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Good morning. A pleasure to be here today.
I think the theme you see on the website there, of course with planning and planning training
exercising is obviously the key aspect of any preparedness
program. As the superintendent said, you're really here
as a refresher because you've done emergency planning before.
So, this is, you know -- nothing that we're going to do today is going to be a big
surprise. I think what is key, though, is that interaction
with the first responder community. How important that is. It's not necessarily
something you do every day, but to understand what that emergency
response looks like, how it integrates
in a unified command approach during any kind of an emergency,
we experience emergencies all the time. The important thing to do
is to understand what the specific risks are. How you address them.
There are some key components of any plan
in terms of the risk environment. That includes natural disasters, obviously.
We've done a lot of work in California over the years on earthquake readiness,
the earthquake drills. All that is
material or fundamentals for any
emergency response. How you organize that response. You're going to hear a lot about the incident command
system. Unified command. On our website, you'll find
samples of how you can organize within your schools
under the incident command system to respond to disasters. So I don't
want to stand here today and say, "Here's the five things you have in an emergency plan."
I want to talk a little more generally about what it takes
in terms of your fundamental knowledge about
what you're planning for. Your commitment to
emergency planning. And leadership. I think, across the board,
these themes that we see over and over again about why something went well,
why something did not go well, really comes down to some of those fundamental
I think you've heard the cliché
General Eisenhower, then President Eisenhower, "It's not about the plan,
it's about the planning." And I think that really is the key.
You know, often we have emergency planning
that resides in one person, that's an ancillary duty.
They're supposed to create this emergency plan, whether it's for
an incident like happened back east
or whether it's an earthquake. And they're really, "What do I do?
How do I do this?" So, I think, really -- first of all, knowledge. There's a lot of knowledge
out there. You really don't have to go searching
a lot. You go to our website. Read the
-- after Columbine -- the Secret Service study about the types of things
that happened -- who these people are that might threaten you and why
-- how we can identify the precursors and all that. There's a lot of knowledge
out there. You don't have to really go very far to find that out.
Whether it's about your natural disaster risk environment,
whether it's a flood or fire, earthquake or whatever.
We really -- the knowledge base about your risk is important.
It's understanding context. We always are very
keen on looking at what happens, these crisis incidents, and learning from them.
But, we really gotta understand the context of our environment.
So everybody's environment's a little different. Especially when you go across the state in terms of
emergency plans. Your individual school might have
a different risk environment than another school. So, try to understand.
Find out from your community, also, about what's happening, what's going on.
The commitment to emergency planning is really the key
and I think the fact that you're here today shows your commitment.
But it's a commitment throughout the organization. As I said earlier,
it really is -- when you have an emergency
response, it's really a very complex
all-encompassing activity. It includes
facilities people, it includes the teachers, it includes the leadership.
One thing I did learn, you know, you learn very quickly is
the commitment shows. The commitment to planning shows.
The commitment to exercising shows in these events. I think you all read about what happened
in some of these incidents and the actions that individuals take.
The commitment they made to the plans.
It's really the key, I think. And that starts with the leadership,
of course. And I think Superintendent -- the fact that you're having the workshop
and doing this today, is we really have to show that we're taking the steps necessary
to address the risks that we face. Also,
leadership. In any event, people
look for leaders. They look for clarity, reassurance.
Is my school safe? What are you doing about it? Where are my children?
They look for direction and they look for optimism.
I find time and time again that that kind of leadership
that you see, if you think about some of the natural disasters you've had,
for example, reflect on 9-11.
Reflect on what Mayor Giuliani did. The leadership
he took. The understanding that you don't know everything. You're doing all you can to take care
of the problem. You're in charge. Compare that to other incidents.
Maybe in Katrina. I don't know what's going on.
Am I getting anything? Just give me everything.
We really want to work on leadership skills throughout the organization.
It's -- every one of us is a leader in some way.
Whether that's in our classrooms. Whether that's in our organization.
I think it's very important, too, that you're going to hear a lot about the
consequences. This whole community approach to what we're doing in terms of
our involvement in emergency planning. You know, it's not about that
emergency planner. It's about their role in an organization. Who they work with,
who they interact with. It's about the community.
The community groups that are going to help us overcome some of these incidents.
It's about that emergency response community that you're going to get
in touch with in terms of the direct response. But these guys
are actually supported not only at the county level, but through our mutual aid systems
at the state level. There's a very broad group
that will come to help and manage these disasters.
