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Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
Testing Your Own Emergency Plans
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Testing Your Own Emergency Plans

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Public Authorities and Private Companies have developed good emergency planning suited to face emergency risks and situations that can potentially involve their jurisdiction. Yet, only a part of them …

Public Authorities and Private Companies have developed good emergency planning suited to face emergency risks and situations that can potentially involve their jurisdiction. Yet, only a part of them had the opportunity to actually test the emergency plans in a productive, credible and effective way. This conference brings the participant through best practices in organizing several types of
emergency plan tests, from field activities to virtual reality tools.

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  • 1. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi - Italy Tell me, and I’ll forget Show me and I may remember Involve me and I will learn Chinese Proverb We assume that the participants to this conference have already a general knowledge of risk analy- sis, emergency planning techniques, incident command system
  • 2. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Foreword Public Authorities and Private Companies have developed good emergency planning suited to face emergency risks and situations that can potentially involve their jurisdiction. Yet, only a part of them had the opportunity to actually test the emergency plans in a productive, credible and effective way. This conference brings the participant through best practices in organizing several types of emergency plan tests, from field activities to virtual reality tools. This paperwork has been prepared also collecting most of the relevant documents available on the internet. This time-consuming activity has lead to an broad overview of publications written in different places in the world. This helped very much in order to compare specific ways to reach the same objective (and most of the time the author found that the basic goals and methods are very similar). In this document the author has tried to organize a synthesis of this huge panorama of ideas and put them in a way that should be more immediately profitable for the reader. Important to notice that the original documents with their full contents unabridged are an impressive source of procedures and ideas that will strengthen all the concepts listed here. This paper contains also a concise collection of lessons learned taken from direct experiences of the author in several exercises run in Italy and Abroad. What this presentation is about This work is a merging of the following different inputs. Collection and review of existing documents. There is a very mature collection of projects and examples and courses related to emergency planning and emergency plan test, available on the internet. The author has done a thorough research on this subjects and has prepared a “compilation". Personal experience of the author in the contribution to the planning committees for the re- daction of emergency plans and guidelines. In more than 20 years of activity in the Fire Service the Author has participated in several local, regional and national Committees in charge of the elaboration of new emergency planning or in charge for the revision of existing planning. Personal experience of the author in the participation at national and international exercises. Attached to this document there is a list of the main exercises in which the author has participated with different roles. Here are a few of these: Exercise Planning committee member, Sector Officer, Incident Commander, Evaluation officer, Head of Assessors Team. Collection and review of ex- Personal experience of the Personal experience of the isting documents on emer- author in the contribution author in the participation gency planning and exer- to Planning Committees for at several national and in- cises. the redaction of emergency ternational exercises. plans and guidelines. Best practices and practical suggestions for testing emergency plans. 2/30
  • 3. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. The Emergency Planning Cycle Emergency Planning is a process: it is not an isolated document covered with dust in one of the bookshelves in your office. Planning gives the opportunity to prepare for the circumstances that can generate a significant deviation from the normal every-day activity. If there is not adequate plan- ning, the outcomes of an emergency situation, when are managed on an “improvised” basis, are of- ten unsuccessful. But planning itself (even good planning) it is not enough, of course. There is a very well written paragraph in the document FEMA IS 235 – 2006 which summarizes concisely the cycle of the planning process. The Emergency Planning Process Emergency planning is not a one-time event. Rather, it is a continual cycle of planning, training, exercising, and revi- sion that takes place throughout the five phases of the emergency management cycle (preparedness, prevention, re- sponse, recovery, and mitigation). The planning process does have one purpose—the development and maintenance of an up-to-date Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). An EOP can be defined as a document describing how citizens and property will be protected in a disaster or emergency. Although the emergency planning process is cyclic, EOP development has a definite starting point. There are four steps in the emergency planning process: 1. Hazard analysis. Hazard analysis is the process by which hazards that threaten the community are identified, researched, and ranked according to the risks they pose and the areas and infrastructure that are vulnerable to damage from an event involving the hazards. The outcome of this step is a written hazard analysis that quanti- fies the overall risk to the community from each hazard. Hazard analysis will be covered in Unit 3. 2. EOP development, including the basic plan, functional annexes, hazard-specific appendices, and implementing instructions. The outcome of this step is a completed plan, which is ready to be trained, exercised, and revised based on lessons learned from the exercises. EOP development will be addressed in Units 4, 5, and 6. 3. Testing the plan through training and exercises. Exercises of different types and varying complexity allow you to see what in the plan is unclear and what does not work. The outcomes of this step are lessons learned about weaknesses in the plan that can then be addressed in Step 4. 4. Plan maintenance and revision. The outcome of this step is a revised EOP, based on current needs and re- sources (which may have changed since the development of the original EOP). After the EOP is developed, steps 3 and 4 repeat in a continual cycle to keep the plan up to date. If you become aware that your community faces a new threat (e.g., terrorism), however, the planning team will need to revisit steps 1 and 2. Excerpt from FEMA IS 235 – 2006 edition - Source: www.fema.gov When you look at Emergency Planning process you’ll notice that Testing The Plan is one of the four essential steps. This presentation will focus on that specific aspect of the emergency planning cycle. 3/30
  • 4. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2. HOW TO TEST YOUR OWN EMERGENCY PLANS. 2.1. Why someone should ask to you to test the emergency plan? There are several reasons that may require to put to PLANNING TEST test your existing emergency plan. Some of these are: - Routine test and revision, as defined by laws or by local requirements or by the plan itself. o Most of the plans provide a sort of “revi- sion” deadline or validity period. When UPDATE the plan is going to be written, it is impor- EVALUATION tant to forecast what kind of “credible” revision activity could be made in the fol- lowing years REVISION - There is some important change in the existing situation: new buildings, new plants, new proc- esses, new infrastructures o It is self evident that when there is significant change in the layout of the infrastructure or there are new risks the plan will be updated almost immediately. But often this does not means that a new test will immediately follow; consequently there will be a “gap” when there is a new plan but it has not been tested. - There is some important change in the plan: new chain of command, new procedures. o In this case it is of paramount importance the dissemination of information on new change. Then, at least, a control post exercise should be run (see paragraph 2.4). - There is some important change in the response capabilities: new alert systems, new responding resources o Sometimes there is the expectation that making significant improvement in the quality of resources will automatically improve the quality of the response and of the plan. Only through a test of the plan this will be confirmed. - There is some “political” reason (the Chiefs need to show “how good – or how bad – is the situation”) o Yes, the “Chiefs” (of any level and Agency) need to show periodically to their “bosses” the situation. Sometimes it seems natural to do it organizing a simulation of an emer- gency response, preferably through a “live exercise”. For This purpose we’ll illustrate some ways to be used before managing a real scale exercise. My personal opinion is that we can test most of these aspects without running firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles all around the city. The most common methods that can be used to support this activity are listed in the following pages - There is some imminent threat: natural threat, man-made threat o In this case the need to check if the plans are updated is self evident and gives enough motivation 4/30
