NEWARK – In an effort to continue to improve and enhance existing safety protocols, the Worcester County Board of Education accepted an in-kind donation of emergency response shields from Hardwire, LLC.
At its July 12, meeting, the Worcester County Board of Education accepted a donation from Pocomoke City-based company Hardwire, LLC to fully outfit every school in Worcester County with the latest generation of its Emergency Response Shields.
In 2018, Hardwire had previously donated two Emergency Response Shields to each school as well as the Worcester County Board of Education Office, and outfitted Pocomoke High School with 30 shields as part of a whole-school pilot program.
“We remain incredibly grateful for the generosity and support shown by our local business community, and Hardwire, LLC, is no exception. George and Emily Tunis have been an instrumental partner to WCPS in this critical area for schools,” Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor said. “It’s clear that learning cannot happen if students don’t feel safe within their learning environment. The shields donated by Hardwire provide us with another tool in our multi-faceted approach to safety and security in our schools.”
The Emergency Response Shields, manufactured locally by Hardwire, LLC, meet the Level III ballistic protection standards of the National Institute of Justice, meaning they are built to withstand ammunition from assault rifles, handguns and shotguns.
Each school will receive an appropriate number of shields to be installed strategically throughout each building alongside other life-saving tools such as fire extinguishers. This placement, according to Hardwire, is designed so the shields are easily accessible throughout each building for use by able-bodied individuals inside the school as well as by first responders arriving on site in a crisis. This deployment mimics fire code where fire extinguishers are already evenly distributed in case of a fire; in this case, Emergency Response Shields are distributed in the case of gunfire.
In conjunction with the installation of the shields, Hardwire will continue to provide a comprehensive training program for administration, teachers and staff which will be implemented and maintained in partnership with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.
“Events like Uvalde are family and community-shattering. The safety of students and teachers in our local community is extremely important to us,” said George Tunis, CEO of Hardwire. “Hardwire is proud to take a proactive role in providing security and peace of mind to Worcester County and the Lower Shore, and we applaud Worcester County for its leadership in ensuring tools are available to staff and students to deter and protect against active shooters.”