So I think, as you go through in your planning,
don't be in isolation.
You can go through the 10 things you have to have in your emergency plan, but it's about building
that team. What does that team look like?
Do I need a certain team for my earthquake
annex and a different team for my shooter annex?
Yeah, you probably do. Obviously. They'll bring different
knowledge and expertise and commitment in their areas of expertise.
So you gotta think, really, about the team process. So you need to build a planning team.
And again, as I said earlier, it's about the process.
These are the people you're going to be working with in the middle of a disaster.
And again, that's a varied group. Think about any emergency response that
hits you. Whether any natural disaster or
a human caused threat, who are you going to be working with when this happens?
Well those are the people you need on your planning team.
It's not just, "I know the police are going to come." It's what you're doing today.
They're going to come and here's how they operate. Here's how they interact. Here's how they manage their operations so I can
understand how I work with them. That is what planning is all about.
It is really building that team.
And it's getting their commitment and their leadership.
That's what we're here for in terms of our emergency response community.
It's to provide for our area of responsibility to help you.
So, you're not in isolation. It's an area of concern
that's been constant in terms of school safety, school preparedness.
Schools are obviously so important in our society.
I've noticed some of the events we have, the consequences of the events
are not always as well thought out and I really appreciate that you're going to consider that today.
We had an earthquake in Imperial
County. I think it was about three years ago now. Three years ago in April.
The impact on that earthquake to that school
district. They lost their multipurpose room.
They couldn't serve food. It was April. They were getting
close to the end of their term.
What do I do about the schedule? We're not going to be reopening these schools for
6, 8, 12 weeks. Can we have the summer session?
Can we just reschedule for the end of the year? All the pressures in terms of the budget.
These -- you can think through these things. There's experiences out there to
learn from. But the involvement of the parents was so critical.
And, again, I would consider the P.T.A.
should be on that planning team. Think of "whole community."
What will happen when these events happen? How will they impact
not only our work, but our community?
This whole fabric of community that we're talking about.
So, my encouragement to you is
to try to think in terms of not only your role
and responsibility, but the roles and responsibilities of all those people you need
to do this planning. And again, you go to our website, you can get the
sample plans for school plans. You've got them on your shelves,
which is -- that's where they're going to be, too, when the emergency happens.
They're going to be on your shelf. We have emergency plans at the state. I've got a whole
rack full of them. But I don't pull them out when the disasters happen.
Because we've practiced them. We've learned them. I know what other people are
going to be doing. I know what the first responder community's going to be doing
when something happens.
That is kind of that culture that you have to take in terms of your organizational
commitment. These exercises you do are critical.
Real events and learning from them are critical. Fine tuning.
But, again, try to think broadly. You really aren't alone.
I know a lot of us feel that way sometimes. I do.
When I'm thinking about that big earthquake that might hit the Bay Area or Southern California and what I have to organize
with our secretary. The state's response to that emergency.
Try to think through all those consequences and who you will have to be
working with. And how you can bring them into the process. And that's
-- that is really the key. Bring them in in the planning. Don't
wait until after the event and think, "Well, we should have brought them in. We should have done this."
We learn a lot from others. We learn a lot from others' unfortunate circumstances.
But that knowledge is there. You're going to hear
a lot more about that. Certainly our law enforcement and our fire communities
also study these events and learn from them.
You see one of the items there, the Active Shooter Handbook that
the Department of Homeland Security puts out as a general guideline.
You're going to learn a lot more about what happens locally from your first responder community.
About what guidelines you have locally, how they respond. It's going to be well organized.
You're going to hear a lot about that today. There's also a lot of training opportunities.
I know Jim Ayers here from our training branch. There's a handout
we can go -- some of these are online sort of things or training courses.
So, there's a lot of opportunities out there for you to learn.
So, again, I want to sort of set the tone for you this morning.
It's really about -- you are part of a
broader community that really cares about what happens
on your school grounds. You see that from your first responder community, from us.
The biggest lessons I can tell you is to be thoughful of
bringing that team together. Working through these problems ahead of time.
Learning from experience. And taking the leadership role
that's necessary to effectively
put your plan in place and to manage incidents when they do happen.
It is -- it is manageable.
There will be consequences.
Any disaster, whether it's natural or human caused, there's going to be
victims. It's gotta be something you have to
work through. And I think the leadership skills that you develop through your planning and exercise
work really will bring you through. You will be supported.
