Training and Exercises

Training requires bandwidth and incentives

What good is a program if nobody knows anything about it? It’s all too common for organizations to do the work of developing and documenting their emergency response, crisis management, and business continuity plans and then… nothing. Training and exercises require bandwidth and incentives, so the essential step of educating personnel is often considered a nice-to-have.

Through training, you can socialize your program, equip staff with knowledge of their roles and responsibilities, and give people confidence that your organization is ready to respond should an incident occur.

Risk Resiliency partners with you to identify training opportunities, cadence, and content, and then we’ll develop a program that fits into your organization’s personality and way of doing business. Need online training? You got it. Want hands-on sessions with teams at each site? We’re there. We can deliver the training, as well as train your internal trainer.

Whether you’re looking for engaging training for your leadership teams, security staff, and floor wardens or general resiliency program socialization, Risk Resiliency will help you meet your goals, raise awareness, and achieve compliance.

Practice makes perfect?

That’s simply not realistic – a “perfect” response to an incident is a resiliency unicorn. But practice does better prepare you. It also helps identify critical issues that can be addressed before an actual situation goes off the rails.

With regular practice, your team will be prepared to take control. Risk Resiliency equips you to engage and empower everyone, from interns to executives, through live-action drills and tabletop exercises.

During a full-building evacuation drill, your staff will become familiar with evacuation routes and assembly points, your volunteer safety team (aka floor wardens) will practice their roles, and your resiliency team will discover pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Tabletop exercises offer challenges to the resiliency team: our approach emphasizes role-play of realistic, real-world scenarios, particularly area-wide weather events, medical incidents, facility disruptions, and situations specific to the community. Every tabletop moves the team through a timeline, introduces hurdles to overcome, and encourages discussion at each stage. This builds the team’s confidence, allows them to think through complex decisions, and refines the resiliency program.

Think your team is ready for a worst-case scenario? We can even run the zombie or alien invasion exercise. Seriously. Not every exercise has to be totally serious to be effective.

We’ve done hundreds of training sessions and exercises for our clients, but these are the most common types:

Discussion-Based Exercises

Discussion-based exercises familiarize participants with current plans, policies, agreements, and procedures, or may be used to develop new plans, policies, agreements, and procedures. Types of discussion-based exercises include the following:

Seminar: A seminar is an informal discussion designed to orient participants to new or updated plans, policies, or procedures (e.g., a seminar to review a new evacuation standard operating procedure).

Workshop: A workshop resembles a seminar but is employed to build specific products, such as a draft plan or policy (e.g., a training and exercise plan workshop is used to develop a multi-year training and exercise plan).

Tabletop exercise (TTX): A tabletop exercise involves critical personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting. TTXs can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures. The purpose is to get key personnel (including senior staff, and elected or appointed officials) in the same room, working through a hypothetical scenario. It is informal, and the “no-fault” rule applies, and there is no time pressure. It tests plans and procedures inexpensively. It identifies strengths, weaknesses, and planning gaps. Tabletop drills should be conducted semi-annually at a minimum.

Sand Table exercise: Hybrid of tabletop exercise and functional exercise that uses props like maps, toy cars, and buildings to work through a hypothetical scenario.

Roundtable: This is a discussion designed to improve coordination and cooperation between public and private entities. It often uses a past event and after action reports to identify gaps and improvements or to evaluate an incident for an after action report. It increases community resiliency by enhancing understanding among company responders and local emergency responders or governmental agencies.

Game: A game is a simulation of operations that often involves two or more teams, usually in a competitive environment, using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation.

Operations-Based Exercises

Operations-based exercises validate plans, policies, agreements, and procedures, clarify roles and responsibilities, and identify resource gaps in an operational environment. Operations-based exercises include the following:

Drill: A drill is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to test a single, specific operation or function within a single entity (e.g., a fire department conducts a decontamination drill).

Functional exercise: A functional exercise (FE) examines and/or validates the coordination, command, and control among different organization divisions or various multi-agency coordination centers (e.g., emergency operation center, joint field office, etc.). This type of exercise does not involve any “boots on the ground” (i.e., first responders or emergency officials responding to an incident in real time).

Full scale exercise: A full-scale exercise (FSE) is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional, multi-discipline exercise involving functional (e.g., joint field office, emergency operation centers) and “boots on the ground” response (e.g., firefighters decontaminating mock victims).