  • 5. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.2. What do you need to measure? (And Why)? There are at least three aspects that you may test, individually or together. You may test: - the structure of the plan and the procedures - the resources needed to fulfil the actions required in the plan (human and technical resources) - the capabilities of the emergency managers and the “chiefs” in the command and control chain There is a sort of logical sequence in the above men- tioned aspects. It should be self-evident that, of course, you cannot test the abilities of the emergency managers if you are not sure that the plan is equili- brate and credible (and well written) or if you are not 1 2 confident on the real capabilities of the response re- Check Test the SINGLE STRUCTURE sources (and their training). RESOURCES OF THE PLAN 3 Verify the ABILITY OF COMMANDERS PLANNING TEST UPDATE EVALUATION REVISION What we are suggesting here is that you should follow this se- quence, before trying to test all the system in one big field exercise. The risk is always to have the illusion to “simulate” an emergency response but without a real feed- back. If there is not real feedback the test of the emergency plan is often inadequate (we could say quite always). First responders Plans Chain of command 5/30
  • 6. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.3. Exercise in a real-like setting. Not always possible (and not always necessary). Sometimes we may think that there is the need to test the plan, running exercises as close as possi- ble to the real event. Today, for several reasons, is not always possible to organize a full-scale exer- cise. And the author’s opinion is that it is not always necessary. In this page there is a sequence of pictures related to national and international exercises at which the author has participated. If it could be possible to give an idea in numbers of what proportion there is between the efforts for organizing those field exercises and the actual (and efficient) use of the follow-up results, it is not difficult to say that it is close to 10:1. That means that often there are ten days (but very often more) of preparation and 1 day (and very often less) for the management of the follow-up information. We should be careful not to fall in this “illusion”, even if it appears to be very attractive. Milan Italy – National CBRN exercise Milan Airport – Exercise Russian Federation – International Exercise 6/30
  • 7. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.4. Typical methods and available documentation 2.4.1. – A short series of examples In the following pages are shown some of the different methods used to test one plan or only part of it. Particularly interesting are two documents available on the internet that give a description of the possible ways to test a plan. One is provided by the site www.ukresilience.info and the other is provided by the site www.fema.gov. Looking at the two sources of documents even if they have some slight differences, we’ll notice that both of them provide an adequate and coherent overview. A third document is excerpted here and it has been prepared by the Italian Civil Protection Depart- ment. www.protezionecivile.it. It gives an indication on what kind of tests can be run when dealing with relevant risk chemical industries. 7/30
  • 8. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Descriptions of different Types of Exercise text from http://www.ukresilience.info and pictures of the author The choice of exercise is important : it should provide the most appropriate and cost effective way of achieving its aim and objectives. There are basically four types of exercise, although there are variations on the theme of each: Seminar - also known as workshops or discussion based exercises; Table top - also known as “floor plan” exercises; Control post - also known as “training without troops”; and Live - also known as practical, operational or field exercises. New plans or players would normally be involved in seminar or table top exercises before a control post or live exercise was planned. SEMINAR ESERCISES Seminar exercises are generally low cost activities and inform participants about the organization and procedures which would be invoked to respond to an incident. The emphasis is on problem identification and solution finding rather than decision making. Those involved can be either new to the job or established personnel. This type of event will bring staff together to inform them of current developments and thinking. These events may take place within the framework of a seminar which also includes and/or panel discussions and are primarily designed to focus on one particular aspect of the response TABLE TOP EXERCISES Table top exercises are a very cost effective and efficient method of testing plans, procedures and people. They are difficult to run with large numbers, but those players who are involved are provided with an excellent opportunity to interact with and understand the roles and responsibilities of the other agencies taking part. They can engage players imaginatively and generate high levels of realism. Participants will get to know realistic key procedures along with the people with whom they may be working in an emergency. Those who have exercised together and know each other will provide a much more effective response than those who come together for the first time when a disaster occurs. An element of media awareness can be introduced under controlled conditions, such as the preparation of press releases at the tactical level, or the use of trainee journalists, under the direction of their tutor, to play news hungry reporters. CONTROL POST EXERCISES In control post exercises, the team leaders (and communications teams) from each participating organization are positioned at the control posts they would use during an actual incident or live exercise. This tests communication arrangements and, more importantly, information flows between remotely positioned team leaders from participating organizations. By not involving front line staff, these exercises are cost effective and efficient in testing plans, procedures and key people. LIVE EXERCISES Live exercises range from a small scale test of one component of the response, like evacuation – ranging from a building or “incident” site to an affected community – through to a full scale test of the whole organization’s response to an incident. Live exercises provide the best means of confirming the satisfactory operation of emergency communications, and the use of ‘casualties’ can add to the realism. Live exercises provide the only means of testing fully the crucial arrangements for handling the media. A live exercise would not normally be undertaken until you had confidence in those involved. It is quite easy to notice that in the fourth category (“live exercise”) there is a sort of “warning” re- lated to running “live exercises”: A live exercise would not normally be undertaken until you had confidence in those involved. That “confidence” comes after having tested the system in the sequence proposed in paragraph 2.2. 8/30
