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Preparing For The Worst

June 27, 2018 3:14 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

Reposted from Campus Life Security

High Point University participates in Protect-in-Place drill following incidents on campuses across the country

It happened at 11:46 a.m. on a Friday, just three weeks before the Parkland shooting. A southeastern university issued a campus-wide emergency notification advising a gunman was on or near campus, and that individuals should seek protective shelter immediately.

The incident was scary, but no gunman existed. This scenario was only an exercise where High Point University members, including students (for the first time), participated in the “Protect-in-Place” response strategy. (This campus chose not to use the “Lock-down” term as it is a misnomer for a Higher Ed campus.)

Evaluators moved quickly through academic buildings checking door handles and peering through door windows. Acting from the perspective of an armed assailant, these evaluators noted any opportunities that would have made them more capable of hurting their intended targets. At the end of the drill, an all-clear message was announced and activities resumed as normal.

During the exercise “hotwash” or debriefing, the drill’s evaluators assessed how well the university responded, what deficiencies were noted as well and what can be improved. Each shared their observations from their respective buildings, including who didn’t participate in the drill or if any environmental obstacles created challenges.

Following the hotwash, emergency management and security staff drafted an After Action Report (AAR) and Improvement Plan for senior administration, outlining the strengths and areas of weakness that the drill exposed. An AAR and improvement plan is created following any exercise or real-world emergency and the recommendations are prioritized and implemented, allowing for a process of continuous improvement.


The first step for conducting a successful exercise is to outline the scope of the exercise by identifying intended goals. Target a particular response procedure and/or systems. A common pitfall in exercise design is that either goals are not clearly established or the exercise has too many unfocused goals. 

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