Jewish community security group urges ‘tabletop’ attack simulations

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The security arm of two U.S. Jewish community umbrella groups is urging communities to run "tabletop" exercises simulating attacks in the wake of last week’s deadly assault on a school in Connecticut.

“Last week’s horrific mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school reminds us that our institutions must unfortunately plan for and be prepared for worst case scenarios, including active shooter events," Paul Goldenberg, who directs Secure Community Network, an arm of Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said in a statement Wednesday.

Tabletop exercises simulate crises in a relaxed conference-style setting, and are favored by some security experts because the lessons are likelier to sink in than with more active simulations.

Two modules available from SCN portray an international terrorist attack and a domestic terrorist attack.

"The exercise provides a forum for participants to gain an understanding of the issues they may face prior to, during, and after a threat or an attack and the necessary coordination with other law enforcement partners regarding a potential attack on their facility," the release said.

SCN also re-posted strategies for dealing with attacks on a school on its website, www.scnus.org, and is convening a national conference call for Jewish schools next month.

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