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Emergency Management staff in a disaster preparedness exercise.The Department also conducts annual drills for Clackamas County employees and encourages all county citizens to participate. We have an active hazard mitigation program to make our county more resilient in the event of a disaster. State Emergency Service (SES) Emergency Management Services provides leadership in relation to emergency management training and planning across South Australia.
The evolution of how we prepare for, respond to and recover from human or natural caused disasters has taken place by incorporating our experiences from events throughout the world.
Hazard Analysis – conduct an analysis of all threats within your jurisdiction service areas and identify vulnerabilities currently within your organization. Equipment – identify and secure equipment and supplies necessary for effective response and rapid recovery from any event. Training – provide basic training for all personnel and specialized training for essential services. Drills and Exercises – conduct regular drills and response exercises to prepare all personnel and update all standard operating procedures. Response – respond to actual incidents and events using proven field management systems supported by state of the art emergency operations centers. Recovery – continue essential services and operations while implementing your recovery plan, maintain crisis communications with your primary constituents. Evaluation – Conduct post disaster reviews and analysis to identify short falls and areas in need of improvement. Mitigation – identify and invest in programs that will ensure your organization becoming more disaster resilient.
Update and Refresh – incorporate lessons learned by updating and refreshing all plans, procedures and programs while continuing to strengthen your organization. Image Right: Large venue public safety and emergency evacuation plans, including transportation of people with special needs. Our team members have all responded to major disasters and bring certified skills and real life experience with events ranging from major earthquakes, fires, floods, hazardous materials and terrorism.
Crisis Communications and Media Relations regarding the 1991 Oakland Hills, California Firestorm.
Forensic Analysis – We can conduct a thorough and complete audit of your emergency management programs.  We can identify the hazards and vulnerabilities that can disrupt your organization.
Emergency Plans, Standard Operating Procedures and Checklists – Develop custom designed planning documents for your organization including standard operating procedures and quick reference check lists for all essential personnel. Continuity of Government - All agencies, departments and programs must continue to provide essential services and Government cannot cease to function. Continuity of Operations – All business functions and customer care must continue if a business is to survive. Equipment and Supplies - Identify the tools necessary for response to an incident and increase your ability to survive and recover.
Training and Exercises – We can custom design programs to train your employees in response and recovery.  We can provide all levels of training including table tops, functional and full scale exercises. Disaster Recovery and Mitigation – Skilled disaster recovery specialists to assist you in recovery efforts and identify mitigation projects. Citizen Preparedness and Response (CERT) – Before the paramedics, firefighters or police officers arrive, the typical first responders are your co-workers or neighbors.
Vulnerable populations – Identify your population with special needs and develop plans, guidelines and secure resources to assist in alerting, evacuation and sheltering.
Legislation – Our team of government trained officials can review existing or proposed legislation.
Emergency Operations Centers – Central command and control centers are essential for effective management of emergency operations. Incident Management Systems – Our training specialists are certified to conduct training in Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and Hospital Incident Command System (HICS). Public Speaking and Presentations – Professional speakers available to share their experiences dealing with natural or human caused events. Are your current plans, policies and procedures designed to answer the following questions? Our group of subject matter experts is prepared to review all existing plans, policies and procedures in order to identify needed updates and possible shortfalls.
Custom designed training in the form of Full Scale, Functional or Table Top Exercises will prepare all designated staff.
We can provide a comprehensive hazard and threat analysis in compliance to local, state and federal guidelines. ASG is a highly-reputable, small business that provides professional services to all levels of government and international organizations.
Founded in 2005, ASG has grown rapidly by employing specialized subject matter experts who provide premier planning, analysis, consultation and training services for emergency managers and responders. Our highly-educated and experienced staff of professionals provide our clients with the full perspective from among their disciplines in emergency management, medical, fire and emergency services, hazardous materials, law enforcement, public health, and military. We have innovated many of the solutions used today by our nation’s first responders by integrating technologies into practical applications. ASG has experience providing solutions to a variety of clients at the local, state, federal and international levels - health departments, emergency managers, military, national guard, fire, hospitals, health departments, NGOs, states and senior leaders.
Our Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) - trained exercise team has designed and conducted over 1,500 full-scale exercises around the world. We have tailor-built over 80 threat-based scenarios and employed unique methods of challenging participants in exacting detail to provide our clients with the most realistic and challenging exercises. Integrated laboratory response network, hospitals, EMS, volunteers, senior leaders, EOCs, hazmat teams, decontamination and law enforcement.
