Here at Invictus Consulting we strongly believe in the value of training all of your people in emergency scenarios. Having a solid emergency action plan with different playbooks for different scenarios (e.g., tornado, active shooter, kidnapping) is the first step. The second step is actually training your people on what to do during the various scenarios. We’ve come across more organizations than we’d like to admit that actually have an emergency action plan but have never bothered to share it with their employees let alone train their employees on it.
Here’s the thing about training your people on your organization’s emergency procedures – you have to train ALL of your people. For schools, this means not only your teachers and administrators but also your cafeteria staff, para-pros, secretaries, school nurse, playground attendants, and any other staff member that would potentially be on campus during an emergency. For offices, this means not only your employees but also your Board of Directors, C-suite people, warehouse staff, temp people, and any other people that may be in the building or on the campus during an emergency.
Don’t assume that ancillary staff members, support people, or executives don’t need training. Even if these people are part-time staff or only on campus irregularly, they should still be trained. By excluding ancillary staff from training you risk two things. If an emergency were to occur while they were on campus or in the building, they wouldn’t know what to do. Obviously that’s a problem. But the second risk is that the people who haven’t been trained may either get underfoot in their confusion and panic, or they may attempt to do something that conflicts with your organization’s pre-set emergency procedures and thusly create confusion for those employees who have been trained.
We can’t suggest this often enough – you need to train your people; you need to train them frequently (multiple times throughout the year); you need to train them in different formats (e.g., live drill, tabletop exercise); and you need to audit your drills to close any gaps or reverse any problems that arise. By doing these things, your chances of making sure that ALL your people have been trained properly is greatly increased.