Federal Grant to Enhance Safety Procedures

November 7, 2003
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has received an Emergency Response and Crisis Management grant award of $626,713 from the United States Department of Education.

The award to MCPS provides an opportunity for the school system to enhance the comprehensive safety and security efforts already in place and will include expanded communication to school personnel, students, and parents regarding emergency response procedures.

The collaborative partnership between MCPS and other local agencies has greatly strengthened the school system’s emergency preparedness efforts and is a key component of the activities outlined in the grant proposal. The partnership includes Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Crisis Center, Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Office of the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area.

Much of the MCPS grant will be used to produce brochures and a series of videotapes to enhance outreach to students and parents, train school staff and first responders, and improve communication within schools and with county agencies.

Plans also include the purchase of emergency equipment such as Nextel phones for high school security team leaders and Palm Pilots for schools, so they can conveniently store student rosters, student schedules, identification and location of students and staff with special needs, and other pertinent data that must be accessed quickly in a crisis situation. Additional security for portable classrooms and enhanced mental health support also are part of the planned improvements, as well as additional training in First Aid and CPR for staff and students.

MCPS received the fifth largest award of 134 school system recipients nationwide and the largest award in Maryland. There were 551 competitive grant applications from local educational agencies across the county.

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