Exercises are conducted to test and validate plans, procedures, equipment, facilities, and training. The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is a capabilities and performance-based exercise program that provides a standardized methodology and terminology for exercise design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Managing an exercise program includes determining and coordinating the training and exercise needs of emergency response and recovery agencies, community partners, and neighboring jurisdictions.
To maximize opportunity, manage availability and control expenses, emergency managers benefit from a consolidated and integrated Training and Exercise Plan (TEP). Larger or more advanced programs often develop TEPs which include multiple series occurring simultaneously with independent or overlapping goals or objectives.
To find out more about TEP workshops see the Training and Exercise Plan Workshop User's Handbook.
Discussion-based exercises include seminars, workshops, tabletop exercises (TTXs), and games.
Seminars are informal discussions, unconstrained by real-time portrayal of events and led by a presenter.
Workshops increase participant interaction and focus on achieving or building a product such as a draft plan or policy or to update a procedure. Tabletop exercises involve key personnel from multiple organizations discussing hypothetical scenarios in an informal setting to assess plans, policies, and procedures or systems. A game is a simulation of operations that often involves two or more teams and uses rules, data, and procedures to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation to explore decision-making processes and the consequences of those decisions. A drill is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to validate a single, specific operation or function.
Functional exercises are designed to validate and evaluate individual capabilities, multiple functions, activities within a function, or interdependent groups of functions. Full-scale exercises are the most complex and include the actual deployment of personnel and equipment.
To expand improvement opportunities in Texas, two additional types of exercises have been developed; Special Event Planning and Real-World Incidents. A Special Event Planning meeting brings together members of emergency management, other community partners, and representatives of the event (promoters, organizers, venue management, etc.) to discuss preparedness and response issues should a major emergency or disaster occur at or during the event. Conducting a post incident After Action Review of a real-world incident can be extremely beneficial. The jurisdiction’s chief elected official or a plan designated representative identified in the jurisdiction’s emergency management plan participated.
RWI may be used to meet EMPG exercise requirements only once per fiscal year and does not substitute for the triennial full-scale exercise requirement.
Gathering information during the testing of an emergency operations plan must be organized in order to maximize the benefit to the community. An After Action Report (AAR) is a consolidation of information gathered during the testing and evaluation of a community’s emergency operations plan through an exercise. After Action Reports should include sufficient information to identify the exercise, overarching goals and specific objectives being evaluated.
Improvement Plans leverage the outcomes of the evaluation to identify, develop and implement changes and actions to improve the community’s preparedness capacity. Exercise specific questions may be addressed to the Exercise Unit Supervisor at (512) 424-2447 or via email.
TDEM provides exercise training opportunities to familiarize exercise planners, evaluators, facilitators, controllers, and participants in HSEEP policy and doctrine.
TDEM can also provide limited exercise design, development and conduct assistance to local jurisdictions.
Californiaa€™s training chief, Curry Mayer, addresses effective emergency management education. A field exercise in 2012 used a 50-bed mobile field hospital taken from one of the three 200-bed hospitals maintained in California.

Curry Mayer is the state training chief for California’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).
Mayer responded to questions about emergency management training, the pros and cons of online training courses and what makes for effective training for the profession.
The Cal OES Training Branch is responsible for emergency management and homeland security training for state and local government personnel and the private sector. We also develop customized courses based on an agency’s specific role and responsibilities in emergency management.
In such a large state, how is training delivered by your organization and who are your target audiences? Our target audience is anyone involved in emergency management or homeland security activities, which actually includes most public and private organizations.
Many of the key principles of ICS came directly from the California Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS). We have done so by explaining how those concepts work even if you are not a firefighter or police officer or some other area of public safety. It is possible to practice activities online, however, practicing new concepts with other participants not only helps with retention, but provides the additional benefit of interaction with those who often also provide different perspectives. I have had many organizations come to me after their personnel have completed some type of online training and say that they now want training of the same type with a live instructor, because they feel the concepts did not stick with participants. What types of training are best suited for online delivery, and what is best done in a conventional classroom setting? Basic concepts may be successfully conveyed in an online setting, but must be followed up with some type of practice.
Emergency management courses are best accomplished with a live instructor and the ability for participants to interact with one another during class. Training with practical exercises and activities is the most effective in conveying complex concepts while providing opportunities for practicing new roles and responsibilities in a safe environment. Twenty-five years ago the focus on training in emergency management was on the Professional Development Series (PDS).
