Threat drills are routine across many industries, from the police practicing for active shooters to school fire drills and retailers preparing for Black Friday’s crazy shoppers. It makes sense, being prepared for the worst case scenario, as people need to respond effectively, but what actually makes these drills a success?
When we think back to our fire drills back in school, although everyone was conditioned to calmly walk as fast as possible to the nearest assembly point, they weren’t really taken seriously.
So what makes a good or a bad drill and how do you run an effective one?
The Keys of a Good Threat Drill
1. Make them fun
It’s no secret that when people enjoy something they are more likely to remember it, so although threat drills are preparing people for very serious situations, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun! Something as simple as splitting people into groups and making it a race or shutting an emergency door that would normally be open will make the simulations more challenging.
2. Do monthly threat drills
By doing a drill a month, you can cover a wide range of potential threat situations. For example, one month could be employee or customer violence, while the next could be a terrorist attack. The most important aspect? Always make them spontaneous to promote initiative and quick thinking.
3. Review them regularly
The only way you can improve on a threat response is by practicing, reviewing and implementing the changes. Therefore, every good threat drill should have a review on what could happen and what everyone should do to be safe. If you want to make this process more fun and effective, why not make it a quiz? Just be sure to reinforce the specific actions and directions that people need to know so that they can put this into action next time.
4. Make the threat drills as real as possible
When carrying out drills for the threats that are specific to your area, the more real and serious you can make them the better. Whether that is hiring professional actors to play a violent ex-employee or potential terrorist, or shutting off the power, your staff need to understand that these situations aren’t going to be easy or scripted and that they’ll have to prepared for anything.
5. Carry out night drills if appropriate
Threat situations don’t always happen in normal work hours, so neither should your drills! If your retail store is open till late or you have security staff on overnight shifts, then night time drills are especially important. Again, try to make these drills as real as possible so that you condition real responses from your staff.
6. Always conduct an evaluation
Evaluation is perhaps the MOST important part of any threat drill, so make sure to evaluate your drill reviews every couple of months. Ask yourself, how did your plan work? Were there any situations that you couldn’t simulate and if so, how will you make your staff aware and prepared for this? What took you by surprise? Were there any weaknesses or hazards? What changes do you need to make to your threat response? What would be the next step, if this was a real disaster?
If you never test and evaluate your threat drills, then how can you expect to fix any potential problems and ensure an effective response?
This is something that no one can afford in a threat situation. So make sure you implement these easy tips and practice to make perfect!
What we can do for you:
If you’re interested in knowing more about threat awareness training for your staff, RGM are offering training courses developed by Counter Terrorism and Threat Specialists. If you need training or just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.