  • 9. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy There is a comprehensive publication of FEMA regarding how to design exercises. With the document come also a lot of Job aids. Even if you only look at the following table of content it is possible to have a broad idea on how complex could be the design and preparation of an exercise. FEMA IS 139 – 2003 - EXERCISE DESIGN TABLE OF CONTENT Course Overview Knowledge Check Activity: Compare Tabletop and Func- Unit 9: Exercise Enhancements tional Exercises Introduction Unit 1: Introduction to Exercise De- Unit 4: Exercise Design Steps Participant Roles Unit 9 Objectives sign Introduction How a Functional Exercise Works Why Use Enhancements Introduction Unit 4 Objectives Facilities and Materials Communications Equipment Unit 1 Objectives Step 1: Assess Needs Designing a Functional Exercise Visuals Why Exercise? Step 2: Define the Scope Activity: Identify Functional Exercise People and Props Regulatory Requirements Step 3: Write a Statement of Purpose Roles Enhancement Resources Functions Activity: Define Exercise Scope and Summary and Transition Enhancement Logistics Activity: Needs Assessment Purpose For More Information Activity: Enhance a Scenario Summary and Transition Step 4: Define Objectives Knowledge Check Activity: Plan Enhancements for Your For More Information Activity: Analyze an Objective Exercise Knowledge Check Activity: Compare Good and Poor Ob- Unit 7: The Full-Scale Exercise Summary and Transition jectives Introduction For More Information Unit 2: Comprehensive Exercise Activity: Develop Objectives Unit 7 Objectives Knowledge Check Program Step 5: Compose a Narrative What Is a Full-Scale Exercise Introduction Activity: Outline a Narrative Activity: Know Your Regulatory Re- Unit 10: Designing a Functional Ex- Unit 2 Objectives Step 6: Write Major and Detailed quirements ercise Progressive Exercising Events Activity: Compare Functional and Full- Introduction Who Participates? Step 7: List Expected Actions Scale Exercises Unit 10 Objectives What Activities Are Included? Activity: Write Major and Detailed Full-Scale Exercise Roles Select Your Exercise Comparing the Five Activities Events How the Full-Scale Exercise Works Step 1: Assess Needs Building an Exercise Program Step 8: Prepare Messages Exercise Locations Step 2: Define the Scope Activity: Develop a Comprehensive Activity: Compose a Message Designing the Full-Scale Exercise Step 3: Write a Statement of Purpose Exercise Program Plan Pulling It Together: The Master Sce- Special Considerations Step 4: Define the Objectives Summary and Transition nario of Events List Activity: Plan Ahead for the Full-Scale Step 5: Compose a Narrative For More Information Alternatives to Self-Developed Exer- Exercise Step 6: Write Major and Detailed Knowledge Check cises Summary and Transition Events Summary and Transition For More Information Step 7: List Expected Actions Unit 3: The Exercise Process For More Information Knowledge Check Step 8: Prepare Messages Introduction Knowledge Check Constructing the Master Scenario of Unit 3 Objectives Unit 8: Exercise Evaluation Events List The Big Picture Unit 5: The Tabletop Exercise Introduction Planning the Exercise Evaluation Accomplishment 1: Establishing the Introduction Unit 8 Objectives Planning the Exercise Enhancements Base Unit 5 Objectives Why Evaluate the Exercise Optional Activity: Exercise Design Accomplishment 2: Exercise Devel- Characteristics of the Tabletop Exer- Integrating Evaluation Throughout De- Documents opment cise velopment Summary and Transition Accomplishment 3: Exercise Conduct How a Tabletop Works The Evaluation Team Accomplishment 4: Exercise Evalua- Facilitating a Tabletop Exercise Evaluation Methodology Unit 11: Course Summary tion and Critique Activity: Your Ideas for Facilitating a Evaluator Checklist Introduction Accomplishment 5: Exercise Follow-up Tabletop Exercise Narrative Summary Reasons to Exercise Reviewing the Current Plan Designing a Tabletop Exercise Key Event Response Form Comprehensive Exercise Programs Assessing Capability to Conduct an Activity: Develop Tabletop Exercise Problem Log The Exercise Process Exercise Problem Statements Exercise Debriefing Log Exercise Design Steps Addressing Costs and Liabilities Activity: Develop a Tabletop Exercise Exercise Critique Form The Tabletop Exercise Activity: Getting Ready for Exercise MessageSummary and Transition Postexercise Meetings The Functional Exercise Design For More Information After Action Report The Full-Scale Exercise Gaining Support Knowledge Check Implementing Change Exercise Evaluation Assembling a Design Team Activity: Plan the Evaluation Exercise Enhancements Activity: Identify Design Team Mem- Unit 6: The Functional Exercise Summary and Transition Next Steps bers Introduction For More Information Exercise Documents Unit 6 Objectives Knowledge Check Appendix A: Job Aids Summary and Transition What Is a Functional Exercise Appendix B: Acronym List For More Information Appendix C: Exercise Tool Box 9/30
  • 10. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy TABLE TOP EXERCISES Excerpt from FEMA IS 139 unit 5 Characteristics of the Table- top Exercise (...) A tabletop exercise simu- lates an emergency situation in an informal, stress-free envi- ronment. The participants  usually people on a decision-making level gather around a table to discuss general problems and procedures in the context of an emergency scenario. The focus is on training and familiarization with roles, procedures, or responsibilities. Purpose The tabletop is largely a discussion guided by a facilitator (or sometimes two facilitators who share responsibilities). Its pur- pose is to solve problems as a group. There are no simulators and no attempts to arrange elaborate facilities or communications. One or two evaluators may be selected to observe proceedings and progress toward the objectives. The success of a tabletop exercise is determined by feedback from participants and the impact this feedback has on the evaluation and revision of policies, plans, and procedures. Advantages and Disadvantages The tabletop exercise is a very useful training tool that has both advantages and disadvantages, as summarized in the following ta- ble. Advantages and Disadvantages of Tabletop Exercises Advantages Requires only a modest commitment in terms of time, cost, and resources Is an effective method for reviewing plans, procedures, and policies Is a good way to acquaint key personnel with emergency responsibilities, procedures, and one another Disadvantages Lacks realism and thus does not provide a true test of an emergency management system’s capabilities Provides only a superficial exercise of plans, procedures, and staff capabilities Does not provide a practical way to demonstrate system overload 10/30
  • 11. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy FUNCTIONAL EXERCISES excerpt from FEMA IS 139 unit 6 What Is a Functional Exercise? The functional exercise simulates an emergency in the most realistic manner possible, short of moving real people and equipment to an actual site. As the name suggests, its goal is to test or evaluate the capability of one or more functions in the context of an emergency event. Below is a brief summary of the main points. Key Characteristics Interactive exercise, designed to challenge the entire emergency management system. Can test the same functions and re- sponses as in a full-scale exercise without high costs or safety risks. Usually takes place in an EOC or other operating center. Involves controller(s), players, simulators, and evaluators. Geared for policy, coordination, and operations personnel (the players). Players practice their response to an emergency by responding in a realistic way to carefully planned and sequenced messages given to them by simulators. Messages reflect a series of ongoing events and problems. All decisions and actions by players occur in real time and generate real responses and consequences from other players. Guiding principle: Imitate reality. The atmosphere is stressful and tense due to real-time action and the realism of the problems. Exercise is lengthy and complex; requires careful scripting, careful planning, and attention to detail. Best Uses The functional exercise makes it possible to test the same functions and responses as would be tested in a full-scale exercise, with- out the high costs or safety risks. The functional exercise is well-suited to assess the: Direction and control of emergency management. Adequacy of plans, policies, procedures, and roles of individual or multiple functions. Individual and system performance. Decision-making process. Communication and information sharing among organizations. Allocation of resources and personnel. Overall adequacy of resources to meet the emergency situation. 11/30