I think that's fairly obvious. Since
Columbine, especially, the first responder is really fine tuned to what we need to do.
And how to do it for safety and security. The things you can do
in terms of your own safety and security in your school systems, as well.
You can do all those kinds of analyses and do all that work.
Anyway, I just want to make sure -- I mainly really want to go through a
PowerPoint where I'm talking about the 50 things you need to have in your plan. That's available.
You can find it, but to kind of give you the
understanding of what that planning is really all about really is that
process. So, with that, I will turn it over to our leader.
And thank you. If there are any questions, I'll be around, so --
[Actually, if you can address some questions right here because we are recording this...]
Does anyone have anything specific right now? Because one thing I wanted to ask was
everyone has plans on the shelf, what kind of advice
would you offer to schools and districts for kind of, you know, updating the plans?
What are some of the things that schools should do?
Yeah, we have some general -- of course, if you have an incident, we always encourage you to have an
after action process. So, if it's a bomb scare
it's a, you know, you had a fire, you had some kind of response on the school.
Analyze that event. Put your team together
that responded. What went well? What didn't? Did the plan work?
Walk through it a little bit so there is an after action and corrective action
process. You identify elements of the plan that did not work.
Then you need to implement a corrective actions for those elements that did not work.
So use the opportunity for any event to analyze
how that planning -- the plan worked and how the process went.
And then go ahead through another iteration of the plan. Generally, we recommend
that no plan sit on a shelf without being looked at every three years.
At least. Even if you don't have an incident. If you have an incident, you need to be using it
and analyzing it. But at local government, we recommend
at least a three years cycle for revisiting. This process is a continuous
process. So the plan is done, you know, you
may have an incident, you analyze it again, but at least within three years, that's your
next tickler to look at the plan. Update it. People change.
Plans vary. Some plans are very specific in terms of call-out lists
and those sorts of things. Those need to be fine-tuned on a regular basis.
If you have a new person, they're pulling it off the shelf and all the names have changed.
Well, that's not something you want to do. So, at least every three years
and analyzing it after every incident to make sure
that the plan was effective and people were trained appropriately.
As well as exercising the plan. So, part of that learning process is your
annual or periodic exercises. And comparing those
against the plan in terms of cycle of
[Do you want to add to the question?]
Kelly Huston from Cal EMA. My name is Kelly Huston. I'm the Communications Director
over at Cal EMA and I'm helping Steve. And we've got lots of our folks here, in fact.
Jim Ayer is in the audience and he's a great resource. He's with our training branch.
So, some of the things you see on this list here. If you're curious. Like, "Well, how do we get certified?"
"How do you get into those classes?" Jim can help you do that. Here's one of the things.
that I think that -- and this is sort of a selfish thing for me and what I do -- but
it's the crisis communications plan and how that integrates into your plan.
So you have crisis plans that talk about procedures, right?
Who goes where. What people do. Who's involved. How the process
works. And I think one of the things that's often overlooked is the crisis communications
plans. In other words, how do you communicate what's happening
and what you're going to do, and you intend to do, to the general public,
to the constituents, and the folks that are going to be affected by it.
You've seen these big incidents where you get panicked parents and you get a lot of
people who are really anxious. And we all know
in the school systems that parents just don't have tolerances for
patience. And so they will actually take action that creates
problems. It further complicates it for you. Then there's also, on the other side,
the whole politics of it, right? How does the folks that are in charge, your boards
-- school boards, superintendents, others -- how does it affect
them and what kind of changes might they make as a result of what they
perceive happened? (As opposed to what really happened.)
Because what happens in the classroom and on the campus is often not adequately
portrayed when it comes to somebody who's looking at it maybe Monday morning quarterback.
You know, this all happens. There's no surprise here. We know this does happen.
So, you really should get involved with whoever it is
that's either gonna be the spokesperson, your communications director for your district, or
somebody that's in that chain. Somebody who's actually gonna
talk to the media. Are we going to put out a letter to parents?
Are we making some sort of reverse notification? Can we partner with law enforcement
and perhaps we can use their existing system like a reverse 911 system
to put out a notice? Or at least -- in many cases, law enforcement
will already be doing that. With a lockdown.
Somehow, you can integrate a sentence in that messaging that assists you. Whether it's where to
pick up your kids, what the school's doing, that you're aware of it. Those
things are really important. So, if you put yourself in the shoes of the people on the outside
of the crime scene tape, on the outside of the fence,
that's really important. And there's a saying that we do when we teach crisis communication, we do classes
for public officials. And we encourage you if you're interested in doing that, we would love
to do one like this. It's two hours because we know that elected officials have a
short...attention span. And in that two hour period,
we teach them "how do you deal with the public."
