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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises Operations-based exercises can clarify roles and responsibilities, identify gaps in resources needed to implement plans and procedures, and improve individual and team performances. Common characteristics include actual response, mobilization of apparatus and resources, and commit- ment of personnel, usually over an extended period of time. These exercises may involve single or multiple agencies or jurisdictions. Table 2 presents these categories of exercises as they are usually applied in the transportation envi- ronment. Generally, transportation organizations will start their exercise program with seminars, work- shops, and tabletop exercises. Games may be used by executive leadership to test decision-making capabilities under stressful conditions. These types of exercise are inexpensive and can be implemented quickly. They are an effective means of ensuring that plans, policies, procedures, resources, and agree- ments are in place and that response agencies and personnel are familiar with them. TABLE 2 ELEMENTS OF A PROGRESSIVE EXERCISE PROGRAM Type of Category of High-Level Level of Frequency* Exercise Exercise Objectives Effort Seminar Assessing the Low Ongoing as Discussion- adequacy of and part of based familiarity with the training participant's plans, Workshop policies, procedures, 2-3 times per resources, and year interagency/ Tabletop Medium 1 time per interjurisdictional year relationships Game As needed Drill Expert observation Medium 1 time per Operations- and assessment of High year based three levels of Functional performance: 1 time per Exercise 2 years 1. Task-level, Full-Scale 2. Agency/discipline/ High 1 time per Exercise function level, and 3 years 3. Mission-level *Depends on size of transportation agency and complexity of emergency response activities, based on guidelines developed by FEMA, the G&T, and transportation practice. Then, the transportation organization may conduct drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exer- cises. Depending on complexity, some full-scale exercises can require up to 1 year to develop. Most performance-based exercises conducted in the transportation environment require 3 to 6 months of planning and coordination activity prior to execution. As part of the progressive exercise program, different types of exercises test critical response activities with different frequencies. BRIEF OVERVIEW OF EXERCISE TYPES A brief overview of each type of exercise is provided below. Seminars can be SEMINARS incorporated into a transportation Seminars are generally employed to orient participants to, or to provide an overview of, authorities, agency's existing strategies, plans, policies, procedures, protocols, response resources, or concepts and ideas within training and the exercise program. Seminars are a good starting point for transportation agencies that are creating responder or making major changes to their plans and procedures. Seminars also provide opportunities to gain familiarization awareness of, or assess the capabilities of, interagency or interjurisdictional operations. Seminars are programs. the basic building block for exercise development. 11

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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises Seminars offer the following benefits: A low-stress environment employing any number of instruction techniques, such as lectures, multi- media presentations, panel discussions, case study discussions, expert testimony, and decision support tools; Informal discussions led by a seminar leader; An atmosphere that is not constrained by real-time portrayal of events; and Effectiveness with both small and large groups. Seminars are typically conducted in a lecture-based format with limited feedback or interaction from par- ticipants. Examples of seminars typically conducted in the transportation environment include emer- gency familiarization sessions provided for local responders, meetings to review existing response plans and procedures, sessions to assess interagency agreements and mutual aid, and presentations on lessons learned from agency response to an actual event or emergency. Typical products associated with seminars include Training manuals or workbooks, PowerPoint and other visual presentations and briefings, and Critique summaries. WORKSHOPS Workshops can Workshops are a forum for information exchange and usually focus on development of a product, includ- be used to ing critical elements of the exercise and evaluation program. Workshops give the transportation agency provide training and its partners in the emergency response and management community the opportunity to and to support development Collect or share information; of revised procedures and Obtain new or different perspectives; plans. Test new ideas, processes, or procedures; Train groups to perform coordinated activities; Obtain consensus on exercise program activities; and Build teams. In conjunction with the transportation agency's exercise development process, workshops are most useful in planning specific aspects of exercise design, such as Program or exercise objectives, Exercise scenario and key events listings, and Evaluation elements and standards of performance. Facilitation and breakout sessions are common. Typical products developed during workshops include draft work materials, presentations, and critique summaries. 12

