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close this bookCommunity Emergency Preparedness: A Manual for Managers and Policy-Makers (WHO, 1999, 141 p.)
close this folderChapter 6 Monitoring and evaluation
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentProject management
View the documentChecklists
View the documentExercises
View the documentSummary


A common way of monitoring and evaluating parts of an emergency preparedness programme is through conducting exercises, which can be used to test aspects of:

- emergency plans;
- emergency procedures;
- training;
- communications, etc.

There are many different types of exercise, each suited to different purposes. The purpose of an exercise, and the aspect of emergency preparedness to be tested, must be carefully decided and fairly specific. An exercise should not be conducted with the purpose of testing an entire emergency plan or all aspects of training. Some specific purposes for exercises related to communications include:

- to test the communications procedures contained within an organization’s emergency procedures;

- to validate the interorganization communications covered in a plan;

- to test the call-out procedures within an organization;

- to validate the lines of command and control defined by a plan;

- to test the ability of organizations to establish and maintain emergency operations centres;

- to test the response times of organizations involved in a plan.

Some typical types of exercise include the following:

· Operational exercise, in which personnel and resources are deployed in a simulation of an emergency.

· Tabletop exercise, in which personnel are presented with an unfolding scenario, asked what actions would be required, and how the actions would be implemented.

· Syndicate exercise, in which personnel are divided into syndicates to discuss and consider a given scenario, and the syndicate planning and response decisions are then discussed in an open forum.

There are also a number of different ways of organizing, conducting, and reviewing exercises. One way is to go through the following steps.

· Determine need. Exercises can be expensive and time-consuming, and sometimes dangerous. There must be a clear need for the exercise, and it must be targeted appropriately. An exercise writing team should be formed to define and design the exercise.

· Define exercise. This involves determining:

- the aim, objectives, and scope of the exercise;

- type of exercise;

- the authority for its conduct;

- the performance standards that will be used to judge the degree of success of the exercise;

- organizations to be involved;

- resources and budget.

· Design exercise. Exercise design involves determining:

- appropriate exercise scenario(s);
- any special aids that may be required;
- timelines;
- exercise appointments;
- exercise control;
- safety requirements.

· Conduct exercise.

· Conduct exercise debriefing. The debriefing should be a meeting of those involved in the exercise to consider the degree of success in meeting the performance standards and in achieving the objectives;

· Validate exercise. This involves determining how plans, procedures, and training can be improved on the basis of the exercise results.

Selection of exercise writing team

Some of the criteria for selecting members of an exercise writing team include:

· At least one member should have some expertise in exercise writing.

· If a number of organizations are participating, each of the major organizations should be represented.

· Members should have experience in the areas to be tested or validated.

· The chairperson of the writing team should be from the lead organization.

Exercise appointments

To ensure effective exercise control, exercise control personnel should include:

- an exercise director;
- an exercise administrator;
- exercise umpires or directing staff;
- visitor or media liaison officer.

For operational exercises, the following appointments may also be necessary:

- damage control officers;
- safety officers;
- scenario coordinators.