Are We Ready?
An important part of preparing for emergencies is validating the effectiveness of emergency plans.
Schools are required to conduct drills throughout the school year. It is better to talk it through-before you walk it through.
Tabletops are one type of discussion-based exercise. They are an important tool in preparing for emergencies. Tabletops allow team members to discuss their roles and responses before an emergency. Tabletops do not need to be all-day discussions. Rather, focused tabletops can often be completed in a few minutes and help reinforce participants' understanding of emergency plans.
The discussion of a simulated emergency will require staff to draw upon their knowledge of the school's emergency plan and emergency procedures. The school year gets busy, but it is crucial that muscle memory is built to ensure that your staff is able to approach difficult situations with well-informed responses.
Step 1 is to PREPARE. Each week we encourage you to:
NOTE: It may be helpful to include first responders or central office staff in some discussions.
Step 2 is to EXERCISE. Give you and your staff enough time to discuss these scenarios. We suggest 10-15 minutes.
Step 3 is to ANALYZE. A critical step in exercising is to spend time after the discussion identifying successes and areas for improvement. You may discover that your staff needs a little more training on the emergency plan, or they might be right where they need to be.
Step 4 is to ACT. If your staff needs more understanding of procedures, continue to work through tabletops until they have a full grasp of the emergency plan. If need be, reach out to MCSS for suggestions and support.
New tabletops will be released monthly in the form of PDF’s. The topics will vary, but they will all revolve around real-life safety concerns that arise in schools. Suggestions and input are always welcome.
Brittani (Brit) Ayers firstname.lastname@example.org
School Prevention and Intervention Specialist (MCSS)