Implementing and evaluating capabilities to safeguard people, protect property, and continue business.
Drills and exercises are two of the best methods for implementing and evaluating your emergency management and business continuity program. Drills practice basic skills and allow instructors to evaluate competencies and the effectiveness of training and education programs. Participants learn by doing and develop self-confidence in their ability to fulfill their roles.
Basic orientation exercises are designed to familiarize team members with the organization; their roles and responsibilities; and the plan. Tabletop exercises familiarize team members with plans by challenging them to assess hypothetical situations and determine how to safeguard people and protect property and the environment. Functional exercises require team members acting in their assigned roles to manage a simulated incident. Full-scale exercises are the most extensive and costly type of exercise and involve the physical movement of people and equipment in response to a staged emergency incident.
Preparedness, LLC has extensive experience designing, facilitating, and evaluating all types of drills and exercises. Our experience enables us to customize drills and exercises to meet your specific needs and to help you comply with regulatory requirements.
Tabletop (discussion-based) Exercise
Stress-free environment to review plans, procedures, and capabilities.
Photograph by Preparedness, LLC
Personnel involved in management, direction, command, and control functions operating in a realistic, real-time environment. No movement of personnel and equipment is simulated.
Photograph by Preparedness, LLC at the Massachusetts State Emergency Operations Center
Complex, resource-intensive exercise involving multiple organizations operating in a real-time, stressful environment intended to mirror a real incident.
Photograph by Preparedness, LLC
2 - 3
Every occupant of every building should practice evacuation drills. Fire and life safety codes require evacuation drills for most buildings. Fire codes and homeland security regulations in some jurisdictions also require shelter-in-place drills. The frequency of acts of violence dictates the need for "run, hide, fight" drills. Members of emergency response teams must practice skills such as operating systems and equipment to ensure they can fulfill their responsibilities during an emergency.
Preparedness, LLC can customize a drill program to comply with regulatory requirements. We can develop procedures for conducting drills and prepare user-friendly forms that will enable efficient, yet effective evaluation of drill performance. We can facilitate drills, so your personnel can learn by doing.
Tabletop exercises provide an opportunity for participants to learn about the fundamentals of emergency management, business continuity, and crisis management programs. Participants learn how to manage hypothetical but realistic emergency scenarios. Exercises enable participants to:
Preparedness, LLC follows national standards and exercise guidance from the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation program to design, facilitate, and evaluate exercises. We conduct a needs assessment to help you determine the scope of your exercise program. We prepare situation manuals for use and reference by participants and tools to facilitate and evaluate each exercise. At the end of each exercise we conduct a “hot wash” to capture important recommendations and action items. Using the hot wash, participant evaluations, and exercise evaluators forms, we prepare a detailed after-action report that summarizes each exercise and presents recommendations for program improvement.
Our preparedness bulletins provide guidance for program development, implementation, and evaluation.
Conduct a risk assessment to identify the threats and hazards that could cause unacceptable impacts to the assets of your organization. Potential impacts are determined by the location and magnitude of the hazard, and vulnerabilities of the infrastructure, site, buildings, operations, systems, equipment, and people. A comprehensive risk assessment will provide a picture of risk that can be used to prioritize hazard mitigation and build other preparedness programs.
A BIA is a management-level analysis that identifies the potential impacts of business interruption and their escalation over time. Loss of revenue, loss of market share, deferred revenue (cash flow), increased expenses, regulatory fines, and contractual penalties (or loss of incentive bonuses) can be estimated. Impacts on relationships with customers, regulators, and other stakeholders are also considered.
There are many potential causes for supplier failure, and the impact to business operations can be significant. Analysis of supplier risk should begin by identifying the products that generate the most value to the organization. Next, identify the suppliers for those product lines. Survey all suppliers that are sole or single source then others that are considered highly valued. Construct a risk survey to help you understand the resiliency of your critical suppliers.
Emergency plans should include actions to protect life safety from foreseeable hazards identified during the risk assessment. Protective actions include evacuation, lockdown, and shelter-in-place. If an armed perpetrator is inside a building threatening or actively using a weapon to harm people, occupants must know whether to “run” from the building; “hide” from the perpetrator(s) (also known as “lockdown”), or “fight” (counter) the perpetrator.
Before the heavy snow warnings are broadcast and the frigid blasts of arctic weather arrive, it’s important to prepare your facility and your employees. Preparations before the severe weather can save costly damage to equipment and facilities and maintain important fire and life safety systems. Plans should also include actions to be taken if power or other utilities are interrupted.
Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall. Flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam.
Hurricane season begins each year on June 1. No matter the forecast for number of storms, major hurricanes, and land-falling hurricanes, it only takes one storm to cause many deaths and billions in damages. “Superstorm” Sandy was not technically a hurricane when it made landfall, but it caused billions in damages. Recovery efforts continue years later.
Summer is thunderstorm season, and thunderstorms bring lightning, heavy rainfall, hail, and tornadoes. Resulting fatalities, property damage, and losses from business interruption are significant. Natural hazards can’t be prevented, but emergency management can protect life, mitigation can reduce property damage, and business continuity planning can speed recovery and reduce operational impacts.
Since 2009 the world has not faced a significant pandemic, but experts warn it is just a matter of time. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) reports that pandemics occur on average roughly three times per century. However, “scientists wouldn’t be all that shocked if pandemics started coming more frequently.” Now is the time to review, update, and exercise a pandemic preparedness program.
Will your preparedness program safeguard lives if there is a fire or active shooter? Will business continuity strategies enable you to continue priority operations when your building can’t be reoccupied? Will your communications plan enable you to quickly and effectively communicate with your customers and stakeholders as news is tweeted and blogged soon after emergency vehicles arrive? Auditing your program will answer these questions and identify opportunities for program improvement.