Shelter-in-place is a multipurpose safety procedure that schools can use in many types of situations.  Whether due to a large incident like a chemical spill or something small like a swarm of bees, shelter-in-place can be used for any time something harmful is in the air within the surrounding area.  The best way to ensure this is carried out effectively and efficiently is through regular practice of your emergency response roles and the shelter-in-place procedures found in Sections 4 and 5 of the School Site Emergency Team.  Below you will find a discussion-based exercise that can be conducted by the Emergency Response Team and other appropriate SFUSD stakeholders, and an operations-based exercise that tests the physical execution of the plan.  As a reminder:  Before you conduct a Drill, you should hold a Tabletop Exercise.                      

Tabletop Exercise (Discussion-Based Exercise)

Purpose:  To focus on current plans, policies, agreements, and procedures and discuss how participants would act during and following a particular incident.  Problems are solved as a group.  Tabletop exercises may also be used to develop new plans, policies, agreements, and procedures. 

Tabletop Exercise Execution:   A Tabletop exercise is largely a discussion guided by a facilitator. There are no simulators and no attempts to arrange elaborate facilities or communications. One or two evaluators may be selected to observe proceedings and progress toward completing the objectives.
Participants come together in a stress-free environment. They are told what the exercise objectives are (what will be tested), the scenario, and then asked questions about what they would do, what equipment they would use, and/or what policies and procedures will be followed during the response and recovery phases of the incident. Participants are encouraged to discuss issues in depth and develop decisions through slow-paced problem solving, rather than the rapid, spontaneous decision making that occurs under actual or simulated emergency conditions. The effectiveness of a TTX is derived from the energetic involvement of participants and their assessment of recommended revisions to current policies, procedures, and plans. TTX's are usually presented through powerpoint.
(From:  Homeland Security.  February, 2007.  Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program:  Volume 1:  HSEEP Overview and Exercise Program Management)



Drill (Operations-Based Exercise)

Purpose:  Drills are commonly used to provide training on new equipment, develop or validate new policies or procedures, or practice and maintain current skills. Typical attributes of drills include:

  • A narrow focus, measured against established standards;
  • Immediate feedback;
  • A realistic environment; and
  • Performance in isolation.

(From:  Homeland Security.  February, 2007.  Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program:  Volume I:  HSEEP Overview and Exercise Program Management)


Drill Execution: 

For every drill, clearly defined plans, policies, and procedures need to be in place. Personnel need to be familiar with those plans and policies, and trained in the processes and procedures to be drilled.

A drill may start with brief remarks from the exercise planning team leader. Once controllers and evaluators are properly stationed, the drill begins. If no safety issues arise, the drill continues until the process is complete, time expires, or objectives are achieved. During the simulated incident, players must know that they are participating in a drill and not an actual emergency.

Controllers ensure that participant behavior remains within predefined boundaries and that entities not involved in the drill are not unnecessarily mobilized. Evaluators observe behaviors and compare them against established plans, policies, procedures, and standard practices (if applicable). Safety controllers ensure all activity takes place within a safe environment.

(From:  Homeland Security.  February, 2007.  Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program:  Volume II:  Exercise Planning and Conduct)