Training and Exercises
Exercises play a vital role in national preparedness by enabling community stakeholders to test and validate plans and capabilities, and identify both capability gaps and areas for improvement. A well-designed exercise provides a low-risk environment to test capabilities, familiarize personnel with roles and responsibilities, and foster meaningful interaction and communication across organizations. Exercises bring together and strengthen the community in its efforts to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from all hazards.
The following are key aspects of an exercise program and resources for healthcare coalitions and communities to use to carry out exercises.
The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) provides a set of guiding principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to exercise program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Exercise evaluation assesses the ability to meet exercise objectives and capabilities by documenting strengths, areas for improvement, core capability performance, and corrective actions in an After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP). Through improvement planning, organizations take the corrective actions needed to improve plans, build and sustain capabilities, and maintain readiness.
Exercise Program Management
Exercise program management is the process of overseeing and integrating a variety of exercises over time. An effective exercise program helps organizations maximize efficiency, resources, time, and funding by ensuring that exercises are part of a coordinated, integrated approach to building, sustaining, and delivering core capabilities. This approach—called multi-year planning—begins when community stakeholders identify and develop a set of multi-year exercise priorities informed by existing assessments, strategies, and plans. These long-term priorities help exercise planners design and develop a progressive program of individual exercises to build, sustain, and deliver core capabilities.
The Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan (MYTEP) identifies a combination of exercises—along with associated training requirements—that address the priorities identified by stakeholders. The purpose of the MYTEP is to delineate the top priorities for improving the preparedness and response capabilities of organizations within the state’s response framework responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) 8 operations, and define the cycle of training and exercise activities that will provide the most benefit in achieving those capabilities.