Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit

2.0 Drilling in Schools

TEC 37.108 requires that district emergency operations plans provide for mandatory school drills to prepare students and employees for responding to an emergency. This section will present guidance and recommended practices for conducting effective emergency drills in schools. It describes the purpose of a good drill program, offers guidance for scheduling and conducting drills, and provides job-aids that schools can use to create drill programs as well as to evaluate, track, and document drills each school year.

Drills are a set of procedures that test a single, specific operation or function, such as evacuating for a fire or locking down from an internal threat. Campus administrators, in collaboration with the school safety and security committee, can use drills to ensure that plans and procedures are effective and meet the desired objectives addressed in those plans. The value of drills to emergency planning and operations, increases exponentially when administrators seek feedback from staff and students by providing opportunities for all stakeholders to share lessons learned at both the campus and district levels.

Lessons learned from drills should be used to identify gaps and weaknesses and update plans and procedures. They also should be used as the first step in a larger preparedness process that includes tabletop and functional exercises designed to improve coordination, clarify roles and responsibilities, and to manage expectations. These will be discussed further in Section 4 of this Toolkit.