  • 12. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Comparison: Tabletop and Functional Exercises Tabletop Functional As realistic as possible without deploy- Degree of Realism Lacks realism ing resources Group discussion, based on Interactive; simulators deliver “problem” Format/Structure narrative and problem state- messages, players respond in real time ments/messages Atmosphere Low-key, relaxed Tense, stressful Facilitator, participants (deci- Controller, players (policy, coordination, Who Takes Part sion-making level); may use and operations personnel), simulators, recorders evaluators Who Leads Facilitator Controller EOC, other operations center, Where Held EOC or other operations center or conference room Equipment Deployed No No Test Coordination Yes, on a discussion level Yes Test Adequacy of No Yes Resources Test Decision-Making Yes Yes Process Large scale; complex format; moderate Relative Comple- Small group; simple format; cost to design and implement (higher xity/Cost modest cost than tabletop, lower than full-scale) No (self-assessment by par- Formal Evaluation Yes ticipants) 12/30
  • 13. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy FULL SCALE EXERCISES – excerpt from FEMA IS 139 – unit 7 What Is a Full-Scale Exercise? A full-scale exercise is as close to the real thing as possible. It is a lengthy exercise which takes place on location, usingas far as possiblethe equipment and personnel that would be called upon in a real event. In a sense, a full-scale exercise combines the interactivity of the functional exercise with a field ele- ment. It differs from a drill in that a drill focuses on a single operation and exercises only one organi- zation. Eventually, every emergency response organization must hold a full- scale exercise because it is necessary at some point to test capabilities in an environment as near to the real one as possible. However, there is more to a full-scale exercise than just practice in the field. As we discussed in Unit 1, various regulatory agencies have requirements for full-scale exercises which must be satisfied. In order to receive FEMA credit, for example, a full-scale ex- ercise must fulfil three requirements: It must exercise most functions. It must coordinate the efforts of several agen- cies. In order to achieve full coordination, the EOC must be activated. Russian Federation – International Joint exercise Key Characteristics Interactive exercise, designed to challenge the entire emergency management system in a highly realistic and stressful envi- ronment. Tests and evaluates most functions of the emergency management plan or operational plan. Takes place in an EOC or other operating center and at field sites. Achieves realism through: • On-scene actions and decisions. • Simulated “victims.” • Search and rescue requirements. • Communication devices. • Equipment deployment. • Actual resource and personnel allocation. Involves controller(s), players, simulators (different from simulators in a functional exercise), and evaluators. Players represent all levels of personnel, including response personnel. Messages may be visual (e.g., staged scenes, made-up victims, props) and scripted. All decisions and actions by players occur in real time and generate real responses and consequences from other players. Requires significant investment of time, effort, and resources (1 to 1½ years to develop a complete exercise package). At- tention to detail is crucial. 13/30
  • 14. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Italian Department of Civil Protection Guidelines on the Emergency Planning for Relevant Risk Industrial Activities December 2004 - www.protezionecivile.it The Test of the EEP constitutes an innovative Para IV.1 UPDATES, EXERCISES AND PER- element introduced by the Decree 334/99 and is SONNEL TRAINING conducted by mean of exercises that test the activation procedures of operational struc- Article 20 of Decree 334/1999 states that EEP Ex- tures, the operational capability of Authorities ternal Emergency Planning should be re- and of some socio-economic sectors like evaluated, tested and, if necessary, revised and schools, hospitals, supermarkets and similar update periodically and however every three years. which are present in the areas at risk. The revision (of the plan) should take into account In order to ensure an adequate frequency and a any modifications of the facility and its safety con- satisfactory training standard it is appropriate to ditions that may have been occurred also following organize exercises of different level of complexity, the application of complementary technical meas- or structured on different levels of activation of op- ures stated at art. 14, para 6 of Decree 334/99, erational resources and population. and taking into account the actions for the reduc- tion of territorial environmental vulnerability, oper- In this respect could be organized: ated through the application of politics of territory - “Command Posts” exercises (without the government and related instruments in high risk in- involvement of personnel, operational re- dustrial areas. sources and population) - “Joint exercises” (between several Agen- Any revision and update of EEP must be notified to cies but without the involvement of the Regional Government and local Authorities and population) and finally communicated to the Ministry of Environment and - “Real-Scale” exercises. to the Department of Civil Protection and to all in- volved subjects which are already in possession of The success of an exercise depends on the the previous version of EEP. level of information and training of the person- nel responsible of the emergency management It is hereby stressed the necessity of the guarantee and depends on the level of information to the of the update of information contained in the EEP, public made on this issue. providing in the EEP the procedures and the re- It seems appropriate to provide more than one sponsible subjects charged of the gathering and meeting in order to verify the results and ex- the diffusion of the information related to the differ- change participant’s experiences in order to ent sections of the document. highlight critical issues. 14/30
  • 15. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.4.2. Overview After a review of the previous pages, that actually represent only a small fraction of what is avail- able, in the following table we try to summarize the different levels of involvement and possibilities that can be chosen for the actuation of a specific phase of the emergency planning cycle. There will always be the need to inform the persons involved in our planning and getting a feedback. Training of teams Conference, Table Top Control Post Functional Live, Field, Real and responding Seminars, exercises Scale, exercises resources Workshop In this presentation These three different A tabletop exercise Typically the control The functional exer- In this category be- we would like to “tools” are mainly simulates an emer- post may be run only cise is similar to longs all the activities stress on how impor- dedicated to inform gency situation in an for communication or command post but is that take place “on tant is the prepara- the actors involved informal, stress-free both for communica- related to specific the ground”. Single tion of teams but we and to get some environment. tion, teams (mostly functions that need to resources in real set- are not dealing di- feedback indication The participants, virtually) and com- be activated in the ting, joint resources rectly with this as- in order to refine the usually people on a manders together command and con- or full-scale. Please pect. We assume plan (in terms of decision-making (without the involve- trol centers. In Italy, notice that these are that training has general issues). level, gather around ment of personnel, for large civil protec- to be considered dif- been adequately In the actors involved a table to discuss operational re- tion emergencies ferent from the activ- provided there is also the general problems sources and popula- there is a system ity of single re- “population”. and procedures in tion) called “Augustus” sources during recur- the context of an that works on 14 rent training where emergency scenario. functions usually are con- The focus is on train- The functional exer- ducted evaluations of ing and familiariza- cise simulates an single steps or single tion with roles, pro- emergency in the actions (even if com- cedures, or respon- most realistic manner plex) typically taking sibilities. possible, short of into account only on- moving real people site conditions and equipment to an actual site. As the name suggests, its goal is to test or evaluate the capabil- ity of one or more functions in the con- text of an emergency event. 2.4.3. Most suited tools (Type of activity) for the different purposes The following is a table of comparison of different available tools that may be useful for a specific purpose Purpose Sequence of the most suited tools (Type of activity) Inform Conference Seminar Check resources Training Joint training Test structure of the Table top Functional Live exercise plan Command Post Full or partial for groups of responders Verify ability of com- Table Top Functional Live exercise full scale manders Command Post 15/30
