Risk Management |
Article by Michael Dorn, Safe Havens International
One of the many challenges the COVID pandemic has created for independent schools is effectively conducting emergency drills while addressing public health concerns. Fortunately, addressing these challenges can also enhance students’ and staff’s ability to better prepare for emergencies after the pandemic has passed.
While students and staff need to maintain physical distancing at this time to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we don’t want create “training scars,” or habits that will make our practices less effective upon return to normalcy. Training scars are caused by accidental operant conditioning, or repeated practice under set conditions. One example would be spacing out too far during an evacuation from an actual fire because social distancing was used in fire drills during the pandemic. This could result in delays and serious consequences.
The effects of unintentional training scars can be surprisingly powerful and deadly, as seen in the nation’s most deadly school attack. In 1958, 95 students and staff died as the result of an arson fire at the Our Lady of Angels Sacred Hearts School in Chicago. Many of the school’s teachers had accidentally been conditioned to wait in their classrooms until the fire alarm sounded because the headmaster was the person who activated the fire alarm for each month’s fire drill. This resulted in many teachers delaying evacuation for approximately five minutes when the alarm was finally sounded. Deadly training scars have been noted more recently in severe failures of popular multi-option active shooter training programs, resulting in increased casualties, deaths and more than 150 civil actions and letters of intent to sue being filed for several of these shootings to date.If allowed by your state’s drill requirements, these options may be helpful:
Plan, Practice, Pivot: Incident Response Teams (Jul/Aug 2020)
Safety & Security: Drill Down (Mar/Apr 2020)
Situational Awareness and Behavior Analysis (Sep/Oct 2020)
Sign in to leave a comment
Get Net Assets NOW
NBOA's free twice-monthly newsletter
1400 I Street, NW, Suite 675Washington, DC 20005www.nboa.org