans of the Sts. Peter and Paul School and with a simple click of the mouse it lets you walk right down the hallway and even into classrooms as if you were right there. Gregory says a scan like this can be useful for active shooter training and other drills.

"You could use this to virtually walk through in a headset and know everything that is in the building before they go in there and look for pinch points problems and then you could do rehearsals where you could actually put an offender in the room," said Gregory.

To show us how the scans are done we brought the Enomalies team to WKYT.

"So right now as it's rotating around it's sending out a bunch IR (infrared) dots."

The cameras are placed in set points to scan the area around it and then it's moved every couple of feet. The result is a 3d interior model of a hallway at the WKYT station. The scans can easily be viewed on computers, phones or in virtual reality.

"In a sense it would be kind of like Google maps on your phone," said Brandon Remley.

We took those school scans straight to first responders in Scott Co., the first ones in the building if there was an emergency. One look and the EMS Director told us this technology could certainly save valuable seconds.

"Anytime you are looking at something that looks more natural than a black and white map would be of great use. Being able to see door colors, colors of hallway doors, being able to see things that as you come into a building might be especially if someone is not familiar with the building," said Brandon Remley, EMS Director, Georgetown/Scott Co. EMS.

At Sts. Peter and Paul, Principal Burch has already added her scans to the school's safety plan.

"I think the scans are so much more helpful than the blueprints of the building, its more live action like something they can really follow and figure out where they need to go," said Burch.

It's is a high tech approach that Bill Gregory says is an option that could make a difference if tragedy strikes.

"I don't want to see another thing happen and then wish again that something had not been done," said Gregory.

You are probably thinking this has to be expensive and that is a question we posed to Bill Gregory. We asked Gregory what he would charge a school, he says he is still coming up with that amount, but it would billed on an hourly rate maybe for a few hundred dollars. He did tell us though he work with districts to come up with something. We also reached out to Jon Akers with the Kentucky Center for School Safety to get his take and he said he was unaware of any schools using this and was very interested to learn more about the scans. For more about this company and the scans click on the link provided with this story.

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