What are Red Ball Drills?
Lockdown drills are now a common part of daily life, both in school and at work. Many of these mandatory drills consist of the standard “run, hide, fight” scenario. Aric Mutchnick, President of Experior Group, Inc. and creator of Red Ball Drills, wants to change that.
Red Ball Drills are intended to be more effective than the standard lockdown with the goal of saving as many lives as possible. Aric came up with the idea when he was asked by a property management company to perform an active shooter scenario drill. The client set several special requirements: they didn’t want “run, hide, fight” to be the message; there could be no realistic weapons or items that might frighten tenants at their building; and the drill couldn’t interfere with the tenants’ daily tasks. Aric decided he would use an object of no significant value—a red dodge ball—to present the drill without causing a commotion like regular drills might. “Nobody was having the conversation of how to manage a policy to control the issue,” he explains. “It’s all about the process. You have to use the people for their expertise to figure out an effective method for the client because every client is going to have their own process that will work best.”
The idea is simple: Aric presents the organization with a red dodge ball and asks what their plan is. The employees, managers, and other staff are the experts on the site location; Aric uses their input to get the organization to think about the process of dealing with a “red ball” scenario. He asks questions based on the information they give him so that the red ball is dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible. By the end of the drill, management has a better idea of how to react if a serious event does occur.
Red Ball Drills encourage movement to escape the threat. Some ideas that have come up during Red Ball Drills have included verbal persuasion over intercom systems to delay the threat; running outside en masse; and contacting the necessary people (law enforcement, upper management, etc.) while removing oneself from the situation.
The “red ball” is able to be used as any client-specific issue, from active shooters to food contamination to a kidnapped child. Former clients have included school districts, hospitals, malls, stadiums, distribution facilities, corporate offices, performing arts centers, movie theaters, and government buildings.
“Red Ball Drills are meant to reduce the trauma as much as possible in a dangerous situation,” Aric said. “The ‘run, hide, fight’ scenario doesn’t take into account that law enforcement won’t immediately be present. The Sandy Hook shooting proves that this method causes even more issues. We’re trying to change that by getting people to be active about what they do. We’re trying to save lives.”
For more information on how your organization can benefit from Red Ball Drills, please contact us.