The decisions that are made, or not made, during the first thirty to sixty minutes of a critical incident on campus, i.e., mass casualty incident, active shooter on campus, hazardous material incident, or major fire, are crucial to its outcome. The initial responding Public Safety Officers will determine whether the incident is allowed to accelerate out of control or is quickly stabilized.
Because of the potentially serious consequences that can arise from such an event, loss of life, litigation, and loss of public confidence, every MCC Public Safety Officer must be properly prepared to manage the scene during the crisis phase. Given the lack of frequency of major critical incidents, it is difficult to expect competence or a standardized response for managing these emotionally charged events without preparation through training.
To address these issues MCC Public Safety Department partnered with local law enforcement agencies and BowMac Educational Services http://www.bowmac.com/ to deliver comprehensive training in managing events in the "Crisis Phase" of a critical incident. All MCC Public Safety Officers and selected local law enforcement officers received 3 days of training on the nature and characteristics of a critical incident and provided them an opportunity to manage various types of incidents in a simulated high stress environment on a model campus simulator. This training was done January 2002 and is also given to recruit officers during their academy experience.
Once stabilization of an event has been accomplished, the supervisor in-charge must begin to manage the scene toward resolution through what is termed the Scene Management Phase. The training received by MCC Public Safety officers and local law enforcement utilized the nationally recognized Incident Command System. The training emphasized the need to build a decision making team at the field command post to bring about incident resolution. The training stressed the need for interaction through Unified Command with fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services as well as other units of government to effectively manage a critical incident. Pre-event planning utilizing the ICS model was also developed and practiced.
The course also emphasized that when resolution has occurred it is necessary to plan for a smooth transition to normal operation on campus and to conduct a comprehensive after action analysis of the event to improve the college's response to the next critical incident.
The Command Post Training was a three-day program. An annual 8-hour in-service refresher on Critical Incident Initial Response and Command Post Operations is given to all Public Safety Department staff.