The Great Shakeout is only as Great as you make it

It just so happened that I was auditing one of California’s largest school districts when The Great Shakeout occurred this past Thursday.  As I sat under the conference table listening to the PA system run through the list of commands (don’t get up – wait for further instruction – wait for floor wardens to check your room) I waited in anticipation of being rescued.  But the rescue never occurred.

I and a team of auditors and District employees sat under the conference table for 15 minutes without a hint of anyone walking the floor.  Not one footstep.

The Great Shakeout is a time to test your emergency plans and find out what works and what doesn’t.  But that means you have to limit the focus to one or two items that can be accomplished in 15 minutes or so.  Pick the wrong thing and your employees will see emergency plan as broken or worse yet just another joke.

Here’s how to get the most out of the Great Shakeout

  • Pick one or two aspects of your plan to place stress on
  • Design the scenario narrowly to focus on the areas of focus
  • Make sure critical E-Team members know what to focus on
  • Make sure E-Team members know to be thorough
  • Hotwash/debrief after the event


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