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Home > security > Is Your Contingency Plan “Operationally Realistic, Part 1

Is Your Contingency Plan “Operationally Realistic, Part 1

Over the years, I have reviewed numerous emergency/contingency plans. The majority of them looked good on paper, they were well written, numbered appropriately, covered all of the applicable industry standards, etc., yet they left me with the feeling that, if needed, they would be “operationally” impractical. So I started using the following matrix.

The matrix that I use, requires the reviewer to closely examine every element of the plan. Since the events of September 11, 2001, emergency plans have taken (or should have taken) on several new dimensions, which will be discussed indepth in Part II of this article.

The matrix that I use can be applied to  new plans expand existing plans, or can be used to review current plans. It is composed of four major sections and they are:

Paper -> People -> Places -> Equipment. I have used the matrix for over twenty years to solve problems, develop programs, review policies, procedures, protocols, and plans. The reason that I use this matrix is because I believe that it makes a person approach the issue in a logical and methodical way. As the old saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” I believe that the matrix aids people in reducing an issue into workable parts.

Additionally, the matrix is set-up so that each element must be addressed. Here are some examples:

Paper - Mission statement, policies, procedures, protocols, training curricula, post orders,  use-of-force / rules of engagement, etc.

People - Staff (broken down by function), offenders, visitors, family members, and the press, etc.

Places - Entire facility (broken down into sections), trouble spots, areas of vulnerability (public  access, sally-ports, emergency generator (s), natural gas shutoffs, waiting room, etc. Each             area has to be totally assessed.

Equipment - Consists of Equipment (weapons, chemical agents/pepper spray, and delivery methods),  Materials (Hazmat suits, gas mask filters, latex gloves, geiger counters, etc.) and  Technology (intrusion detection, video cameras, fences/walls, lighting, computers, data bases, etc.).

In the years prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, emergency/contingency plans were focused on traditional correctional emergencies (disturbances, escapes, work slowdown, fires, hostage situations, natural disasters, etc.). Today’s emergency/contingency plans must address terroist attacks, organized gang activities, the incarceration of terrorists and para-military offenderS like the Los Zetas (former members of the Mexican Army’s Special Forces). These groups and others can present issues that must be addressed in the facility’s emergency/contingency plans.

Here is a scenario that you can think about until the next time:

-> It is 10:00 A.M. there is a correctional industries truck in the sally-port; about 100 offenders are in the education area. Without warning the truck in the sally-port explodes! The offenders in the education area take the security officers and teachers hostage, while the outside patrol reports that a group of heavily armed men are shooting at his vehicle with automatic weapons and are running toward the blown-out sally port.

Topics That Will Be Addresses in Part Two.

- How to deal with multiple issues transpiring simultaneously.
- How a facility can use existing equipment, weapons, etc., against an armed attack.
- Looking to the future about what can be done to harden the facility.

Is Your Contingency Plan “Operationally” Realistic - Part I                                                                  Wm. Bill Sturgeon

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  1. July 6th, 2009 at 22:16 | #1

    I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

  2. July 7th, 2009 at 18:06 | #2

    Thank you. Please feel free to tell your family and friends about the my Blog.

  3. July 8th, 2009 at 11:14 | #3

    The question you posed was very insightful It makes you think about what could happen.

  4. July 8th, 2009 at 15:35 | #4

    Although I am a vegetarian and not an elephant eater like Bill, I am ever impressed with his thought processes and ideas. I look forward to part two and many more Old Man blogs.

  5. July 13th, 2009 at 14:57 | #5

    Thanks, Part II a. will be out this week. It will be on perimeter security.

  6. July 13th, 2009 at 15:00 | #6

    As this century progress I believe that questions like the ones that I asked will become part of the normal planning process. Thank for dropping by. Bill
    P.S. Part IIa will be out this week. It discusses perimeter security. I would like to know what you think.

  7. Lt Charles Jackson
    September 5th, 2009 at 10:42 | #7

    Thanks Bill for your in-sight and knowledge on Security Procedures. I had some training with the NIC in CO and you were one of the facilitators. I enjoyed your enthusiasm then and I enjoy your commentary now. This forum is just one more tool for my tool box,Thanks!

    Lt C.Jackson
    WA ST D.O.C

  8. September 7th, 2009 at 11:54 | #8

    Thanks for word of encouragement. I am “old school” but I believe that we have some tried and true security procedures and that we should follow them. That said, we need to be looking at future challenges.
    Please stay in-touch. I wish you the best. Bill

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