What to plan for?

Our Managing Director, Alan Short teamed up with Nick Grice from First 5 Minutes to write a book about emergency planning. In chapter 2 they outline what are some of the emergencies to plan for and what are the responses to consider. For your FREE copy of their book “A Practical Guide to Emergency Planning: Plan … Train … Threat … Respond … Survive” click on this link.

Listed below are some of the recommended responses to emergencies.

Preventative Lockdown A Preventative Lockdown is the securing of buildings and premises within the campus to prevent entry into the building and to discourage persons in the building or premises from exiting.

Upon identifying a threat near the campus, a Preventative Lockdown is executed to keep an external threat out of campus buildings and premises.

A lockdown results in either exclusion or containment of staff, students, and visitors.

Regardless of the nature of the lockdown, whether preventative or emergency, the objective is always to ensure the safety and security of staff, students, public, property and assets.

Emergency Lockdown An Emergency Lockdown is the immediate increase of the campus security as well as in immediate increase of security within campus buildings.

Upon identifying that a threat is already within the campus or within a building/s of the campus an emergency Lockdown is activated.

Regardless of the nature of the lockdown, whether preventative or emergency, the objective is always to ensure the safety and security of all occupants and visitors.

Escape Hide Tell Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism as released by the Australia-New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee 2017 advises that upon being faced with an Active Armed Offender threat to Escape – Hide – Tell.

Active threat incidents evolve very quickly, and historical data has identified that in order to increase safety and self-preservation, immediate recognition of the threat and instant reaction to the threat is paramount.  In order to increase survivability and limit victim exposure it is imperative to immediately limit the number of people exposed to a threat and limit the amount of time persons are exposed to an active threat.  In line with this strategy the guidelines of ESCAPE HIDE TELL need to be understood and applied.

Escape – from the threat, by any means possible. Run, crawl, sneak away from danger, utilising cover and concealment whilst moving away from danger. Whilst escaping warn others of the danger.  Keep escaping until a safe area is located.  Once in a safe location, warn others preventing them from approaching danger. Be available to assist responders with information and intelligence.

Hide – from danger.  If, whilst attempting to escape, the exit is obstructed or not available, consideration needs to be given to hiding.  Locate a room, preferably of solid construction, secure the entry and exit points, draw any blinds, extinguish lights, lock the doors, barricade the doors and entry points with improvised furniture and equipment.  Phones on silent and vibrate de-selected.  Lay on the floor, protecting the head, but keeping ears open for listening. Do not respond to verbal calls.  Should the fire alarm be activated consider all available information; can fire or smoke be seen or smelt, are people calling out ‘fire, fire’? Is there any information confirming whether the fire alarm is legitimate or false? What poses a greater risk, the fire or active armed offender?

Whilst hiding, cover and concealment is paramount.

Tell – police – help.  Call 000/112 and report the incident to the police.  What is happening, to who, where?   Your location.  Number of offenders and descriptions.  Types and number of weapons used.

Cover Cover provides protection from edged weapons or projectiles from firearms and explosives.  Areas that may provide sufficient cover include;

  • Brickwork or concrete walls
  • Vehicles – engine block only – the car body may not be sufficient
  • Large trees and fixed objects
  • Earth banks, hills, mounds etc.
Concealment Concealment hides the person from sight and whilst they may not be visible they are not afforded protection against edged weapons, firearms or explosives. 
Partial Lockdown A Partial Lockdown is activated exist when a section of a campus, a specific building, or part of a building is subject to lockdown.   The objective is to restrict and control the flow of people into and out of the area subjected to a lockdown. 

In a threat scenario, buildings should always execute a Full Lockdown first and then retract to a Partial Lockdown if appropriate.

Lockout A Lockout is used when a threat is identified within a building or structure, such as a chemical leak, suspicious package or a dangerous animal in the building e.g. snake.  The Lockout pertains to the building in which the threat is identified, to ensure persons do not enter the building containing the threat.
Shelter in Place Shelter in Place is activated in response to weather, air, liquid, fire or other events which requires internal confinement with certain measures which allows business areas to continue functioning whilst the event passes or is managed by the emergency services.

Shelter in Place refers to sheltering inside a building and closing all doors and windows and turning off ventilation systems.

Shelter in Place only offers a temporary protective measure during an outdoor hazardous atmosphere because the outdoor air infiltrates the building as the plume passes.  However, for short-term chemical releases it can provide substantial protection from toxic doses (minimal duration).

Bomb Threat Strategy Following the receipt of a threat the Chief Warden Group must consider the level of threat and decide on the appropriate action, using the threat report, results of searches by the Emergency Control Organisation and information obtained from building occupants and the Police. The threat may be assessed as:

  • NON-SPECIFIC THREAT. For example, a call made by a child and/or with childish laughter in background or where little detail is received.
  • SPECIFIC THREAT. For example, a call made in a calm deliberate manner where greater detail regarding timing, location or type of device is given.

To help determine the level of threat from a suspect item found during a search, consideration must be given to:

  • calling Triple Zero (000);
  • whether the item was hidden;
  • is it obviously a device;
  • is it similar to the original threat description;
  • is it typical of all other items in the area;
  • has there been a report of unauthorised persons being on site;
  • is there evidence of forced entry?

Other factors that may provide assistance are:

  • a threat is only that until something obvious is found;
  • a perpetrator will infrequently give warning of an attack;
  • the consequence for issuing a threat is not as severe as the placement or initiation of a device.

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