What are the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the tasks an emergency manager will be called on to do? Most emergency managers would agree that the acquisition of those skills is best gained through a variety of sources: formal education (including classroom, activity focused courses) online, exercises and real-world experience. What’s your advice to people seeking a career in emergency management with no direct experience? The best way to get some practical experience is to do volunteer work, not only for the traditional organizations that we usually think of, such as the American Red Cross, but also by talking with local emergency managers and offering your services.
What advice do you have for midcareer professionals who have five to 10 years of experience in emergency management? Branching out into a segment of emergency management that is new for them provides an opportunity to add new skills, make new contacts and expand their perspective of emergency management. There are usually no-cost or low cost courses and easily accessible research in almost every area.
We are bombarded with so much information from so many different sources it can become overwhelming. What advice do you have for senior emergency managers in supervisory positions and lead emergency management programs? For senior emergency managers who provide direction to programs, the most important thing to remember is to surround yourself with subject-matter experts and then use them to your advantage. As a senior emergency manager, remember that you don’t have to know all the answers, you just need to know where to go to get them.
The most useful training I have ever received was as a new instructor at our California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI). It begins with basic emergency management concepts and progresses to emergency operations center functions. It includes extensive small group activities, much of which are done after class (in the evenings), which is bonding for participants and mirrors those relationships they would have in a real setting.
Participant background skills and experience are culled to place participants in a role in the exercise that will be of benefit when they go back to their regular job.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management. Washington State has adopted the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as the state standard. There are a variety of independent study and classroom training opportunities for exercise professionals.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency Independent Study courses provide a student with an understanding of procedures and terminology related to a comprehensive exercise program. The MEPP goal is to increase the capabilities of participants in mastery of exercise program management and the overall exercise process in accordance with the policy, doctrine, practices, and tools in the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). IEMCs are exercise-based training courses that place jurisdictions’ emergency operations center (EOC) personnel in realistic crisis situations within a structured learning environment.
Information on how to prepare and submit an application for a community-specific IEMC can be found here. Emergency Management Division staff is available to assist cities, counties, tribal entities and state agencies in the design, conduct, and evaluation of their exercises for all hazards. This unit covers the competency to participate as a crisis management team member and manage the organisation through a crisis. To enable participants to implement and practice the concepts, principles and procedures required to manage a crisis impacting on the company.
Participants will be exposed to the organisation’s internal emergency management policy and structure as applied to a crisis, including the tools necessary to function at the crisis management level.
EMCS is able to offer this program in conjunction with IFAP, an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO Code 1907). This includes reports of damages to facilities and homes to assess the financial losses and community impacts. While many emergency situations are unavoidable, countermeasures can be developed to prevent loss of life, minimize damage, ensure continuity of operations and lead to a rapid recovery.  While we continue to learn from recent events, the following 10 steps can provide a road map toward a reliable emergency management program.
Being prepared can prevent loss of life, minimize damage, ensure continuity of operations and rapid recovery. Know what vendors, local suppliers and providers are available to rapidly execute mutual aid. Basic citizen preparedness training can provide a cadre of helpers that can help with injured victims and damage assessment.
Our teams of professionals have experience in designing and constructing state of the art Emergency Operations Centers.
If you are a CEO, Head of Government, or in charge of emergency operations, you need to have a system in place that can answer these questions and provide you with the information you need to make efficient and responsible decisions. Our exceptional services and focus on corporate values differentiates ASG from other firms. A community or company develops emergency operations plans, policies and procedures, acquires the necessary equipment, and conducts training. Exercise evaluations are conducted and analyzed to determine what occurred, and compare the observations to the plans, policies and procedures. A comprehensive exercise program increases in complexity through the building block approach. Through exercises communities achieve objective assessment of their capabilities so that strengths and areas for improvement are identified prior to a real incident. Emergency managers collaborate in identifying and prioritizing the threats and hazards of their community, determining community-wide goals and objectives, maintaining and updating various mitigation, prevention, response and recovery plans, and a wide variety of training opportunities which culminate in exercises.
By bringing together governmental, non-governmental, volunteer and faith based organizations within the community, a calendar of meetings, training activities and exercises can be generated and deconflicted to maximize benefit to the whole community. Discussion based exercises are commonly employed to familiarize participants with current plans, policies, agreements and procedures. These types of exercises are valuable tools for familiarizing agencies and personnel with current or expected capabilities of an entity.
