Emergency planning exercises
An exercise is a simulation of an emergency situation.
Exercises have 3 main purposes:
to validate plans (validation)
to develop staff competencies and give them practice in carrying out their roles in the plans (training)
to test well-established procedures (testing)
Why it is important to hold exercises
Planning for emergencies cannot be considered reliable until it is exercised and has proved to be workable, especially since false confidence may be placed in the integrity of a written plan.
Generally, participants in exercises should have an awareness of their roles and be reasonably comfortable with them, before they are subject to the stresses of an exercise. Exercising is not to catch people out. It tests procedures, not people. If staff are under-prepared, they may blame the plan, when they should blame their lack of preparation and training. An important aim of an exercise should be to make people feel more comfortable in their roles and to build morale