  • 16. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.5. Most common examples of aims of Plan Test Everybody knows that of one the most advanced international agency that has a very important set of documents related to emergency planning is www.iaea.org. The International Atomic Energy Agency, and all the National Agencies that are connected with it, since the beginning of their activity have produced large quantity of documents, all available on the internet. From the documents related to planning in the nuclear energy sector, the author has excerpted some indication related to the expected results of the emergency plan testing activities IAEA - International NEA - Nuclear Emergency Agency DEHLG - RPII - NEPNA Atomic Energy Agency Canada Ireland http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/MediaAd http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ed- http://www.rpii.ie/reports/2004/Ireland's%2 visory/2005/MA_200512.html ud/part/int/index_e.html 0National%20Report-2004.pdf Media Advisory 2005/12 International Coordination of Nuclear National Emergency Plan for Nuclear International Organizations and IAEA Emergency Preparedness and Re- Accidents Member States Test Emergency Plans sponse (…) Exercises of the international plan, (…) The NEA regularly holds international (…)External consultants were engaged by called the "Joint Radiation Emergency exercises to test member countries' nu- the DEHLG to conduct a comprehensive Management Plan", are conducted every clear emergency preparedness plans. test of the NEPNA. This project included a few years so that the IAEA, its Member These exercises are designed to test: critical review of the of the existing plans, States and international organizations, - areas where trans-boundary commu- a table top exercise to examine some of can test preparedness for working nication and coordination could be im- the issues confronted in the plan and the cooperatively to respond effectively to an proved; large scale exercise (Operation Gray- actual nuclear or radiological emergency - decision-making processes based on storm) conducted in November 2001. The or incident. limited information and uncertain consultants made 37 specific recom- This exercise is focused primarily on power plant conditions; mendations for improving the NEPNA testing communication networks and - real time communications with the in their report of August 2002 These assessing the technical implications. actual equipment and procedures; and recommendations cover aspects of (…) - public information and interaction NEPNA such as with media. - national emergency preparedness structures - threat assessment - the functioning of the ERCC - clarification of roles and respon- sibilities - alerting mechanisms and com- munication with the public. Looking at the above cited examples, it is easy to notice that there is a set of priorities in the aspects that are put to test. For instance: - Alerting procedures and mechanism - Communications - Cooperation between agencies and clarification of roles - Information to the public and the media. It seems to be quite evident that most of the plan tests does not (and probably should not) involve the direct verification of the “ability” of the responders teams. It appears equally obvious that this “verification” of teams preparedness is made during the training sessions, rather than during a test of the plan. Again, this is one of the aspects that support the need to make a “mental shift” on the typical way in which are conducted some “public” exercises. The “aim of the exercise” that we can frequently find stated in a lot of exercise documents may appear to be “to test the plan” but most of the times the exercise ends up simply like a “large scale team training”. Of course, with a lot of flashing emergency lights… everything seems credible. 16/30
  • 17. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.6. Plans Test Documentation In the process of testing there will be the need to prepare a series of document. In the following ta- ble we summarize the process through a list of examples of what kind of documents you should be prepared to write. Without these documents there will not be a “serious” plan test. documents typical content Example of Resources/Offices involved (existing) Existing Emergency Plan. We assume, of course, that - Emergency Planning Committee there is already a valid existing plan. (Please remember EMERGENCY PLAN we are not dealing, in this paper, with “how to write” an emergency plan) Testing Requirements. From the plan itself or by man- - Authorities Testing datory requirements there is the need to test the plan. In - Emergency Planning Committee Requirements this document will be listed all “the reasons” that require the testing activity and the goals related to this activity. Test Project. A project of the testing activity will be - Plan Test Committee TEST prepared. In this document there will be all the descrip- - “Actors” PROJECT tions related to the organization of the test: methods, Agencies and Teams involved, scenarios, resources and so on. In the project will also be defined the evaluation procedures. Activities Log. There will be a registration of all the test - Plan Test Committee TEST activities. This will be done from different positions and - “Actors” EXECUTION different “point of views”. It will be not only an image / - Evaluators audio / radio / video registration but also the collection of all the documents and forms used during the exercise. Evaluation. This document will gather all the evalua- - Plan Test Committee TEST tions provided by different Actors and Evaluators. All in- - Evaluators EVALUATION formation will be categorized and sent to the Test Plan- ning Committee for the final recommendations Recommendation. After the test and the evaluation, the - Plan Test Committee Recom- Test Planning Committee will meet again, will examine - Emergency Planning Committee mendations the documents and will write the recommendations that TO THE PLAN will be given to the Authority (or the Office) that has re- quested the test of the Plan Amendments. The Emergency Planning Committee, tak- - Emergency Planning Committee Amen- ing into account the recommendations of the Plan Test - Authorities dments Committee, will prepare the amendments to the plan. TO THE PLAN These amendments will be approved by the Autority and will become an integration/modification of the previous existing Plan (updated) New edition of the plan. A new and updated edition of - Authorities the plan will be promulgated by Authorities. The Emer- - Emergency Planning Committee EMERGENCY PLAN gency Planning Committee will organize the dissemina- tion of the new documents and will (probably) organize a new emergency plan test. The cycle is completed and will re-start again; at this point you should be able to compare the “plan before” and the “plan after” the exercise 17/30
  • 18. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.7. Comparison of different planning test activity and possible feedbacks 2.7.1. From Everyday work activities to Full Scale Exercise For those of us working in emergency services, everyday work is one of the most powerful “feedback” activity, provided that we are able to collect, evaluate and disseminate the results of our responses. There is not better opportunity than a thorough evaluation of what we have been able to provide in case of real incident: communication, chain of command, resource deployment, safety, planning, accountability, procedures, operations and results. In the following table the author have compared what he considers most interesting aspects for the different test activities. It is, of course, a very broad classification but it should help in understanding that there are several ways to reach adequate results. The very important issue is that any choice in organizing your test activity should be Descriptions Color made after an accurate evaluation of all the Low cost, hgh relevance, high visibility, appropriate white and very effective opportunities and after an identification of what are the Moderate cost, effective, may give visibility yellow most relevant results that you want to achieve with that Medium cost, , low media relevance, low visibility orange High cost red test. TYPE