Emergency Management Exercises

Discussion-based and operations-based exercises make up a comprehensive exercise program. Both types are necessary for a well-rounded preparedness cycle.

Exercises are part of being well prepared. They bring together the whole community in an effort to prepare, respond, and recover from all hazards. Exercises certify plans and policies for best practices.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts uses the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as the set of advising principles for our exercise programs.  This allows for a common approach for overall program design and improvement.

Discussion Based Exercises

Seminars:  Seminars provide an overview of plans and policies.

Workshop: Workshops focus on specific issues. They are guided with the intent to build products such as standard operating procedures.

Tabletop Exercise: A tabletop exercise tests plans using a hypothetical event.  This can also assess the level of readiness through discussion.

Game: Games are a simulation of operations. They often involve two or more teams, usually in a competitive environment. They use rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation.

Operations Based Exercises

Drills: Drills test a single operation or function within a single entity.

Functional Exercise: Functional exercises test or validate skills of cooperative groups. They occur in real-time, realistic environments. They do not involve actual movement of personnel or equipment.

Full-Scale Exercise: Full-scale exercises occur in real-time, lifelike environments. They are intended to mirror actual incidents. Personnel and resources mobilize and deploy to a scene as if an actual incident had occurred.

Exercise Training Opportunities

FEMA Independent Study Courses

IS-120a: An Introduction to Exercises
IS-130: Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning
IS-139: Exercise Design

More Courses are available at: http://www.training.fema.gov/is/

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