Page 64 - Security Today, October 2020
P. 64

"Whether the road to recovery is a quick jaunt or a marathon of a journey, the pay-off is priceless."
Managing Risks
It is no surprise that horrific acts by active shooters on campus generate national headlines. Fortunately, active shooters on campus are rela- tively rare events. However, virtually every college and university will, at some point, experience a tragedy that they’ll need to recover from. Campus calamities include natural disasters, cyber breaches crimes, and health pandemics, like the one we are in now. What steps should cam- puses take after a disaster to help students, faculty and staff recover? Just as each college class has required reading, a required document for each and every college should be a comprehensive risk management plan.
Ensure 360 Degree Representation in Planning
The first step in developing a plan is to establish a multi-disciplin- ary framework that ensures every area of the college is represented from administrators including the facilities, athletics, resident halls, wellness centers, research labs, human resources, academic deans and representatives, security/campus police and legal.
Additionally, it is critically important to include local and state law enforcement and fire departments, as they are likely to respond to a campus crisis as well. If an institution has a significant research and development program, they should consider the potential theft of sensitive research. Further, the college or university may want to con- sider incorporating federal law enforcement into its crisis planning.
Risk management plans detail every conceivable scenario and are pertinent to regional variances of the individual colleges and univer- sities. For example, a college in Hawaii may need to address very different set of risks versus a college in the mid-west. Making that risk management plan come to life via continual training and regularly scheduled drills are vital to success.
We count many of the country’s finest universities and colleges as our clients. Serving those clients brings us into contact with a wide range of higher education security challenges and brings home the importance of having a comprehensive risk management plan in place.
Developing a Threat Assessment
The first step in developing a risk management plan is to engage in a thorough threat assessment. A threat assessment is a crucial com- ponent of a comprehensive school safety program. An effective threat assessment provides school professionals with a framework to priori- tize risk allowing schools to apply fiscal and staff resources with a thoughtful approach to mitigation.
Risk management plans provide a framework within which a college or university can more effectively manage a crisis, and create clear and defined objectives for its recovery. These plans include operational and strategic overviews to ensure that a crisis is contained and controlled properly. Management skills in communicating with staff, students, the media and the community, together with the ability of management to determine post-crisis goals and recovery strategies.
The Department of Homeland Security is engaging school admin- istrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders across the K-12 and college university communities, as well as law enforce-
ment and other first responders who serve those communities, to raise awareness and communicate best practices. They also offer a wealth of resources that are available online.
An overall recovery plan provides a framework within which a college or university can manage the crisis, and create clear and defined objectives for the institution’s recovery. Management skills in communicating with staff, students, the media and the community, together with the ability of management to determine post-crisis goals and recovery strategies, can determine the college’s quickest route to mitigation or recovery.
Recovery Planning: One Size Doesn’t Fit All Campuses
While each recovery plan must be developed to an institution’s unique needs, including student population, geographic locations, and other variables, there are numerous common elements that have been defined in work done jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). These organizations’ planning templates help an institution think through the varied aspects of a recovery plan.
As discussed, the creation of a truly effective plan requires the partnership and coordination of numerous departments both inter- nally and externally. The on-going communication between all par- ties on a regular cadence ensures everyone is updated to any and all the changes that inevitably occur on a regular basis on most cam- puses. Ultimately, effective planning requires collaboration, foresight, diligence and a plan that is actively tested with mock scenarios.
Schools should identify key staff to receive training based on their roles and responsibilities in the overall emergency management pro- gram as well as the specific responsibilities related to emergency pre- paredness, incident management, and response.
IACLEA is an organization that presents resources and information for public safety including best-practices for COVID-19. Their pandemic resources include best practices for communicating via multiple channels to various audiences, resources around best practices on community pro- tection and safeguards, crisis response, employee safety and protection as well as links to Federal and State law enforcement resources.
There is a wide body of experience dealing with the personal expo- sure and response to a major incident. Post-incident professional counseling for a host of issues requires mobilizing assistance to those who might need support. Individuals will act out differently. Quick and broad response to an incident will help lower the stress that is certain to accompany a major incident. A big challenge for staff is to avoid personalizing the tragedy, as in ‘if only I had been in that room to stop it’ or ‘I wish I had not taken a vacation day on Friday,’ etc. The recovery process really starts at a community level and narrows its way through affected groups and individuals,”
Avoiding the Spread of an Incident’s Impact
Instant, multi-modal communication to students and faculty dur- ing an emergency situation keeps the campus community as safe as
By Stephen R. Aborn and Joshua Skule
Planning Campus Demands
Taking steps to help students, faculty and staff recover after a disaster

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