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April 6, 2017 -
Many emergency response plans are created in a vacuum, with no input from the end users. That’s the wrong approach to take. In today’s environment, every individual in the organization may have a role as a kind of first responder, who is expected to follow the rule, “see something, say something.” Emergency plans should be the product of an inclusive team instead of a single individual or group.
Putting together a team of subject matter experts (SME) from different departments helps in determining the overall span of the plan, including a cycle of the four phases of emergency management:
• Mitigation. Preventing emergencies and minimizing the effects if an event occurs.
• Preparedness. Identified efforts to prepare for the event.
• Response. Plans and efforts to respond safely to the event.
• Recovery. Actions needed to return the facility to normal operations.
Subject matter experts or other representatives from safety, security, human resources, public relations or communications, facilities, operations and upper management should be involved from the start of the planning phase. If plans are already in place, that team would form a good review committee to ensure that all areas are covered.
If a sizable group of a specific type of building occupant — employees, students, or faculty, for example — would be affected by any response plans, it would be wise to have a representative of that group provide input into the process. The people who ultimately are affected by an evacuation or sheltering-in order will tell you that it would be better everyone involved were told in advance what to do, what process would be used to communicate those orders, and what occupants should expect from security or law enforcement personnel. For example, during an active shooter event, law enforcement personnel will be going to the sounds of the shots to mitigate and end the shooting and will not stop to help others either injured or needing assistance. If building occupants don’t know that this is the correct protocol for police officers to follow, they may come away with a negative impression of the response.
This quick read is from Robert Lang, CPP, who works for Delta Air Lines in support of its active shooter initiative, a position he took after retiring from Kennesaw State University as the chief security officer. Read more from him about emergency preparedness.