To be effective, workshops must be highly focused on a specific issue, and the desired outcome or goal must be clearly defined. They facilitate understanding of concepts, identifying strengths and shortfalls to a particular situation through in-depth discussions and slow-paced problem solving.
A game does not require use of actual resources, and the sequence of events affects, and is in turn affected by, decisions made by players.
They are used to validate the plans, policies, agreements, and procedures solidified in discussion-based exercises. Drills are commonly used to provide training on new equipment, develop or validate new policies or procedures, or practice and maintain current skills.
The scenario simulates the reality of operations and the interactions of various levels of government, response organizations, volunteer groups, and industry. These multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional, multi-organizational activities validate many facets of preparedness. Senior Officials and facilitators can identify preliminary capabilities to be reviewed and evaluated by participating responders and staff. Exercise designers focus on a few select capabilities to be carefully observed and recorded for evaluation. It can also document response to and recovery from an actual emergency identifying lesson learned and best practices. IPs include recommendations from the exercise evaluation process, improvement actions to be implemented, identifies responsible agencies, and sets a target completion date.

With the advent of the Internet, distance learning has come to dominate many aspects of emergency management training, especially the delivery of Incident Command System (ICS) basic courses. She has 20 years of experience in emergency management and all aspects of training, from program management to curriculum design.
For example, we developed specialized activities within the ICS framework for the Department of Water Resources, Department of Food and Agriculture, and utility companies. While we recommend online training for basic concepts, we have found that for those whose main job is not emergency management, in-person training coupled with workshop activities is the most meaningful and is better absorbed by participants.
ICS is an easily understood system that expands and contracts to manage all types of events, from small to very complex. If your main job is not emergency management, in-person training with workshop activities to reinforce concepts and roles is most effective.
Online training is also a good vehicle for refresher training following an in-person classroom experience.
In-person, interactive training that includes a tabletop exercise that reinforces concepts learned in training is highly successful with excellent retention rates. The answer to that is complex, as it depends on not only your geographical location, but also on the level of government at which you work, the discipline under which you primarily operate (law, fire or general public safety, etc.) whether you have support staff, and the knowledge, skills and abilities of your co-workers. Most local governments welcome someone who is enthusiastic and willing to learn while helping out.
It is important for new emergency managers to blend academic work with hands-on experience.
Deciding on what areas to focus on and what sources of information are most accurate and accessible is key to keeping up with new ideas and new technologies while not becoming overwhelmed.
Also, the tried-and-true concepts and methods can always be improved upon, but that also doesn’t mean they should be thrown out. That provides not only different perspectives, but also mirrors what real-life collaboration will be like. The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program is a capabilities and performance-based exercise program providing a standardized methodology and terminology for exercise design, development, conduct, evaluation and improvement planning. The HSEEP Training Course is an interactive course that allows participants to share personal lessons learned and best practices while gaining practical experience. The jurisdiction selects the scenario(s) it wants to exercise; for example, a special event, earthquake, winter storm, or terrorist incident. This assistance can be provided in the form of: planning conferences, workshops, site visits, technical review of exercise documents, exercise design, control, evaluation and State EOC exercise play. Upon successful completion of a workbook and participation in a number of simulation exercises, candidates will receive a Statement of Attainment for PMAOMIR650B – Manage a Crisis.
An exercise is then conducted to evaluate if the capabilities and training of the staff and equipment was able to accomplish the desired state identified in the emergency operations plan.
These observations and comments are discussed in an After Action Review or Conference and recommendations for improvement are made in the After Action Report (AAR).
These activities are frequently used to develop, update, test and evaluate strategic level plans, mutual-aid agreements and procedures. Seminars provide a good starting point for entities that are developing or making major changes to their plans and procedures.
Sometimes called working groups, these commonly appear as a team working around a central document or process. Tabletop exercises provide an excellent opportunity to compare what participants actually expect to do and how they plan to do it with what is written in the local emergency plan, highlighting changes that may need to be made in the plan. Operations-based exercises include drills, functional exercises (FEXs), and full-scale exercises (FSXs). Drills have a narrow focus, measured against established standards in a realistic environment but performed in isolation from other factors.
