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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises 2.0 PROGRESSIVE EXERCISE PROGRAMS Since the mid-1980s, federal, state, and local agencies involved in the design, conduct, and evaluation of emergency exercises have emphasized the importance of a progressive exercise program. This approach encourages each transportation agency to organize and prepare for a series of increasingly complex exercises, using a process whereby each successive exercise builds upon the previous one to meet specific operational goals. This program is coordinated using a set of project management tools that promote defined goals, measurable objectives, formal schedules, and dedicated resources. As indicated in Figure 1, a progressive program implements a cycle of planning development, training, exercises, and improvement actions. This cycle is used to direct and schedule exercise activity and then to ensure that identified improvements are addressed. Progressive Planning exercise programs Development emphasize the inter-relationships between planning, Improvement Training training, Actions exercises, and the identification and implementation of Exercises improvement actions. FIGURE 1 PROGRESSIVE EXERCISE PROGRAM CYCLE A progressive exercise program begins with the establishment of a 3-year exercise cycle. Within this cycle, targeted areas of focus are identified based on formal needs assessments, threat and vulnera- bility assessments, and the recommendations of senior personnel. For example, target areas may include the use of communications equipment and systems across multiple jurisdictions, the integration of transportation resources into the incident/unified command system established by local responders, and the performance of specific types of activities in the transportation environment (e.g., de-energizing and re-energizing third-rail or overhead catenary systems, station and vehicle evacuations, procedures for vehicle hijackings, and procedures for managing suspicious packages in transportation facilities and on vehicles). Next, emergency response plans, policies, procedures, immediate actions, and job aids are developed, or existing documents are reviewed, in these focus areas. Training is then provided, or the quality of existing training is assessed. Then, over the course of the 3-year cycle, increasingly complex types of exercises are conducted to assess and reinforce critical activities within the target areas of focus. Each exercise is evaluated, and results are incorporated into the planning development process. Most transportation agencies, like their partners in law enforcement and other public safety disciplines, have already developed plans and procedures and provided initial training. Some transportation agen- cies have previous experience with emergency exercises. Whenever a transportation agency finds itself in this process, it can initiate the progressive exercise program cycle. FEMA AND G&T PROGRAMS In the early 1990s, FEMA developed a core curriculum devoted to supporting the capabilities of local and state agencies to integrate different types of emergency exercises into effective progressive pro- grams. FEMA also initiated a series of grant programs designed to support exercises conducted at the local, regional, and state level. Over the last 15 years, many transportation agencies have developed 7
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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises Previously exercise programs using these materials and resources. Both the FTA and the FHWA have developed developed FTA guidelines based on these materials: and FHWA guidelines built on Critical Incident Management Guidelines, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, FEMA's Cambridge, Mass., 1998. http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/security/FinalCrisisManagement Comprehensive Guidelines.pdf. Exercise Program. Emergency Preparedness Introductory Materials, FHWA, Washington, D.C., 2002. http://ops.fhwa. dot.gov/opssecurity/index.htm. Information on FEMA's Comprehensive Exercise Curriculum is available at http://www.training. fema.gov/EMIWeb/CEC/. With the creation of the DHS in 2003, the G&T (formerly the Office for Domestic Preparedness) has now taken the lead in the development of grant programs and supporting guidelines to enhance the pre- paredness of local and state agencies for terrorism-related events. FEMA (also now a part of the DHS) has retained responsibility for emergency exercises assessing response capabilities for nat- ural disasters and other non-terrorism-related events. To meet its new mission, the G&T has developed the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Pro- gram (HSEEP), which builds on the previous FEMA curriculum. This program, which is being coordi- nated with FEMA, has been promoted by the DHS as the new standard for emergency exercises. It has been designed following the NRP and NIMS. Using these new DHS requirements, HSEEP now empha- sizes consistent terminology, common processes, and an implementation approach that is practical and flexible enough for all exercise planners (regardless of their sponsoring agency or organization). To provide guidance for all organizations conducting emergency exercises, the G&T has prepared a series of four manuals: HSEEP Volume I: Overview and Doctrine provides requirements and guidance for the establishment and maintenance of a homeland security exercise program. HSEEP Volume II: Exercise Evaluation and Improvement offers a proven methodology for evalu- ating homeland security exercises and implementing an improvement program. HSEEP Volume III: Exercise Program Management and Exercise Planning Process assists plan- ners in establishing an exercise program and outlines a standardized planning process adaptable to any types of exercise. HSEEP Volume IV: Sample Exercise Documents and Formats provides sample exercise materi- als referenced in HSEEP Volumes IIII. These materials are available only through the G&T Secure Portal, a web-based system that enables the G&T to establish user names and passwords for all organizations using these materials. To gain access to the G&T Secure Portal, call the G&T Help Desk at 1-800-368-6498. These materials include both samples and templates for all phases of the exercise planning, implementation, and evaluation processes. Figure 2 shows the covers of the first two volumes. HSEEP Volumes IIII, and a table of contents regarding the information contained on the G&T Secure Portal as part of Volume IV, can be accessed at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/docs/hseep.htm. These materials emphasize the value of a progressive exercise program, depicted in Figure 1, and offer several important considerations for transportation agencies: 8
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Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises FEMA/G&T programs have important considerations for transportation agencies. These programs provide a standardized process that is being used by transportation's partners in public safety and emergency management. FIGURE 2 G&T HSEEP REPORT COVERS A 3-year exercise cycle is established, and a set of program management tools are used by trans- portation exercise coordinators to organize activities, develop a schedule, assign resources, and ensure that evaluations are adequately performed to identify and incorporate improvements into the transportation agency's response capabilities. Templates and reporting forms have been developed that can be accessed by transportation exer- cise coordinators to support program management; FEMA and G&T grant applications; monitoring of the implementation of identified improvements; and coordination with municipal, county, and state response partners. The FEMA and G&T exercise programs offer a graduated approach to readiness, focusing first on ensuring the internal response capabilities of the transportation agency (through the development of plans, policies, and procedures) and the conduct of training. Then the program reaches out to the major organizations that would be involved in managing a transportation emergency. The pro- gram reviews mutual aid and interagency agreements and clarifies roles and responsibilities. Finally, once internal and external emergency response plans and activities have been clarified, the program offers a series of increasingly complex exercises to test the effectiveness of plans and personnel. In the progressive exercise cycle, a series of planning conferences and meetings are identified to ensure that all partners are ready to participate in the exercises and to enable the building of confidence and clarity in response activities. Through the involvement of multiple organizations, the program enables the participating person- nel to test, not only their implementation of emergency management procedures but also their coor- dination with each other in the process. The program is carefully planned to achieve identified goals and objectives, which are determined at the beginning of the three-year exercise cycle and refined throughout. Transportation agencies that wish to receive funding to support their exercise programs from G&T or FEMA are required to follow this approach. By following this approach, each transportation agency can ensure that the levels of exercise sophistication are tailored to its specific needs, while maintaining the same delivery strategy over the three-year cycle. Specific forms, templates and other information developed by FEMA and the G&T relevant to the emergency exercise develop- ment, implementation and evaluation process will be identified in the remainder of this report. 9