How Tabletop Exercises Can Make Campuses Safer

The number of active shooters on college campuses is increasing, making campus safety more of a priority every day. In fact, according to Security Magazine, from 2001-2016 there were 61 casualties, which grew to 168 in the next 5 years, and 208 in the following 5 years. This can be partially attributed to the open nature of a college or university campus. According to the FBI, campuses are, “soft, vulnerable targets to acts of terror”, therefore enforcing the urgency for campus safety and critical event management.

When an incident occurs, the actions taken in the initial minutes are critical for campus safety. A study done by the FBI states that, “70% of active shooter incidents ended in 5 minutes or less.” This means that all key members of the campus community, including students, faculty, and staff, need to have the proper knowledge on campus safety and what to do in these brief, but crucial, times. A good way to prepare your response team is to conduct tabletop exercises.

Tabletop exercises require members of the campus to discuss and review a simulated emergency situation, and ensure that plans and procedures are put in place and then assessed properly. They are done in an informal, low-stress environment, and should result in an emergency plan that is open for ongoing evaluation and campus safety improvement. Recently we ran an online Campus Active Shooter Tabletop Exercise, which you can access by clicking the hyperlink.

If you’d like to learn more about Tabletop Exercises, visit our topic page.