Florence school district gets mobile command unit to keep students safe

 FLORENCE, SC - (WMBF) - Florence School District One is staying ahead of school emergencies by investing in a mobile command unit, much like what police use.

Florence One says it got the idea of a mobile command unit after researching what other school districts in the U.S. are doing to help keep students safe.

Florence One is the only district in South Carolina with a mobile Command unit.

“They would line up on the outside and we would be able to match every student with every parent,” said Lionel Brown, assistant superintendent of administrative services.

The two room RV once had a kitchen and couches, but after five months of renovations it's now ready to be used in an emergency situation.

“We are prepared to deal with the unforeseen,” Brown said.

“If law enforcement directs us to evacuate a school, we are able to do that without excuse and delay,” Brown said.

The command unit lets school leaders to look up information concerning your child.

Information like health records, parent and guardian contacts can be accessed. The unit can even look inside the school, while parked outside.

“It doesn't matter where we are, through technology, we are able to pull up that school's location and be able to display that and see exactly what's happening inside that facility,” Brown said.

School leaders said the unit will provide order in a chaotic situation.

“It's critical that we stay at the ready and prepare to deal with whatever faces us as a school district and again this is part of our initiative,” Brown said.

Also included in that initiative is a unique partnership with the Florence Police Department, sheriff's office and Florence County Emergency Management.

It also takes a team of people from the district to run the command center.

In all, the district spent less than $25,000 on the new unit.

Even so, the hope is that it will never have to be used.

“How can you count costs when we are talking about the safety of our most precious assets -- which are our students?” Brown said

The district says it can have the command center up and running at any school in the district in less than 45 minutes.

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