Kiki. On Fleek. Bae. Yas.

Every generation revises and adds to language, its predecessors uttering,
“Those damn kids!” No different today. And these language updates don’t just apply to popular culture. We’re seeing the same in public safety.

Another retired cop and I recently discussed “pre-plan” versus plain old “plan.”

“Pre-planning is a state of ignorance that occurs before you know you have to fix a problem. You know you have a problem, but you don’t know what’s in play yet.  Your boss tells YOU to come up with a plan. He’s pre-planning.” L-Tron Director of Forensic Education Andrew McNeill, ACTAR, CSCSA, and retired Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Our conclusion? No difference. Some revisionist buzzword jockey threw “pre” on planning because it sounded cool. Hyphen optional.

What is Pre-planning?

Back in April, I wrote about the purpose of a “pre-accident plan.” Before an accident?  Defies reason.  You can’t plan for an accident, otherwise it’s not an accident.  Sort of “accidentally on purpose.” Every discipline has its own unique terms often borrowed from somewhere else, but if there’s one word that spans every profession and industry, it’s “plan.”

In emergency services fields – law enforcement, fire, EMS, and every subcategory – planning and preparation are critical. From the street to administration, recruiting to operations, fatal car crashes to fire, dynamic entry, homicide or arson investigation … planning plays a role. In policy, practice, training, organizational structure, budgeting, purchasing, financing – essentially doing anything in emergency services without planning equals liability and lawsuit. Proper planning reduces risk and mitigates mistakes.

Recently, attention has been focused on active shooter incidents. Now, more than ever before, we have to prepare for unthinkable, horrific tragedies that unfortunately, are no longer unthinkable. They’re happening.

Public places like schools and churches (or anywhere a crowd might gather) are on alert and we’re seeing these organizations join forces with public safety agencies to document their space with L-Tron’s OSCR360 system. The 360-degree photographs document interiors and exteriors of buildings, while software features such as mapping overlays and GPS coordinates are utilized for any planning need. Training doesn’t have to be on-site anymore.  OSCR’s virtual tours train and prepare for situational threats off-site.  Planning for the unthinkable or is it pre-planning?

A Rochester University is utilizing OSCR360 for planning. RIT Public safety is using the OSCR 360 to provide realistic in depth scenario based training within the department and with outside first responders including Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement teams.  The department also plans to catalog all spaces on the RIT campus with the OSCR360 as another resource for emergency response.

OSCR projects are used to proactively train and prepare for active shooter situations in partnership with local law enforcement. The OSCR360 system empowers first responders to help plan for the unthinkable.

We draw on our knowledge, training and experience.  We rely upon instinct, human nature, and our emotions to do the right thing. We brief and debrief to better plan future responses.  To the degree we can plan for both the expected and unexpected, we know that without planning, consequences are more likely to turn deadly.

Hank Kula

Hank is a retired police sergeant with 26 years in law enforcement. A certified crime scene investigator and crash reconstructionist, Hank instructs police recruits in general topics. He also instructs veteran police officers in crime scene investigation and management, photography, and latent fingerprint processing. As a former road supervisor and manager of a forensics unit, he continues to instruct new sergeants in communications, writing, and report review. A former journalist, he has coordinated a biennial public information officer school for emergency responders. Click to learn more about Hank.
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