Everyday Seminar or Command Conference Table Top Virtual Full Scale work workshop Posts ASPECTS Preparation No Low Moderate Moderate Moderate High Cost for Medium Effort extra costs extra cost extra cost extra cost extra cost quality product Extra Cost No Moderate Moderate No Moderate High Running Cost Medium Cost extra costs Cost cost extra cost Cost Cost Very effective Limited Specific Very Limited Effectiveness Effective Effective with follow-up to audience to audience effective to Scenario Influenced by Difficult Adequate Very Very Evaluation Appropriate Appropriate persons feedback Feedback appropriate Appropriate Influenced by Not specific for May provide in- Very Very Limited Revision Effective “system” revision puts to revision effective Effective to Scenario Media High media May have May have May have May have Low media High media Relevance relevance relevance relevance relevance relevance relevance relevance Influenced by Can give Can give Can give Can give High “Visibility” Low visibility “system” visibility visibility visibility visibility visibility Let us make a simple comment on two aspects: “Preparation Effort” and “Media Relevance”. Regarding the “efforts in preparation”, if we think at the everyday work we could say that there are not any extra cost because emergency events happen everyday and response is provided automatically; on the other side in the effort to organize virtual simulations, where there is the need of an accurate project of the systems, the cost may be very high if a product of quality is needed. The preparation effort in a full scale exercise are usually significant, due to the fact that moving people, resources, and setting “live and real” scenarios may be (and often is) quite expensive. 18/30
  • 19. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Looking at “Media Relevance”, the everyday work (especially in the emergency services) is of course always under the eyes of the media, so the visibility of what we do is absolutely high (and this visibility is for free!). On the other side, it has not the same attraction – for the Media – a room filled with computers and radio where people, like in a video-game, operate receiving and sending messages and making/taking decision. Even if this could be (and often is) one of the most challenging environment for those who are exercising participating into the activity, after a few minute the general public may get bored and so, consequently, the media relevance lower. For a full-scale exercise the media relevance is extremely high and this is the reason why most of the times this system is preferred, even if it needs extra cost in preparation and high cost when running the exercise. 19/30
  • 20. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.8. Evaluation of the exercise The details for a good preparation of evaluation process are well written in document FEMA IS 139 and in the related “comprehensive curriculum”. The author strongly suggest to read that document. In this page there is an example of the first part of a report model prepared by the author and used during an exercise in the international Airport of Milan-Orio BGY. Interagency exercise “ORIO” 2007 International Airport (BGY) Reference framework for evaluations, notes and observations Schema di riferimento per valutazioni, rilievi ed osservazioni 1. PLAN 2. RESCUERS 3. MANAGERS AND COM- 4. ORGANIZATION OF THE MANDERS ESERCISE Key factors are observed in Key factors are observed in Key factors are observed in Key factors are observed in order to verify the real func- order to verify the quality of order to define the real ade- order to detect what of these tionality of the plan, its ade- response of the emergency quacy of the command action factors influence positively on quacy and the updating. teams, their internal manage- per formed by the different the exercise organization, on ment capability and their abil- managers/ commanders. the credibility and the useful- ity to relate their activity with The capability to interact and ness for the general scope of other teams of other agencies act with synergy and with the exercise. common objectives is meas- ured - Functionality of the plan - Readiness - Coordination - scope of exercise - Communications - Effectiveness - Command and control - adherence to the existing - Safety - Efficiency capabilities plan, deviations and mo- - Strategies - Adequacy of response - Flexibility tivations - Ordinary resources - Coordination with other - Knowledge of the work - redundancy of safety - Extra-ordinary resources teams environment and charac- measures for actors - Coordination - Coordination with other teristics of all “actors” in- - inconveniences to ordi- - Unexpected events (and Agencies volved nary activity reaction) - Capability to sustain long - Unified command - credibility - Management of media term operations - Centralized command - factors that have facili- - Public relation - structure with ramifica- tated the exercise - Flights Traffic tion - factors that have made management difficult the exercise Each one of the single mentioned aspects is then further examined in depth with more specific evaluation items. 20/30
  • 21. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 2.7.2. Drills are something different from exercises An emergency drill is typically related to some specific phase of the emergency management, particularly those at the very first stages in terms of time. During drill you may usually test: - alarms - first communications and request to the emergency services (internal or external) - first actions to do (and not to do) - evacuation procedures The drill commonly ends after some tens of minutes from the beginning. Even for complicated actions rarely it will exceed one hour. Of course if in the emergency drill your duty is to apply the shut-down procedures for a nuclear power plant... The author, with some other members of his Fire Department has contributed in the organization and the evaluation during the conduction of emergency drills in chemical plants and in hospitals. The experience shows that the scope of the drill is mostly accomplished once the involved Personnel has: - given the alarm following the correct pro- cedures - evacuated the involved compartment and the nearby compartments - been able to give information to emer- gency responders on any victim or trapped personnel - gathered to the meeting points. Even “limiting” the drill to these first phases, there is always the opportunity to make good improvements to the plan. Typically the first improvements are related to “how“ to send and receive the alarm and the direc- tions by the supervisors. Again, is not difficult to notice that the first revisions of the plan will probably involve the need of solution to communication problems. 21/30
  • 22. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 3. ORGANIZING A LARGE SCALE EXERCISE: SOME KEY ISSUES FEMA Guideline IS 139 “Exercise Design” is one of the most complete document on exercise plan- ning and design and the author recommends to download it from www.fema.gov and use it as a ref- erence manual. In this chapter the author presents an overview on some aspects that has personally noticed when he actively participated to exercises and plan tests. 3.1. Introduction Once it has been established that there is the need to test the plan with a full scale exercise (see chapter 2.4), one of the obvious consequence is to define the chain of command. Less obvious appears the need to organize a similar chain of command for the “backstage” of the exercise test organization. But without that “backstage” organization there will not be a complete coverage of all the needs that arise during this activity. A scheme of that organization is represented in the following sample graphic EXERCISE DIRECTOR (Directing Staff) INCIDENT CHIEF OF THE OBSERVERS OVERALL COMMANDER SIMULATION SAFETY (or Unified Com- STAFF mand Post) SAFETY Communications MAKE-UP TEAM V.I.P. TEAMS SAFETY AND AUTHORITIES OPERATIONS PLANNING LOGISTICS ADMINISTRATION STAFF FOR Media SITE SAFETY GENERATION OF INCIDENT SCENARIOS SIMULATED GENERAL “VICTIMS” PUBLIC On the left there is the typical incident command organization. On the right there is the “backstage” organization of the exercise. It is easy to imagine that for large scale exercises there should be a large support staff. 22/30