The exercise advances with real-time event updates to drive participant activity at the management level without the activation or deployment of response units. They focus on implementing and analyzing the plans, policies, procedures, and cooperative agreements across multiple functional areas that require critical thinking, rapid problem solving, and effective responses by trained personnel in real time, stressful environments that closely mirror real incidents. Employment of a scribe may be helpful to capture comments, lessons learned and areas for improvement. These capabilities are drawn from the community’s emergency operations plan, exercise program guidance, and the priorities identified during the TEPW. The report provides feedback to participating entities and governing agencies in the achievement of the objectives and overall capabilities of the community.
Most commonly, AARs include an executive summary, exercise overview including the basic scenario, exercise capabilities and objectives and the analysis thereof, and a conclusion. The HSEEP Training Course, L-146, is an intermediate-level training course that incorporates exercise guidance and best practices from the HSEEP Volumes to educate participants about exercise program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning.
ICS is an extremely effective and efficient tool that may be used to manage virtually any large event, disaster and non-disaster, or a large complex project. And due to the fact that California experiences all types of disasters, we have been able to successfully use ICS in a variety of situations and circumstances.
That being said, people tend to remember concepts more easily when they are given an opportunity to practice those concepts with some type of activity. Practicing emergency management concepts in person during classroom training and exercises fosters and supports those all-important relationships. It is definitely still relevant, yet I think the more important consideration for emergency managers is what their goals are for becoming accomplished in their field. Engaging the private sector is mutually beneficial for both the emergency manager and the private-sector personnel, and most often brings a very different perspective to the emergency management professional about what the field means to our private-sector partners. By the time you are a senior emergency manager, you will have lots of contacts and relationships. Combining what has worked well with a fresh perspective is most likely to yield the most effective results. It is not only a great way to learn about emergency operations centers, it also provides participants with a number of contacts in other disciplines that they will most likely use throughout their career. Exercises are then developed to reflect the hazards or events facing the jurisdiction, the type of EOC used by the jurisdiction, and the organizations included in the jurisdictional emergency plans. The exercise evaluation may conclude that the processes were successful, may identify gaps in planning, equipment and training, or may identify best practices to be continued. An Improvement Plan (IP) is then developed to clarify actions necessary to implement improvements, and determine who is responsible for ensuring implementation.
Discussion-based exercises are often employed as a starting point in the building-block approach.
Sometimes called orientations, these commonly appear as an audience and presenters utilizing multimedia presentations and handouts. Basic tabletop exercises establish a static scenario allowing participants to apply their knowledge and skills to a list of problems. It presents complex and realistic problems that require rapid and effective responses by trained personnel in a highly stressful environment. Information gleaned from this process, identifies and guides future improvement actions in the Improvement Plan (IP). TDEM offers the G-920, Texas Exercise Design & Evaluation course as well as a number of other courses relating to emergency exercise programs. Mayer is the author of state- and federal-level emergency management curriculum, including scenario development and exercise design. A non-disaster event would include things like a large sporting event, political convention or parade. There are many websites that will match skills and interests with volunteer organizations, including CaliforniaVolunteers and VolunteerMatch.org.
It is OK to rely on a good team and your network of contacts to help you accomplish things and to help you focus your direction. Exercise complexity ranges from very simple gatherings to discuss topics in emergency management, to high stress, real-time, hands-on activities that simulate an actual incident requiring the deployment of personnel and equipment. The Improvement Plan thus leads to changes in plans, procedures, equipment, facilities, and training, which are again tested during the next exercise.
Operations-based exercises test and evaluate the ability of communities and organizations to perform specific activities and tasks. Advanced tabletop exercises incorporate the controlled delivery of pre-scripted messages to participants that advance the original scenario and introduce new situations.
Incidents can include terrorist attacks, wildland and urban fires, floods, hazardous materials spills, aircraft accidents, tropical storms, public health and medical emergencies.
This information is then compared to the plans, policies and procedures to identify strengths and areas for improvement. She also co-chairs the California Emergency Management and Homeland Security Education Consortium’s Bachelor Degree task force. It’s a four-day course and includes both a tabletop exercise and a functional exercise.
These activities clarify roles and responsibilities, identify gaps in resources and training, and improve individual and team performance.
Controllers and simulators may represent certain field response activities, and external organizations pertinent to the exercise scenario but are not participating in the exercise, such as federal agencies. An event is a planned, non-emergency activity such as parades, concerts or sporting events.

Disaster preparedness communication plan
Disaster preparedness list

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