First Things First – Conduct Your Exercises in Proper Order
When drills are done properly, they can build support for emergency preparedness.
The emergency management community has spent decades developing the progressive exercise approach to drills and exercises. The events of September 11, 2001 led to the development of another detailed approach to exercises from the federal homeland security perspective. At the same time, it is still quite common to see full - scale exercises being conducted in K-20 organizations that do not follow the progressive exercise approach.
For maximum benefit, increased safety and improved confidence of personnel, it is a really good idea to follow the progressive exercise approach using a series of drills, tabletop exercises and functional exercises prior to conducting a full-scale exercise. There have been many situations where a campus full-scale exercise has gone badly because this approach was not followed. Campus organizations have faced significant loss of confidence by students, staff and the public. People have been hurt and in at least one instance, death has occurred as the result of an improperly conducted school exercise.
Taking the time to utilize a series of drills and exercises that are planned and coordinated by folks who have formal training in exercise design and evaluation can help get the true benefit of the concept while avoiding the sometimes significant problems that arise when this approach has been skipped. A proper approach to the exercise process can build tremendous improvement and support for emergency preparedness measures.
David Burns serves as the campus Emergency Manager (EM) for Santa Clara University. During his 30+ year public safety career, Dave has served as a paramedic operations manager in Oakland, Calif.; EMS system administrator and regional disaster planner; EM Director for UCLA and local emergency manager in LA County, and consultant for FEMA/Emergency Management Institute (EMI).
Jim Grayson is a senior security consultant. His career spans more than 35 years in law enforcement and security consulting. He worked for UCLA on a workplace violence study involving hospitals, schools and small retail environments and consulted with NIOSH on a retail violence prevention study.
Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East.
Robin has been covering the security and campus public safety industries since 1998 and is a specialist in emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorials on important campus safety issues, including gang prevention, grants and funding, network integration, IP video, emergency notification, emergency management and communications, crime trends and risk management.