By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group
Last month we discussed the topic of Exercises and Tests, with an emphasis on the Four Key Elements in the design of an exercise. This month we will continue our focus on exercise design and development with an emphasis on exercise documentation.
The FEMA Independent Study (IS) Course IS-120a, An Introduction to Exercises, tells us, “Exercise documents are the most tangible elements of design and development.” Some documents are common across all types of exercises. Examples include: exercise invitations, media releases, sign-in sheets, exercise schedule, name and table tents, badges, and participant feedback forms. Other documents will be specific to the specific exercise type, such as: seminar, tabletop, drill, functional, or full-scale. These documents include a situation manual, an exercise plan, a controller evaluator handbook, a master scenario events list, and exercise evaluation guides. An emergency manager needs to be familiar with all of the documents used to design and develop an effective exercise.
According to FEMA Course IS-139, Exercise Design, “Detailed events are specific problem situations to which personnel must respond. Each detailed event should be designed to prompt one or more expected actions for one or more organizations that are participating in the exercise.” These are the actions or decisions participants are expected to perform to demonstrate competence and are tied closely with the exercise objectives. The four types of actions participants could be expected to demonstrate during an exercise are Verification (gather or verify information), Consideration (consider information, discuss among players, negotiate, consult plan), Deferral (defer action to later, put action on priority list), and Decision (deploy or deny resources).
We discussed the more common exercise documents an emergency manager will to design and manage an exercise use based on the exercise type. There are other documents that may be used that were not discussed here. All of these documents are briefly covered in the FEMA Independent Study courses, but are covered in much more detail in the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Manual.
As for the previous standards, NFPA 1600 does not describe how to prepare all of these documents, so for the exam, we need to refer back to various FEMA Independent Study Courses and the HSEEP Manual. Review independent study courses related to exercises, such as IS-120a, An Introduction to Exercises, and IS-139, Exercise Design, for the core questions. USA candidates should also review the HSEEP documents.
The application process for both the CEM® and the AEM® does not require the candidate to address Exercises and Tests specifically as one of the required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) components for the emergency management essay. However, it does require discussion of Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation activities. In addition, candidates may choose Exercises and Tests as a key component of their Problem Statement and write about that (being sure to cover all the KSAs).
Here are two core-type questions for our analysis in this article.
1. Which of the following exercise documents contain distinct, chronologically sequenced modules, with each module representing a specific time segment of the overall scenario?
a. Exercise Evaluation Guides (EEGs)
b. Exercise Plan (EXPLAN)
c. Master Scenario Events List (MSEL)
d. Situation Manual (SITMAN)
This question is asking you to understand the different exercise design documents and what information and data they contain. An EEG consists of a checklist of critical tasks to be completed by the players during the exercise, so this response is incorrect. The EXPLAN provides the exercise purpose, scope, objectives, and logistical information for the exercise, so this response is incorrect. The MSEL contains a chronological listing of the major and detailed events and injects, or messages, so this response is also incorrect. That only leaves one response left and the question does describe the SITMAN. Therefore, the correct response is d. See IS 120.a. and the HSEEP Manual.
2. Which of the following exercise documents contain a checklist of critical tasks to be completed by the players during the exercise?
This question is asking you to recall the content of the various exercise documents. While critical tasks may be found in each one, only one document contains a checklist. That is only found in the Exercise Evaluation Guides used by the exercise evaluators. Therefore, the correct response is a. See IS 120.a., IS-139, and the HSEEP Manual.
When reading the questions and responses, be sure you understand exactly what the question is asking of you and read each response before selecting the correct one.
Next month we continue our discussion on Exercises and Tests, with a focus on exercise development and an emphasis on exercise conduct. We also will analyze some practice exam questions. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, July 2017
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