TEEX offers workshop to help communities prepare for active shooter incidents

COLLEGE STATION – Preparing for an active shooter incident is an unfortunate reality facing communities. But having a plan for dealing with an active shooter is just the first step — the ability to exercise the plan is an
extremely important follow-up.

The PRE100 Active Shooter Exercise Development Workshop is a
Train-the-Trainer course in how to design, develop and deliver a Tabletop Exercise (TTX), offered by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service through the Emergency Services Training Institute’s Preparedness Program. The audience includes responders and the entire community, bringing together departments and agencies throughout a jurisdiction to address this critical topic.

Over 1,000 people in 13 states have attended the one-day
workshop, which includes a four-hour tabletop exercise involving a scenario of an active shooter entering a school. The workshop is led by instructors from the emergency services and law enforcement who have experience in designing, developing and delivering tabletop exercises. The training is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Our hope is that participants exercise their organizations’ (Emergency Operations) Plans and Annexes with neighboring jurisdictions to further improve communication and coordination,” said Gary Meaney, Training Manager with TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute’s Preparedness Program.  “Although the course is designed around an active shooter scenario, the same exercise principles apply to a tabletop exercise for a public health emergency or a flood or a hurricane.”

At the end of the workshop, each participant gets a USB flash drive with templates of five active shooter, scenario-based tabletop exercises and other useful information that they can customize to their school, hospital, worship center or community facility. Texas-licensed law enforcement officers completing the training are eligible for credit from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

Sean M. O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment in Massachusetts, is thankful the course came to his region (see photo above right). “The course was excellent, and the instructors were professional and very experienced in the use on the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program and the National Incident Management System,” O’Brien said. “The content of the course was perfect for sharing the learning objectives with the wide range of disciplines we had in the class. We received extremely positive feedback from the participants in the course. Job well done!””

Emergency Management Coordinator Taylor Frizzell with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers in Boston added, “I thoroughly enjoyed the course and hope to be able to apply the information to assisting our Community Health Centers in putting together their own Active Shooter exercises.”  

Brian Cantrell, Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator for Waller County (TX) added his praise for the course, which was held at Prairie View A&M University (see photo at left). “Thanks so much for the incredible training delivered by the TEEX Team. We had folks from many different agencies and our partners from neighboring counties in attendance, who all agreed this was a significant training opportunity in preparedness for all of us,” Cantrell said.  

“The Senior Resource Officers from schools in Waller County and the other counties in attendance agreed this course was right on the mark of what we should be doing as far as learning how to design, develop and deliver tabletop exercises, so we can work through our plans. We look forward to
implementing the lessons learned from the After Action Reports and Improvement Plans into our operation plans and future exercises. TEEX has another great course in its library of courses. The Active Shooter Exercise Development Workshop is a home run!”

Instructors for the Prairie View course were Debra Stabeno and Gary Meaney from TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute and Matt Ford from TEEX’s Institute for Law Enforcement & Protective Services Excellence.