What do you do? What's the messaging? It's not public relations. This is crisis communication.
And so, there's a saying that comes out that sort of
overlays all of what you do in your planning and how you communicate with the public.
And the saying is, people want to know that you care before they
care what you know. So think about that. People want to know that you care
before they care what you know. And this is out of academic research and
the science that's behind what we teach is that people just want to know that
you care about them before they're even going to listen to what you have to say.
And in the case of what Steve talked about with Rudy Giuliani and 9-11,
when you saw 9-11 unfold, all of us had that anxiety, that uncertainty,
that fear that, "Oh, is this going to get worse? Are we going to see it here on the west coast?
Is it just going to multiply?" When your anxiety goes up,
your ability to process information goes down. It goes way down. In fact,
you lose about 80% of your cognitive ability to process things rationally.
So, in that process, what we want to do is try to open that up.
Reduce it to 70, 60, 50%.
And in the process of doing that, the leadership that you show, that your elected officials show,
all of that is what reduces that. So, in the case of Rudy Giuliani, this is the key
point out of this. You heard him come out and he was very
matter of fact about things. He said, look, this is a tragic day.
We've had things happen. Rest assured we're going to be doing everything that we can. We've got the
port authority, the police, the FBI on it and we're going to survive this.
And he did that repeatedly. Short messaging,
he did it often, and people sort of stripped away the politics.
They didn't care whether he was Republican or Democrat. What they saw was leadership, reassurance,
and it got people in a frame of mind to make rational decisions or at least
have a better chance of making a rational decision. And his ability to do that
was not predicated on his talent. He's not just some
wildly talented politician that knows how to communicate in a crisis. He actually had been
for the last two years prior to that having his executive team
every time they had an executive staff meeting, he would take 15 minutes at the end of the meeting
they would look at an incident that is relevant to them at the time.
So whether it's a water main break in downtown whether it's some other crime
that's occurred, and he would ask his command team to put together
a message map and practice what are the messages
that we're going to come out with. And there's a whole science to this. As to how do you create a message
what do you say, and how quickly do you say it? So the
lesson learned here is that his plan was already in his head. It was practiced.
And it actually showed itself to be of great value to the nation
on September 11 because it was very reassuring to us. Because we felt
like there was leadership. That things were being done. That all of the things that we needed
to have happen in the face of a horrible tragedy were occurring.
So I'm going to teach you one thing and then I'm going to get off the stage here.
There's a thing called -- we talk about empathy and compassion and how you communicate in a crisis.
So, write this down: CCO.
There's three words. So it's
Compassion, Conviction, and Optimism.
Compassion. Conviction. Optimism.
So in the face of a tragic
event -- or any sort of event. A high profile case where people are
concerned. And schools are the genesis of most of the
concern because it quickly involves kids.
People just get really concerned really quick. That CCO is a message template for how you can
come out and provide a message ot the public without even having to have
all the facts. Because often, especially in today's world where Twitter is way
ahead of us, people are already talking about it, the kids are already tweeting in the classroom,
they're already sending pictures out, and we
(think about it -- you as a parent or and adult) are like, "Okay. I've seen
-- I'm hearing about this Twitter thing and the kids are talking about it, but where is the adult in this?
Where is the person in charge?" So you can literally come out with that message
that's compassion, conviction, optimism. That's the template of what your message is.
So you have an event. A kid gets injured in some way. It may be
hit by a car and it's fatal and it's nasty and it's
effecting everybody. Before you're able to say why it happened,
what the details are, what the kid's name is, all those information, you can just come out and say
your CCO message. Compassion: so, our hearts go out
to the family of this child and those effected. Conviction:
which is, rest assured we're doing everything we can to make sure that all the other kids are
safe at this point and we're investigating it.
And optimism: we will get to the bottom of this and it will make our school safer
when we find out what the mistake is or what the problem is here. And rest assured these
kids' safety is our top priority. So there's your message
template. So that needs to be a part of your plan and I really encourage you not to
overlook that. Because we can do the best job behind the school
doors and within our plans, but if the public doesn't have confidence
or doesn't perceive that we've done it competently, it can just kill us.
And we spend a lot of time defending things that don't need to be defended.
So I think that's really critical.