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New defense program using tabletop exercises sweeps through the nation’s school

It's important for schools to have their own equivalent of a business continuity plan, ensuring that students are properly trained and know how to perform during emergency situations.
It's important for schools to have their own equivalent of a business continuity plan, ensuring that students are properly trained and know how to perform during emergency situations.

It's part of many schools' daily operations to encourage students to practice. Everything from pre-tests in math classes to fire drills will help students be prepared when the time comes for them to act. 

During emergency situations, it's especially crucial for students, faculty and staff to fully understand the school equivalent of a business continuity plan. This blog has previously discussed high schools instituting table top exercises, working to guarantee that if a hostage situation occurs, all individuals are able to safely evacuate.

After the attack at Columbine High School in 1999, the general policy for educational institutions at all levels was a basic "lock down and hide." However, a new program called ALICE has started to sweep across the nation, being implemented in 300 schools – training about 1.5 million students.

Standing for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, ALICE aims to teach individuals how to make active decisions – like barricading classroom doors or coordinating on-the-spot evacuations. Program creator, Greg Cane, recently flew into Massachusetts from Texas, to speak to Northeast communities about the details of ALICE.

"We are not teaching people to fight gunmen," he said of what he called a common misconception to the program. "We are teaching people to survive gun attacks. We know that in today's world, students might need to help themselves. They need to know how to do more than sit in a corner or behind a locked door and wait for help."

Michael Morrissey, a Massachusetts district attorney, told The Boston Globe that it's important for children and teenagers to be properly educated so they can make an informed decision. He added that he thought it was a great idea to keep students informed of risk assessments and what steps will be taken to ensure safety and a quick recovery in emergency situations.

Regardless of the organization, comprehensive planning – and even tabletop exercises – will help guarantee that business resumption is fast and all individuals understand how to achieve it.