A comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan includes Prevention, Planning, Mitigation, Response and Recover. Often the Recovery component is an after thought or focuses solely on business resumption. But death on your school or business campus affects your people and the community in ways far beyond the bottom line.
When the Santa Monica College Community was the scene of senseless violence that took the lives of five innocent people, the Community was soon faced with how to help their campus begin to recover.
Images from this School Shooting reflect the immediate pain and suffering of survivors. Emergency Planners must recognize that their will also be emotional injuries that will be real, long term and require a plan to address.
As Professionals that have managed recovery following a loss; we all know that both well meaning and unfortunately, opportunists, may arrive on campus to “Help” with the healing. Without having practiced your recovery plan with your Professionals and having a process to vet help; you may fail to be there for your people when they need you the most.
This image reflects a common scene following tragedy and can be a place for people to gather and express their support. Understanding how to prepare for, and deal with, memorials needs to be discussed in advance so that resentment and anger don’t contribute to the delay in healing. Will this be a temporary or permanent memorial?
Click on the memorial image to the left and you will see behind the wall and appreciate the carnage created during a School Shooting and what your EAP Professionals will be facing.
Have you ever consider conducting a table-top exercise where your team had to quickly set goals, define objectives, identify tasks and resource the responders following a campus shooting or loss of life?
A Los Angeles Times article speaks to the challenges faced by Santa Monica College Emergency Management Teams as they implement their Recovery Plans. This story highlights how additional stress followed a school shooting and the importance of including your Employee Assistance and Human Resource Professionals in all aspects of your plan, not just after the event.
Bring the EAP voice into the planning process from the start.