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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises To address media coverage of the event, some transportation agencies encourage key participants to give interviews with the media at the conclusion of the tabletop. Arrangements for video footage from a portion of the tabletop can also be provided, allowing the media to shoot images of the tabletop exer- cise as it begins prior to any significant discussion. The G&T Secure Portal contains sample news releases for tabletop exercises. HSEEP Volume IV provides a description of these materials and is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/docs/ HSEEPv4.pdf. EVALUATION Evaluation is a Evaluation is the final cycle in the exercise process. The FTA recently assessed results received from critical element of 82 exercises that were conducted by public transportation agencies and that were funded by a special the tabletop grant program. These results showed that evaluation was the most difficult part of the exercise process exercise. Previous for many transit operators. This occurred primarily because insufficient attention was paid to the devel- assessments opment of exercise objectives and the creation of evaluation metrics to support assessment of the tran- conducted for sit system's performance.5 FTA have identified Evaluation during discussion-based exercises, particularly for tabletops, typically requires the fol- evaluation as one lowing activities: of the most challenging Hot Wash and After Action Review: A "hot wash" is an informal debriefing session, immediately elements of following the exercise, between tabletop players and members of the exercise planning team, in emergency which players discuss their reactions to and observations of the exercise. The after action review exercises for is a formal, evaluative debriefing session among the planning team members only. Both sessions transportation provide the key issues and findings for the data analysis required to prepare the after action report. agencies. After Action Analysis and Report: The after action report (AAR) is the key postexercise docu- ment developed by the exercise planning team, in partnership with transportation agency depart- ments and key participants. It provides a historical record of findings and forms the basis for refine- ments to plans, policies, procedures, training, equipment, and overall preparedness. To prepare the report, the exercise planning team will analyze information gathered during the exercise, from the after action review, and from other sources (e.g., plans and procedures) to compare the actual results of the response with the intended outcome. Input will also be sought from observers who served as technical subject matter experts. AARs describe the exercise scenario, player activities, preliminary observations, major issues, and recommendations for improvements. Sample AARs can be viewed at the following websites: · http://18.104.22.168/CAL_SONS_04.nsf/resources/CAL/$File/ CALSONSTTEXAfterActionReport.pdf. · http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/doj/sample_aar.pdf. · The G&T Secure Portal contains samples of AARs for tabletop exercises. HSEEP Volume IV provides a description of these materials and is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj. gov/odp/docs/HSEEPv4.pdf. Improvement Plan: The improvement plan is a matrix prepared by the transportation agency to address the findings and recommendations identified in the exercise and documented in the AAR. It should provide a description of the actions that will be taken, the timeline for implementation, 5 Development of Guidelines for Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Transit Emergency Operations Exercises: Task #2: Compendium of Drill Practice. Federal Transit Administration (Washington, DC), March 4, 2004, pg. 25. 39