On June 14, 2023, Texas passed a bill to improve school security. In addition to expanding mental health training for school staff and securing schools with armed officers, the legislation also requires schools to provide building maps to local emergency responders.
Accurate and up-to-date maps are essential tools for preparing and responding to an emergency. Here’s what school districts in Texas should know about the new building safety requirements and how security maps are used in an emergency.
New Building Safety Measures In House Bill 3
House Bill 3 creates a new safety and security department within the Texas Education Agency. The department will monitor school districts’ compliance with safety requirements including the intruder detection audits ordered by Governor Greg Abbott.
Silent Panic Alert Technology
Each classroom must have a silent alarm that immediately contacts local authorities and emergency services. The alarm does not satisfy the requirement for employees to have classroom access to a telephone or other electronic communication device.
Emergency Response Map and Walk-Through
Every school district must provide the Texas Department of Public Safety and local emergency responders with an accurate map of the campus and school building. The appropriate authorities must also have an opportunity to conduct a walk-through of each campus using the supplied maps. For counties with a population under 350,000, sheriffs are required to lead semiannual school safety meetings with local law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and school leaders.
Facilities Standards Review
Once every five years, the Texas School Safety Center will review the facility standards for instructional facilities and make recommendations to ensure the standards reflect current best practices.
Safety and Security Requirements for Facilities
Districts must ensure each school complies with the safety and security standards, including performance standards and operational requirements. The district must also develop and maintain documentation of its implementation and compliance with school safety and security standards.
Texas Schools Need Accurate Security Maps and Security Maps
Security maps are detailed maps schools can use to prepare for and respond to emergency situations. They often include emergency resources like labeled hallways and stairwells, exit points, camera locations, utility shut-offs, and alarm control panels. First responders need these critical details about your school building’s infrastructure to strategically plan their response efforts.
Work With The Safety Mapping Experts at Building Maps
Creating accurate floor plans and safety maps from scratch is tedious and difficult. Not only do you have to take precise measurements of your facility and accurately depict key features, but you also need a trained illustrator to ensure your maps are code-compliant and up-to-date.
The Building Maps team of safety experts and professional illustrators has collaborated with school districts of all sizes to create and maintain reliable and easy-to-read safety maps. We’re ready to help you meet all the emergency mapping requirements of House Bill 3.
Additional Resources for Texas Schools
The Texas School Safety Commission offers a variety of toolkits for emergency planning.