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  • ZAA Professional Development Webinar: Tabletop Drills - Practicing Your Zoo Emergency Preparedness Exercises Within A Single Room

ZAA Professional Development Webinar: Tabletop Drills - Practicing Your Zoo Emergency Preparedness Exercises Within A Single Room

  • January 06, 2021
  • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • virtual

ZAA Professional Development Webinar

Table Top Drills
Presenter: Ken Kaemmerer

Advanced registration required:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dqB57AIDSQu7e7YxA4znTQ
For ZAA members only.  If you are not a member, join today!

Presentation begins at 2:00pm eastern for 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute Q&A.

Practicing for emergency events of all types within zoo and aquarium environments is not only smart preparation for all the many disasters we hear about regularly, but also is a zoo association standard necessary for accreditation.  While it is important to hold regular live action practice drills, there are times when a live simulation drill may be too complex or logistically difficult or too advanced for new or inexperienced staff for it to effect satisfactory lessons and experience.  This presentation will describe a variety of “Tabletop Drills,” where your staff can congregate together and be led through an emergency event step by step with the staff describing what actions they would take as the event progresses.  A tabletop drill can be formally scripted in advance by a leader with planned injections of complications to test the participants’ reactions.  Or a tabletop drill can be set up by the leader with complications randomized by the rolls of specific numbered dice with the outcomes less predictable.  Both methods stimulate thinking about potential emergency actions and help prepare your staff for live action drills as well as real emergencies.


Ken Kaemmerer (Curator of Mammals @Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium)
Ken has enjoyed a career of more than 40 years at multiple zoos in N. America as well as S. America.  He has spent the last 11 years as mammal curator at the Pittsburgh Zoo and prior to that for 22 years as mammal curator at the Dallas Zoo.  Currently he serves ZAA as Chair of the Animal Management Programs and Conservation Committee.  Over the years he’s had many experiences with various types of emergencies from dangerous animal escapes to recoveries from flooding.  He has directed, planned and participated in preparations for emergencies through various practice drills ranging from tabletop drills to live action drills.  He created a tabletop drill format where the chosen scenario and the progressive steps can be randomized to be unpredictable, simulating the uncertainty of an emerging crisis, but allowing each participant to react and discuss with others what they would do to resolve the emergency.  This was described in an article in the Winter 2018 issue of the ZAA Journal.





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