Site Security Problems
Because scenario-based training, particularly simulation training, is so realistic, you have to make sure that only those directly involved in the training are on site. A civilian stumbling upon a scenario-in-progress is bad enough. A law enforcement officer stumbling upon a scenario-in-progress could be very much worse. Imagine what could happen if an officer walked in on what appeared to be a hostage situation with the bad guy holding a gun to the hostage's head. Now that's a nightmare!
You can do a number of things to help secure your site, including locking doors, if you will be inside a building (be sure you know who has keys), posting sentries on the perimeter if you're outdoors, and putting up "Police Training in Progress" signs at every entry. Be sure that your local 911 center is aware that you're doing training at the site. Let neighboring jurisdictions know about it as well. Find your sites well in advance of the training and sit down with the property owner or manager to plan for security.
All the planning in the world will not guarantee absolute security. The two most important things you can do to prevent a tragedy from a breach of security are to ensure that every scenario has a safety officer and to empower every single person on site--including the trainees--to stop the action for safety problems. Make it clear that anyone who sees a safety violation should immediately shout "Stop scenario!" (or other agreed-on signal) and that when that happens, EVERYTHING STOPS.
If you are using equipment in your training, be assured that rascal Murphy will be active. The camcorder battery will be dead, or the blunt force trauma gear will be missing pieces, or the marking cartridges will be left behind. The solution to equipment problems, like other problems, is to prepare beforehand and have a Plan B. A day or two before the training, make sure you have assembled and checked all the needed gear. When you develop scenarios, include in the scenario description any needed equipment. Then when you choose your scenarios for a particular training, you can easily make an equipment list and check off items as you get them ready.
If possible, have spares--batteries and radios, for example. Decide what to do if equipment malfunctions or never makes it to the training site. If you can get along without it (a camcorder, for example), go ahead with the planned training. It would be nice to have a videotape, but it's not critical. If the missing or malfunctioning equipment is vital to safety (protective gear), substitute a scenario that does not require it rather than go ahead as planned. "The show must go on" is a fine sentiment for the theater, but not for training. Safety always comes first.
When you arrange for the training site, discuss with the owner or property manager what will happen if something on the site gets damaged. Of course, you will try to avoid any damage, but trainees can get pretty excited--especially if they're rookies or academy students. Having advance arrangements about payment for damage, whom to notify, and so on takes one more layer of stress off the event itself.
If, on the night before training, you know that you have prepared as best you can for the "predictable unpredictables," then you can sleep soundly, knowing you've done your best. As my mother used to say, "Even angels can do no more." You've got it covered...well, except for the asteroid.