By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission
Last month we discussed the last two sections of the Implementation standards – Emergency Operations/Response Plan and Business Continuity and Recovery sections. This month we will describe the Exercises and Testing Standards, the last part of the standards used for the exam.
NFPA® 1600 version 2013 defines exercises as “a process to assess, train, practice, and improve performance in an organization,” using a standardized process to “evaluate program plans, procedures, training, and capabilities and promote continuous improvement in prevention, protection, response, and recovery capabilities in a risk-managed environment.” Notice that the definition says a standardized process. It does not define the process. Countries, states and organizations define their standardized process.
For example, the U.S. government uses the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as the standardized process, and it is applicable for exercises across the mission areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. Australia uses a modified process based on HSEEP procedures. The World Health Organization uses a process for hospitals and health organizations that FEMA advocated before the adoption of HSEEP.
The standard defines tests as a special type of exercise, because they “incorporate an expectation of a pass or fail element within the goal or objectives established.” For example, the “testing of a data center recovery plan will need to have an indication of success or failure,” while in other exercises “participants identify and make recommendations to improve the overall program” without identifying success or failure.
NFPA® 1600 version 2013 requires entities to “evaluate the emergency management program based on post-incident analyses, lessons learned, and operational performance.” It requires that “exercises and tests be documented.” The standard also requires that “exercises and tests be conducted on the frequency needed to establish and maintain required capabilities.” It recommends an annual basis if one is not specified by the entity.
According to the standard, the emergency management program shall be re-evaluated when a change in any of the following impacts the entity’s program:
Finally, the standard states, “Reviews shall include post-incident analyses, reviews of lessons learned, and reviews of program performance” through actual response and exercises and tests. This indicates that we must include a review (usually called an After Action Review) and an Improvement Plan as part of the exercise and test process.
For information and discussion on Exercises and Tests Requirements, refer to the recommended FEMA
Independent Study courses and other related references mentioned below. Do not confuse these general resource requirements with the specific procedures found within your organization. While an emergency manager needs to understand and know local procedures to be effective in the position, those procedures could easily differ from the general procedures discussed in the study references and are not found on the certification exam.
The applicable FEMA Independent Study (IS) courses candidates should review when studying the Implementation Requirements are:
For those taking the USA version of the exam, review the following additional reference:
This completes the NFPA® 1600 version 2013 standards for emergency management. Next month we will summarize the standards and start our discussion on the new AEM/CEM exam that IAEM will implement in January 2015.
IAEM Bulletin, November 2014
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