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The New Face of Preparedness

The devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria is a stark reminder for individuals and organizations about the importance of emergency preparedness. But while most of us think of emergency preparedness in terms of natural disasters, the fact is that organizations today face a multitude of man-made threats, including mass casualty and active shooter/active killer scenarios. While it is important to be ready to face these new threats, the preparation is very different.

An Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is the foundation upon which all incident and emergency management components are built. It is the foremost part of the preparedness phase of the emergency management cycle. Whether hazard assessment, specialized training, exercises or other incident-specific elements, all are based upon a realistic and practical EOP, which is as much about the process as it is about the EOP itself.

See also: Hurricane Harvey: A Moment of Truth  

The new face of emergency preparedness for many organizations today includes worldwide threats related to terrorism and other acts of violence. Training as a critical aspect of emergency response, continuity of operations and recovery capabilities following a disaster/mass-casualty event are imperative for both public entities and private companies alike.

At a minimum, this training should include:

  • Active Shooter/Active Killer — preparedness/response including facility design/layout considerations and post-event management/reunification/recovery
  • Threat Awareness — situational/operational security training
  • De-escalation Training — non-violent verbal intervention
  • TaPS Assessment (threat and physical security)
  • Theft/Vandalism Assessment

The key to making this training effective is to personalize it to meet the needs of the individual organization. The unique aspects of various entities and organizations must be considered in terms of content and adapted to the entity’s geographic and demographic makeup.

To accomplish this, active shooter/active killer training should take place in the actual work environment, allowing site-specific questions and issues to be addressed. Training small groups in their work environment also provides greater participant confidence and organizational readiness. Whether they work for a public entity or a private company, people want to feel confident they will be prepared to address any emergency or threat. They are not interested in high-level, generic information. They want detailed, tangible information and hands-on training for their own workplace.

A personalized and comprehensive emergency preparedness program is a vital component of any organization’s overall risk management solution. In response to this demand, Keenan recently launched IMReady (Incident Management Ready), a new suite of security and emergency preparedness resources designed to prepare any entity or organization for a disaster or mass casualty event occurring at its facility, including active shooter/active killer scenarios.

See also: Test Your Emergency, Continuity, and Disaster Recovery Plans Regularly, Part 2  

What would you do if an unthinkable event began to unfold around you? The more people who are prepared with a clear answer to this question, the more they are able to provide a greater level of security for both themselves and the public they serve.