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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises TABLETOPS Tabletops can involve senior transportation agency staff, relevant elected or appointed officials and board members, other key operations and maintenance staff, and local responders in an informal set- ting to discuss simulated situations. This type of exercise is intended to stimulate discussion of various issues regarding a hypothetical situation. Tabletops can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures or to assess the types of systems needed to guide the prevention of, response to, and recovery from the defined event. Tabletops are typ- ically aimed at facilitating the understanding of concepts, at identifying strengths and shortfalls, and/or at achieving a change in attitude. Tabletops are the Participants are encouraged to discuss issues in depth and to develop decisions through slow-paced most common problem solving rather than rapid, spontaneous decision making that occurs under actual or simulated type of emergency emergency conditions. In contrast to the scale and cost of full-scale exercises, tabletops can be a cost- exercise effective tool when used in conjunction with more complex exercises. The tabletop's effectiveness is performed in the derived from the energetic involvement of participants and their assessment of recommended revisions transportation to current policies, procedures, and plans. environment. There are two categories of tabletops: basic and advanced. In a basic tabletop, the scene set by the scenario materials remains constant. The scene describes an event or emergency incident and brings participants up to the simulated present time. Players apply their knowledge and skills to a list of prob- lems presented by the leader. Problems are discussed as a group, and a resolution is generally agreed upon by the players and summarized by the leader. In an advanced tabletop, play revolves around delivery of prescripted messages to players that alter the original scenario. The exercise leader usually introduces problems one at a time in the form of a written message, simulated telephone call, videotape, or other means. Participants discuss the issues raised by the problem, using appropriate plans and procedures. Activities in a tabletop may include: Practicing group problem solving, Familiarizing senior management, Conducting a specific case study, Examining personnel contingencies, Testing group message interpretation, Participating in information sharing, Assessing interagency coordination, and Achieving limited or specific objectives. Tabletops are often most effective when they are used to enhance general awareness; validate plans and procedures; and identify strengths and weaknesses in coordination, communication, and inter- agency information sharing and analysis. Products generally associated with tabletops include the following: Situation manuals, PowerPoint presentations and other visual briefings, 13

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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises Evaluation plans, and AARs or improvement plans. GAMES A game is a simulation of operations that often involves two or more teams, usually in a competitive envi- ronment, using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation. A game does not involve the use of actual resources, but the sequence of events affects, and is in turn affected by, the decisions made by the players. Players are commonly presented with scenarios and asked to perform a task associated with the sce- nario episode. Each episode then moves to the next level of detail or complexity, taking into account the players' earlier decisions. The decisions made by game participants determine the flow of the game. The goal is to explore decision-making processes and the consequences of decisions. In a game, the same situation can be examined from different perspectives by changing variables and parameters that guide player actions. Large-scale games are multijurisdictional and can include active participation from local to national levels of government. Games stress the importance of the planners' and players' under- standing of interrelated processes. With the evolving complexity and sophistication of current simulations, there are increased opportuni- ties to provide enhanced realism for game participants. The use of computer-generated simulations can provide a more realistic and time-sensitive method of introducing situations for analysis. Planner deci- sions can be input and models run to show the effect of decisions made during a game. Games are excellent vehicles for the following: Gaining policy or process consensus, Shortly after Conducting "what-if" analyses of existing plans, and September 11, APTA conducted Developing new plans. a series of games with public DRILLS transportation general managers A drill is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to test a single operation or function in a and executive single agency. Drills are commonly used to provide training in the use of new equipment, to develop or directors. test new policies or procedures, or to practice and maintain current skills. Typical attributes include A narrow focus, measured against established standards; Instant feedback; A realistic environment; Performance in isolation; and Performance as a subset of full-scale exercises (FSEs). Drills are commonly performed in the transportation environment, where the existence of clear proce- dures, operating rulebooks, and structures for employee supervision and evaluation support the incor- poration of this type of exercise activity into basic operations training and evaluation. For each drill, clearly defined plans, policies, and procedures need to be in place. Personnel should be familiar with those plans and policies and be trained in the processes and procedures to be drilled. 14

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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises FUNCTIONAL EXERCISES The functional exercise is designed to test and evaluate individual capabilities, multiple functions or activ- ities within a function, or interdependent groups of functions. It generally focuses on exercising the plans, policies, procedures, and staffs of the direction and control nodes of either incident command and uni- fied command or the transportation agency's emergency response organization. Events are usually pro- jected through an exercise scenario, with event updates that drive activity at the management level. The movement of equipment and personnel is simulated. The objective of the functional exercise is to execute specific plans and procedures and apply estab- lished policies, plans, and procedures under crisis conditions, within a particular function or by a spe- cific team. The functional exercise simulates the reality of operations in a functional area by presenting complex and realistic problems that require rapid and effective responses by trained personnel in a highly stressful environment. Activities in a functional exercise include Evaluating functions; Evaluating emergency operations centers (EOCs), headquarters, and staff; Reinforcing established policies and procedures; Measuring the adequacy of resources; and Examining interjurisdictional relationships. FULL-SCALE EXERCISES In a full-scale exercise (FSE), response elements are required to mobilize and deploy to a designated site in response to a simulated attack, generally for an extended period. Actual mobilization and move- ment of personnel and resources are required to demonstrate coordination and response capability. EOCs and field command posts are activated. The FSE is the largest, most costly, and most complex exercise type and may involve participation at the local, area, state, and federal levels. Although scripted events may be used, the exercise is primarily driven by player actions and decisions. The FSE is used to evaluate the operational capabilities of systems, functional interfacing, and interac- tion during an extended period. It involves testing a major portion of operations plans and overall orga- nization under field conditions. Activities in an FSE may include: Assessing organizational or individual performance; Demonstrating interagency cooperation; Allocating resources and personnel; Assessing equipment capabilities; Activating personnel and equipment locations; Assessing interjurisdictional cooperation; Exercising public information systems; Testing communications systems and procedures; and Analyzing memoranda of understanding (MOUs), standard operating procedures (SOPs), plans, policies, and procedures. 15