All of the Colleges of the Fenway institutions have been working diligently towards creating robust emergency preparedness programs that address all of the emergent events and hazards that they could potentially face. These range from examples such as hurricanes and floods and power outages to what to do in the event of an active shooter or a call to shelter in place.
A large step towards this has included holding “table-top” exercises at each of the colleges. A table-top exercise (TTX) involves a simulated emergency event. All of the members of an institution’s incident management team collaborate and talk through their emergency plans in order to respond to the scenario they are given and identify roles and responsibilities.
One example of this occurred on January 12, 2017 when Emmanuel College participated in an emergency TTX). Over 30 members of Emmanuel’s Incident Management Team participated and were able to test their emergency plans. There were a lot of great takeaways from the exercise. Staff did an excellent job communicating with each other and identifying the resources they had in order to respond properly to the scenario they were given. Several “areas for improvement” (always a key goal of this kind of activity) and emergency preparedness development opportunities were also identified A few examples include practical necessities such as some supplies and equipment that need to be procured and stored in Emmanuel’s Command Center. As a part of holding any emergency exercise, all “areas of improvement” are tracked and prioritized in order to make emergency preparedness programs stronger and to help mitigate future events. By doing this kind of exercise it helps everyone to be better prepared and creates clarity about what they need to do in the event a real emergency occurs.
“The Table Top Exercise presented a tremendous learning opportunity for Emmanuel College. Bryan did a great job rolling out a complex scenario and helping us identify a multiple-stage plan in response. There is no question that Emmanuel will be better prepared to manage an emergency. We have already taken steps to shore up our supplies, strengthen our communication systems and expand the training of faculty, staff and student leaders.”
-Patricia Rissmeyer, Vice President of Student Affairs
“The Table Top exercise provided a pointed reminder that these types of events are very real and very unpredictable in their nature and timing. I believe all of the participating Emmanuel personnel benefited from increased familiarization with the college’s emergency response procedures and we are better prepared to manage a future incident.” -Sean Philpott, Associate Vice President of Information Technology & CIO
“I was pleased that individuals from the Incident Management Team took the time out to attend this important exercise. Each department was able to speak to how such a scenario would impact their area and the effect on the College’s overall operation. This led to a good discussion and a framework to further improve our preparedness.”
-Sr. Anne Donovan, SND, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer