Case Western Reserve University Full-scale Active Shooter Exercise

03/19/2014 Comments 0

Sadly, campus shooting sprees such as Columbine and Virginia Tech have emerged as one of the greater high-probability/high impact threats faced by educational institutions throughout the United States. Through our partners at Armada Ltd, Nusura was able to provide SimulationDeck to Case Western Reserve University for their full-scale active-shooter exercise assessing response capabilities of the university’s external affairs office, area tactical teams, and coordination between campus, city and county offices of emergency management.
One of the special aspects of this SimulationDeck-powered exercise was the ability to create a perceptible online presence for the perpetrator. Using SimulationDeck's social media applications, exercise planners pre-loaded angry and provocative posts, and pictures of knives, guns and bomb-making materials. During exercise play the actor who played this character made posts from his cell phone to his Bleater and SimulationBook accounts, and posted disturbing videos of himself and his hostages. Law enforcement was able to sift through these posts, and other crowd-sourced images, for information that proved helpful to their investigation and tactical operations.
External affairs personnel were called upon to develop and deliver a proactive public information campaign, updating stakeholder audiences about the situation and what officials were doing to resolve the crisis, while at the same time monitoring and appropriately responding to a constant stream of questions from simulated media, students, parents, faculty and administrators about the perpetrator’s posts.
As with real-world events, the amount of unconfirmed information being shared by the simulated public on social media frequently exceeded the level of official information external affairs officers were authorized to release, underscoring the need for enhanced communication between external affairs staff, command staff and tactical operations – an issue confronted by any organization managing an emergency where the public information needs conflict with incident response and incident investigation concerns.

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