Thursday, November 21, 2013


I enjoy reading blogs that have a balance of good-news stories and the occasional, that-stinks story.  A ratio of about three good-news to one that-stinks seems about right.

It gives me deep satisfaction to write today's post.  I see it as evidence that some of the people in charge are intelligent people, thinking about the important things.

Unannounced Lock-down

One of my that-stinks posts was about how one place I worked bungled evacuation drills.  Standard norms of behavior, many of them safety absolutes, were suspended during announced evacuation drills.

We will play on game day the way we practiced all week long.  The key to victory is to practice the way we want the team to play on game day.

The dysfunction of those evacuation drills was such that the population (including me) was being set-up for a gross failure.

So it gives me deep satisfaction to tell you that one of our local schools executed the first unannounced lock-down drill in Eaton County. 

My source informs me that the performance was good but not perfect....let's say they received a solid B.  Some rough edges were identified.  Those edges will be honed smooth in short order.  More importantly, all buildings in the district (and maybe the county) will be carpet bombed with the counter-measures.

Emotion vs Logic

Emotion wins because it is so much faster.  The emotional response system is parallel process and open loop.  The logical response system is sequential and closed loop.  We need both to survive as a species.

I am trapping mice in the pantry.  Emotions are mouse traps.  They trigger.  They go "BAM!"

I visit my "trap line" twice a day: That is logic.  I tabulate results.  I empty, rebait and reset traps that were effective.  I move traps that did not attract a mouse.  I tether traps that were too sensitive and caught an arm or a tail and got dragged off.

When the adrenaline dumps, "BAM!" is guaranteed to out-run and overwhelm ERJ's twice-a-day trap-line runs.

There is stunningly little cross-talk between "BAM!" and logic. Very little effective training of "BAM" happens with traditional, logic based training.

The key to A+ performance is to form deeply worn ruts (behaviors) in the "BAM!" portions of the brain.

That is what Bill at e.IA.f.t. is trying to make happen here.  Muscle memory and ruts in the "BAM!" portions of the brain.

The unannounced lockdown drill started forming those ruts.

Setting mouse traps

The role of the logical mind is to be the coach that sets the stage so the initial ruts are in appropriate directions.  Then, to perform post-event analysis and make adjustments.

I first set the traps in likely places.  I monitor results.

I keep what is good.

Some actors will not 'get off the X' the trap that does not attract a mouse.  I take corrective actions. I might change the bait (stimuli). I might move them.  Sometimes I move them close to a trap that works very well.

Some actors the trap that catches feet or tails.  I might reduce the amount of bait.  Sometimes trap triggers due to it having been placed in a mouse trail and the mouse walks or jumps over it.   I might move that too-sensitive trap to a place with less stimuli.  Or, if that is not an option, I tether it so I can recover trap and wiggly mouse.

The Super

Dr. Bill DeFrance is the Superintendent of Eaton Rapids Public Schools.  He would be gratified if you were to give him an atta-boy.  Or, if you have investment in school or institutional safety, you might drop him a line.  I think he is a sharp guy.

Email:  "Bill DeFrance" <>
Phone:  (517) 663-8155

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