Many think exercise design is easy. I’ve seen agencies relegate it to interns and new staff with little supervision, or even performed by seasoned emergency managers with little concept of what the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is. Sadly, we have people completing HSEEP training and even FEMA’s Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) program, … Continue reading Emergency Management Exercises: Not for the Inexperienced
I was recently asked by a client about my thoughts on pre-developed or ‘canned’ exercises. As it turns out, I have a lot of feelings about them, most of them negative. Pre-developed exercises, if properly understood and applied, can be a huge help, but the big problem is that we’re dealing with human nature, and … Continue reading Use of Pre-Developed Exercises – Proceed with Caution
I find often that people want to run exercises they aren’t quite ready for. Sometimes those exercises are too complex, or they simply aren’t the appropriate type. Most often, we run exercises to test plans, policy, and procedures; but sometimes those plans, policies, and procedures aren’t quite ready to be tested. Last year I advised … Continue reading Exercises: Simple is Usually Better
If you’ve been doing emergency management and homeland security exercises for even a little while, you are probably familiar with this graphic. It’s included in a great many exercise training courses and other materials that talk about the different types of exercises out there. This graphic looks correct at first glance. It seems to make … Continue reading Preparedness Exercises – The Building Block Concept Can Be Misleading
The article by the Guardian describes a death and multiple injuries incurred by students at a Kenyan university by JUMPING FROM THE BUILDING when they thought they heard an active shooter. That’s exactly what they heard – but it was an exercise. And no one told them. This flat out pisses me off. Let me … Continue reading People should not die in exercises!
In this last article of the Return on Investment series, I’ll be discussing the investments and benefits of preparedness exercises to help organizations determine their return on investment – or ROI. The series has followed the model of the five POETE elements (Planning, Organizing, Equipping, Training, Exercising). The inspiration for the series was a piece … Continue reading Gauging Return on Investment in Preparedness: Exercises
Incorporating Social Media Into Your Exercises, a post within the idisaster.wordpress.com blog. This blog was first brought to my attention through the most recent DHS Capacity Building Webinar Series episode called Innovating with Disaster Drills and Exercises (also available on iTunes, which is how I usually listen to them). The blog’s primary writer, Kim Stephens, … Continue reading Incorporating Social Media Into Your Exercises
A couple of days ago I started reading Rumsfeld’s Rules – Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life. Hopefully you have some familiarity with Donald Rumsfeld – the man was a naval aviator, US Congressman, aide to four US presidents, corporate CEO, and is the only person to ever serve as Secretary of Defense … Continue reading Are You Inviting the Right People to Your Exercises?
Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity, and the pleasure, to lead and participate in some very significant exercises. For some of these larger exercises (mostly functional) we were more interested in testing objectives associated with activities which would occur 72 or 96 hours into the incident (i.e. well after the initial … Continue reading Using Layered Exercises to Add Value to an Exercise Initiative
A conversation I find myself having fairly often is about people not using plans. It’s amazing that we invest so much time, money, and effort into building plans to never see them used, even if the opportunity presents itself. Why is this? I see four primary reasons: 1. People don’t know the plans exist. There … Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Emergency Planning