ODPS offers toolkit for mall active shooter exercises

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) released a self-contained, ready-to-go toolkit to help protect Ohioans while they shop. The Mall Active Shooter Tabletop Exercise Toolkit will help mall officials and first responders be better prepared to deal with an active aggressor situation.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), in conjunction with the Private Investigator and Security Guard Services (PISGS), are releasing the toolkit, which is available for download after a brief registration process.

“It may be a sign of the times, but mass shootings in public places occur far too often,” said Sima Merick, executive director of the Ohio EMA. “We have to know how to respond in a way that protects Ohioans and saves as many lives as quickly as possible.”

The toolkit provides the materials and information necessary to plan and host a 4-1/2 hour tabletop exercise that will help bring private security guards, law enforcement and other local officials together.

“Coordination between private security, mall officials, law enforcement and other first responders is critical to saving lives,” said Geoff Dutton, executive director of PISGS. “We believe this toolkit will bring the right people together and lead to frank discussions that will help all be better prepared.”

The tabletop exercise is intended to involve key personnel in discussing emergency and security plans, policies and procedures, and to promote functional organization within participants’ jurisdictions. Exercise participants would include: mall managers and security personnel; businesses and shops; law enforcement agencies; emergency management agencies; fire departments; emergency medical systems; 911 emergency dispatch; community support organizations.

“This exercise toolkit is a ready-made package that will help the retail sector partner with local preparedness and response partners,” said David Nunley, supervisor of the Ohio EMA Training and Exercise Section. “With this toolkit, there is no need to hire consultants to conduct a top-rate exercise.”

Toolkit materials include: powerpoint presentation for the tabletop exercise; facilitator’s guide; participant situation manual; planning timeline; meeting and support documents.

To register and download exercise toolkit materials, visit the Ohio EMA website at www.ema.ohio.gov/index.aspx, scroll down to Emergency Management, and click on Mall Active Shooter Exercise Toolkit.

Story courtesy of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Story courtesy of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.