If you’re in the top tier among your peers, your team regularly conducts a series of drills and exercises to keep skills sharp and to provide training and education purposes. These drills cover both individual incidents and wide-spread incidents across a university campus or corporate campus. Typically, there are table-top briefing sessions beforehand to review objectives and overall critical incident protocols. Likewise, after the drills, your team reconvenes for de-briefing sessions to review what went right and wrong and to discuss lessons learned to optimize future performance. And while that’s considered “best practice”, this approach misses a critical element.
Up until recently, teams have lacked the ability to digitally record and playback critical incident exercises, with an overarching view of every resource involved in the drills, and a second-by-second snapshot of their physical location and availability, grouped by the key functional roles of each team. This game-changing technology is now available with SafeZone®, a dynamic all-in-one incident management security solution that empowers safety and security teams with technology to streamline and strengthen their capacity to respond to incidents, optimize outcomes, fulfill duty of care, and mitigate risks.
As you might imagine, the availability of this data can greatly assist your organization’s performance and help your entire team better prepare and train for how they will respond to an actual critical incident such as an active assailant or medical emergency. Plus, many organizations are subject to regulatory requirements such as the Cleary Act, which mandates training exercises. Organizations who have recordings of their training exercises can easily document compliance with these regulations which helps save time and money that would be otherwise required for such documentation.
Once you start recording incidents and reviewing security drills, you’ll need to analyze your data – but what should you monitor? Here’s a suggested list of KPIs or metrics to monitor and analyze during incident playback:
Individual Initial Response Time
From the onset of the alert, how long did it take each individual on your security team to respond appropriately? You can analyze confirmation of alert, how long it took them to begin to respond, and how long it took them to arrive at the appropriate location, which of course varies based upon their role i.e. primary responder vs. back-up.
Record and compare each individual’s response time and starting location and create a log for your organization. This will allow you to create a benchmark and see how response times improve in similarly situated circumstances.
Team Response Time
In addition to individual response time, how long did it take for your team to initiate a cohesive response?
This will vary from drill to drill and hinge on the type of incident, the location of the incident, and the number of resources required to respond to that incident. Many incidents will only require 1-2 safety or security resources or officers, while others may require your entire team plus outside first responders. Be sure to test several scenarios so you can pinpoint your weaknesses and analyze opportunities for improvement.
Time Until Incident Under Control
Rounding out your team’s individual response time and their cohesive arrival, how long did it take to resolve or close-out the incident? Again, the response interval will vary greatly from scenario to scenario, which makes playing back these incidents an essential part of your team’s training. Look for opportunities to enhance individual and team performance and review the team’s performance vs. similar drills to gauge how performance compares to past exercises.
For any given incident, there are a handful of appropriate responses. Make sure all responses are cataloged before kicking off your drills. When you playback the incident, you should score each member on your team based on the question, “Was their response the best solution for the incident and how could it be improved next time?” Share both positive and constructive feedback to maximize learning opportunities.
Situational awareness is relatively new to security and safety teams, so it takes practice to effectively use it. For example, with SafeZone’s OmniGuard, not only can dispatch see the location, role and availability of each member of your security team, but each member of the safety and security team can also see each other’s location and availability updated in real-time. Based on this, analyze the incident and evaluate how the team used their situational awareness to inform who responded and whether they acknowledged who would be onsite at the incident imminently, and who was providing back-up coverage. Evaluate how this information contributed to their response and what could be improved next time.
To culminate your team’s training, make sure procedures were followed during the incident’s aftermath. This could be reporting, leadership alerts, or follow-ups.
If your safety and security organization lacks the ability to record and playback critical incident exercises, with a view of every resource and a second-by-second snapshot of their physical location and availability, consider how this functionality could help enhance the safety and performance of your team. One company that delivers on this functionality is CriticalArc and their service SafeZone, which my team has used for years. You can request a demo below if you’re interested in learning more how the service can help your organization with critical incident management drills.
[Special thanks to our guest author: Russ Huxtable, Head of Resilience and Business Continuity/Safety, Health and Environment at Swansea University.]