Geauga County, Ohio Sheriff Daniel McLelland – in whose county the fatal Chardon High School shooting occurred Monday – believes proactive crisis response training prevented the incident from causing more panic in the community than it already had:
“Several years ago, the Chardon school district and local law enforcement began conducting drills, training, practice, if you would, for an event just like occurred today. As a result of that we were well-prepared for the response,” he said at a news conference. “Law enforcement was quickly placed inside the school upon arrival, and we believe that helped to lessen the tragedy that occurred.””
Anyone who listens to the audio tapes of the cool, professional tone and voices of public safety first responders as the horror unfolded in real-time in their home town cannot help but be impressed with their calm efficiency.
CommCore regularly advises its clients that crisis planning, training and simulation drills are essential to successful, prompt crisis communications and response. Whether it’s a case of seemingly random violence, as in Chardon, or a threat to a brand’s reputation as is more often the case for our clients, the lessons are the same:
· Preparedness is not a booklet in a filing cabinet.
· Effective, rapid and accurate response is due to proactive planning and drilling. It does not happen by accident.
· Clear and concise communication to key stakeholders is an essential part of any successful crisis response. People want to know what you know, and they expect to know it now.
We can surmise that Chardon High School and local law enforcement officials learned hard lessons from the Columbine massacre in Colorado thirteen years ago. Have you or your clients stopped to learn from Chardon?