Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit

2.7 Making the Most of Drills

Drills can be as complex or as simple as a campus desires; however, they should not become routine or be rushed. All drills require some level of planning, preferably including input and insight from key stakeholders such as faculty, staff, district administrators, first responders, parents and the community. Drills can lead to bigger and more detailed activities such as tabletop, functional and full-scale exercises, which may also be used for drill credit and represent increasingly difficult tests of campus emergency functions.

  • Early in the school year, meet with the campus safety and security team members to talk about the drill schedule for the year. Talk about hazards, planning considerations, changes in student population from the previous year and lingering concerns that should be tested. Identify ways to combine drills to get the most training with the least disruption.

  • Have the team set a drill schedule with alternate drill dates in the event that a drill cannot be conducted as planned. Identify what will be practiced, who will practice, when will it take place, and how will it occur. In addition, identify how success will be measured, understanding that speed is not necessarily the best measure of success.

  • Share emergency plans and drill options at faculty meetings and other appropriate staff meetings to ensure all staff understand their roles.

  • Encourage staff to establish a buddy system so that they improve response, deal with emergencies that arise and support substitute teachers.

  • Plan to vary the scenarios and timing to strengthen campus response. Drills are designed to test plans and procedures. They are not designed to embarrass people or as a pass/fail. Make sure that the drills are realistic and reflect the plans in place.

  • Prior to each drill, define the scope and focus of the drill and write a purpose statement - “The purpose of this drill is to determine whether…”

  • Use forms, such as those in Planning and Evaluation to facilitate the planning and follow up process.