  • 23. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 3.2. Preparation, Techniques, Roles One of the most important thing to keep in mind is that the exercise director cannot be the incident commander itself. It could appear obvious to say this, maybe, but it is not uncommon that the des- ignated person(s) to be the in the incident command staff in that exercise, participates in depth to the preparation of the exercise itself. This is the first thing to avoid. The second thing is that also the evaluators should be a separate team not involved in any way in the exercise itself. The following scheme is aimed to visualize the relationship between these different roles: DIRECTING STAFF Exercise director(s) Simulation staff generates the “problems” OBSERVERS Evaluators Media EXERCISING RESOURCES V.I.P. Incident Commanders General Public Emergency Agency (authorities) Emergency Responders - Public Teams - Private Teams Population elaborate the “solutions” What is important to notice is that the DIRECTING STAFF should be considered “transparent” to the EXERCISING RESOURCES. The interaction between the two should be only through the se- quence of injects that are prepared from time to time by the “DISTAFF” (Directing Staff). The objective is to create a sequence (not known in advance) of emergency situations that could be faced by the resources that are exercising: no matter if the exercising actors are authorities, incident commanders, or the population. The “OBSERVERS” (we indicate with this word all those that do not participate directly in the emergency) can play their role getting information and taking notes at any of the four levels de- scribed above. 23/30
  • 24. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy For example they can observe: - the credibility of the injects prepared by the Directing Staff, compared to risk assessment and emergency plan o A mandate for the directing staff can be derived by the plan itself. - the “quality” and visibility of the problem created o For this aspect needs to be taken into account the difficulty for the responder, some- times, to “visualize” the real effects of the emergency situation in case of a simula- tion - the capability of the emergency managers (and of all the chain of command) to elaborate a re- sponse o the most relevant aspect - the quality and the adequacy of the solutions to the inject of problems o this is the decisive proof of the effectiveness of the planning system 3.2.1. How much information can or should be given to the resources that are participating to exercise? There will be a general narrative of the scenario that will be public. This aspect can appear some- thing that gives some “help” to the responders. Actually, is not possible to ask or pretend that re- sponding agencies can exercise without having a general idea at least on how many resources will need to be employed; so, some general information is needed. This, for example, will allow the re- sponding agencies to organize their participation to the exercise without interruption (or with lim- ited consequences) in the provision of their everyday service. This does not means that the response sequence and the deployment of resources should be pre- packed, and revealed in advance to the responders and their chiefs. 3.2.2. Want to run exercise close to real conditions? Prepare for a really dynamic scenario Most of the times, the author have noticed that when an exercise is being organized, for example, with 50 “casualties” they remain with their “colour code” (according to the S.T.A.R.T. triage sys- tem) for some hours, until they are “rescued”. This is something different from real incidents, where victim conditions will degrade minute after minute. So, if you want to really challenge all the system it should be a good option to choose to let the “victims” condition worsen as time passes by until they are not rescued and treated. The continuous evaluation of the “speed” at which victims will change their status will be provided by medical per- sonnel helped, if this is the case, by toxicologists in case the event involves the contact with hazard- ous materials. Those specialist will work with the directing staff of the exercise, providing advice on how and when the changes should be made. The great possibility with this system is to really measure the effectiveness of the response: if the rescuers are not fast enough victims will move from a “red code” to a “black code”. This will be possible when the cooperation among the different agencies is excellent. Again, when real emergencies happen, these are the best “source of problem” for the verifica- tion of plans. The time spent in the examination of real responses to real emergencies is really in- valuable! 24/30
  • 25. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 3.3. Support activities (“logistics is everything”) During a Live Exercise, the typical support activities (besides those related to the simulation) range from the assistance to Authority, media and V.I.P. to the management of participating public or by- standers. One important aspect is to organize clearly defined points/positions where these persons can be po- sitioned at their best convenience without being posed at any risk. For example, there will be the need to provide extra transport, and assign specific personnel which should not be involved in any way into the exercise. Of course, if the exercise is a long term exer- cise there will be the need to provide also food and maybe lodging for the participating Agencies. This will require an adequate “backstage” organization (see paragraph 3.1). 3.4. Follow-up When we plan an exercise test, there should be set forth the terms for the follow-up activities. We should always expect that from each plan test exercise there will be a significant amount of obser- vations and ideas that should be collected and examined. All systems and forms for data collection and evaluation should be prepared in advance and explained to those who will use them. 3.5. Communications On a field exercise the communication between the different levels of command will generate the need to organize different “layers” of communication. This should be provided by mean of different communication channels that goes from dedicated tactical radio channel to satellite broadcast com- munication. Important to notice that a completely separate “layer” will need to be provided for the Directing staff and all their collaborators. There will be the need of at least the following separate networks: - communication between command post and EOC - communications between commanders of different agencies - communications between teams (on separate radio channel) - communication between the assisting staff (figurants, safety, evaluation) 25/30
  • 26. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 4. VIRTUAL REALITY 4.0. introduction There are tens of examples on how the information technology is providing the emergency respond- ers with a series of tools that allow to “practice” most of the work to be done. Most of the famous software-house and recognized worldwide simulation providers are: http://www.vectorcommand.com/ http://www.emergencycommandsystem.com http://www.admstraining.com http://www.e-semble.com http://www.firesimulator.com/ 4.1. Virtual Simulation: the typical ways In extreme synthesis, the virtual simulation activity is aimed to send “inputs” to the stu- dent/operator in order to receive “output”. The quality of the input depends on the quality of the product. The quality of the output depends on the quality of the Student and: - the quality of procedures and plans that the student will follow when he has to elaborate a spe- cific response - the knowledge of the students in his/her field - the ability to perform his/her duties - the ability to do this in synergy with other members of the same agency and members of other agencies and Authorities - finally, the ability to show and perform all this during stressful conditions In principles these abilities are the very same abilities needed to face a real emergency. Some of the advantage in the virtual simulation is that the process can be logged precisely for further evaluation and can be repeated with the same sequences of input for other students. 26/30
