Emergency Response Planning, Trainings, and Testing

Emergency Response Exercise Development and Facilitation

DSA can develop and facilitate an exercise (tabletop, functional, or full-scale) for your institution. The exercises and instructions provided to the institution are designed to assist the institution in meeting the requirements of the Clery Act to conduct an annual test of the institution’s emergency response and evacuation procedures (the requirement involves conducting an annual exercise, drill, and appropriate follow-through activities that must meet specific requirements to comply with the Clery Act).

Each exercise will address approximately 4-5 identified objectives that are developed in conjunction with institutional personnel who are charged with coordinating the completion of the exercise on behalf of the institution.

Tabletop, functional, or full-scale exercises can be completed in 3-6 hours, depending on the number of identified objectives and the complexity of the scenario. Tabletop exercises typically take approximately 3 hours whereas full-scale exercises typically take approximately 6 hours. The scenario for each exercise is designed (and subsequently reviewed by the appropriate campus officials) to ensure complete satisfaction. Each scenario is designed specifically for the client, taking their unique needs and response protocols, capabilities, and practices into consideration.

  • Tabletop Exercises (TTX) are facilitator-led discussions that simulate an emergency in an informal, stress-free environment. No actual equipment or resources are deployed during a TTX, and participants remain in their locations throughout the exercise. In a TTX, participants are presented with an emergency scenario that has been designed to test the institution’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Throughout the TTX, participants consider issues and make decisions similar to those that would be made in an actual emergency. This format provides an opportunity to resolve questions of coordination and responsibility and to identify any oversights, deficiencies, or inefficiencies with respect to the current ERP and its implementation. Throughout the exercise, various injects are provided to encourage discussion and decision-making on the part of the group. It is particularly helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise before more complicated exercises are conducted.
  • Functional Exercises (FE) challenge the entire emergency management system by simulating an emergency in the most realistic manner possible, short of moving real people and equipment to an actual site. They test the same functions and responses as in a full-scale exercise without high costs or safety risks. FE identify strategic parts of the ERP that will be tested in conjunction with a TTX.
  • Full-Scale Exercises (FSE) are as close to the real thing as possible. It is a lengthy exercise which takes place on location, using (to the extent possible) the equipment and personnel that would be called upon in a real event. In this type of exercise, first responders and emergency officials respond to an incident in real time (i.e., there are “boots on the ground”).

Regardless of the exercise chosen, DSA will generate an After-Action Report (AAR) for the institution that provides feedback and documents the issues that are raised during the exercise that need to be addressed by the institution. The AAR includes objectives, observations, and recommendations for improvements/enhancements to policies, procedures, practices, and training.

Emergency Response Plan Review

D. Stafford & Associates can assist your agency in reviewing its existing Emergency Response Plan for the campus police/public safety department. Our expert consultants have ample experience writing and reviewing plans for law enforcement organizations, Department of Defense stakeholders, and colleges/universities. We will review the existing plan to ensure it is comprehensive and consistent with the latest standards and best practices. We will also recommend necessary improvements to bolster the institution’s all-hazards approach to emergency management.

Emergency Response Plan Development

D. Stafford & Associates can assist your agency in designing an all-hazards approach to emergency management for a campus police/public safety organization. Our experienced consultants have experience developing and writing plans for law enforcement organizations, Department of Defense stakeholders, and colleges/universities. Our consultants will facilitate the development of a comprehensive plan that will be consistent with the latest standards and best practices with a focus on ensuring that the plans can be implemented by the appropriate operational units on your campus.

DSA can also assist in conducting a campus-specific physical security and vulnerability/threat assessment that will lead to the most practicable plans. We can also assist the institution in developing implementation strategies and training curricula.

Emergency Response Training

D. Stafford & Associates (DSA) can conduct a high-level Emergency Response training class for leaders of a college or university campus. The class can be modified to meet the specific needs of the institution. The class is typically between 5-8 hours in length, depending on the agreed-upon topics to be covered. The class includes key concepts of NIMS (National Incident Management System), ICS (Incident Command System), and developing an all-hazards approach for dealing with critical incidents on campus.

NIMS Training

D Stafford & Associates has certified instructors available to assist an agency in developing a plan to become NIMS compliant and can provide agency specific training in IS300 and IS400, including developing and implementing specific tabletop exercises to enhance the knowledge and understanding of how the concepts in the 300 and 400 level courses apply to the specific response plans developed for a particular campus. NIMS IS100, IS200 IS700, and IS800 are online courses through FEMA. Our consultants can facilitate the completion of those online courses, if necessary.

To obtain a scope of work that includes a description and cost of any of these services, or to invite D. Stafford & Associates to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide these services, contact dolores@dstaffordandassociates.com or call (302) 544-5809 to discuss any of these services and/or a customized scope of work.