Cameras Let Emergency Workers Peek Into Frisco Schools

Firefighters say surveillance system is game-changing


From a chemical spill to something much more serious, the Frisco school district says it's better prepared for a disaster than any other school district in the country.

The district has implemented a surveillance system that gives emergency responders unprecedented access to the schools.

"I've said a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and with this program, we have a lot of pictures," Frisco Fire Chief Mack Borchardt said.

Emergency responders can look inside the halls of every school in the district with just a touch of the fingertip. For example, Frisco firefighter Chris Miller was able to watch a live shot of the main hallway of a school from his firetruck.

The new technology, more than a year in the making, is called SAFER: Situational Awareness for Emergency Response.

"It gives police and fire much more time to respond and much more information as to what might be happening," said Dan Mossakowski, president of the Frisco school board.

While SAFER was designed with the students in mind, firefighters said they suspect they system will benefit them as well.

"Where you don't want to rush in, it can give you a chance to assess the scene from a safe distance," Miller said.

The Frisco Independent School District spent $400,000 on the new technology.

"The primary focus right now is on the schools and the schoolchildren, but it will expand to other parts of the community," Borchardt said.

District officials dismiss any references to "Big Brother," saying Frisco schools already have surveillance cameras in place.

A district spokesperson said the new program doesn't call for any new cameras, just new ways to access the video.

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