An untested and untrained plan is little more than theory. After developing school/college emergency plans a training program should be designed to educate students, parents, teachers, staff, crisis team members and administrators in threat assessment procedures, emergency response, management policies and procedures. Once training is implemented, exercises should be conducted to test the plans and training.
Currently, most educational facilities have adopted a training philosophy that embraces performing extremely well under reasonable conditions, rather than performing reasonably well under extreme conditions. For example:
Lockdown, Weather, Earthquake & Fire Drills Deficiencies
Staff has advanced knowledge of the exact time of the drill and the drill occurs when all students are in the classroom.
After two or three successful drills, limit advanced knowledge to the day of the event and implement the drills during transition times. Note: Avoid conducting drills during meal periods, due to the costs associates with missed lunches. To test response, set up a mock lunch period with students and staff.
Once you have your drills up and running, it is time to conduct training exercises. Tabletop & functional exercises use vivid scenarios, guided by experienced and certified facilitators, to engage participants in discussions of how they would respond to hypothetical events. Tabletops are designed to be a non-threatening and relatively low cost approach to validating capabilities. Use Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) based exercises to explore and validate plans, identify logical or structural conflicts or gaps in those plans and develop specific areas for further study and improvement. Scenario should be coordinated/developed with local emergency management and public safety.
This post is provided by SafePlans (www.safeplans.com), an all-hazards preparedness solution including emergency plans, staff training, and detailed site mapping.
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