  • 27. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 4.2. Information sharing and decision support. An available, public, tool for big emergencies When the “problems” are “XXL problems” (extra large in size as complexity and extension), it is easy to imagine that the content of plans are more related to mutual aid, deployment of resources, cooperation among States and so on. The emergency managers of each of the Agencies that want to support the stricken Nation are involved in a very complex response plan that is actually the addi- tion of tens and tens of local, national , international, worldwide Plans and Response Mechanism. There are not many sources for complete training on these issues and consequently there is not a specific description on how to test effectively this “collection of plans and rules”. The most “official” tool is “Virtual OSOCC” of the United Nations that allows enrolled members to be informed with updated news regarding emergency situation around the world. Here are some in- formation gathered from the descriptions posted on the sites. Interesting to notice is the opportunity to train and consequently to test continuously the procedures and the plans, not only by the direct participation in real emergencies, but also observing what oth- ers are doing in real emergencies and learning. There is also an interesting possibility of participa- tion in several training, meetings and discussion forums. The author thinks that even indirectly, the observation on-line of all the “reactions with solutions” to all the “injects with problems” coming from the real world can be a very powerful tool that helps immediately to receive a feed-back on the quality of responses that each Agency or Nation gives following their emergency plans. http://www.gdacs.org/ The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System provides near real-time alerts about natural disasters around the world and tools to facilitate response coordination, including media monitoring, map catalogues and Virtual On- Site Operations Coordination Centre. http://ocha.unog.ch/virtualosocc/ Disaster coordination - the main purpose of the Virtual OSOCC is to facilitate decision-making for international response to major disasters though real-time information exchange by all actors of the international disaster response community. E-mail and sms alerts - All Virtual OSOCC users have the opportunity to create e-mail and sms messages that are sent automati- cally to subscribers to inform about critical situation updates during disaster response operations. UNDAC mobilisation - through the Virtual OSOCC the United Nations Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC) can be mobi- lised effectively through on-line workflow procedures including sms and e-mail. Training and meetings - the Virtual OSOCC facilitates management of UNDAC, INSARAG and UN-CMCoord training, meetings and workshops through e-mail notification, on-line participant registration and discussion of background material. Discussion forum - the Virtual OSOCC provides its users with a discussion forum for any area of interest, including information ex- change on best practice and lessons-learned after disaster response operations. Photo library - the Virtual OSOCC includes a photo library where users can share disaster and other related photos as documenta- tion or presentation material or souvenir of a joint mission. (OSOCC - On Site Operation Coordination Centre) 27/30
  • 28. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy 5. LESSONS LEARNED Dissemination of information about planning activity – A “Transition period” There might be a risk of (and sometimes a sense of) frustration when you actually respond to a real emergency after the redaction and approval of a Plan. The reason is that until (and unless) you have disseminated the content of the Plan to all the “Actors” involved, frequently it can happen that only part of the Responders of the involved Agencies have been trained into the Plan. These “informed” actors will probably act following the “desired” course of action provided in the Plan but other re- sponders will act “…as usual, as they did before the plan…”. The final outcome is that you and your trained Team may get frustrated because you’ll hear people that will say: “…even now that we have a Plan, the overall response have not been as expected in the plan itself…”. Don’t worry: this can happen and nobody should be blamed. The problems related to this “transition period” will always be present. The best solution is to work hard in the “compression” of this transi- tion period. As soon as you get all the responders informed and trained on the Plan and its “ex- pected” results you will be confident that there will be real improvements. Redundancy of safety measures during plan tests simulated with field exercises… There will always be the need of redundant safety measures during the live exercises. This is ex- tremely important and it is necessary to implement what is needed to be sure that the risk of injuries will be limited (or eliminated). One of the way to deal with this is to provide extra safety officers for each site where the exercise is taking place. These officers will not interfere with the activity of the personnel which is participating to the exercise, unless there will be some signal of a probable deviation from the expected course of action. Is it possible to organize a plan test with a field exercise without having conducted before a table top or a command post exercise? In principle we now know that is not as effective as it can be following the right sequence. But- sometimes it is the only chance that you get from your supervisors. So, you need to be very careful in the preparation of evaluation opportunities from as much points/position as you can. (COMPLE- TARE). So, actually it is worth to try to convince your supervisors or other agencies to give at least one opportunity to test the system “at cold” around a table, rather than starting “at hot” during a messy field simulation. Motivation of Emergency Response Teams and the risk of a “show” exercise My personal experience is that in Italy (and in many other Countries, I assume) most of the “exer- cises” are run in a “demonstration mode” which aim is rather mostly the aim of “showing” (to the Public, to Authorities, to other Agencies) the “field force” of the responding system. Of course it is more attractive for the media and easier to understand for the Public (at basic level, of course) a “field simulation” rather than a table-top exercise or a functional exercise, where you “see” only people around some tables or around some radios, sending and receiving messages. 28/30
  • 29. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy The risk is typically the following: to spend much more energy to organize the “V.I.P.” visit to the exercise site or a “Media-activity” rather than measuring the real effects of the test activity. Moreover you can bet (…you can be sure…) that when more Agencies are involved in the same field exercise, each one would try to “appear” as much as possible and everybody finds itself “forced” to do something “visible” that often is of marginal importance for the test but it is much more important for the feedback that they want to give to the V.I.P.s or to the Media. A positive approach that I have seen in some of international exercises at which I participated (in- volving several Countries) that one of the best way that to deal with this aspect is to provide a spe- cial “demonstration day” after the exercise itself. Adding one “demo-day“ (or a couple of “demo- hours” if the exercise will take place in one day only), allow everybody to focus first on the correct conduction of the exercise and then gives the opportunity to “show” the best of its capabilities in a “stage-like” setting. These aspects related to the need of “visibility” should not be considered “a problem”. It is very normal that the operating teams would like to show all their capabilities at the maximum possible level (even if this aspect in that moment of the field exercise may not be necessary). So, knowing in advance these needs, will help the Plan Test Planners in reaching their goals. Visibility of scenarios in real scale exercises… and Reality It is difficult to “simulate” on the field a real event. Most of the times the responders need to make a big effort in “recognizing” the situation and “reading” the assigned scenario. This issue is particularly significant when you deal with something that have a dynamic evolu- tion like a vapour cloud dispersed from a chemical plant or the effects of an explosion on the immediate environment and the “victims” (simulated, of course) around there. On the other side, sometimes there are cases where the response has been pre-modeled to the pre- defined scenario simulating to be close to reality but the final outcome is the risk of being too much “hollywood”. Other relevant issues One of the main risks that can be present in any emergency test is the overlapping of some roles onto the same persons. The reason is often due to the fact that sometimes it is not immediate to think, since the beginning of the planning activity, to provide a specific staff for the management and the generation of the exercise “problems”. Which should (and must) be different from the re- sponse teams that will be in charge of the “solution” of the emergency situation. 29/30
  • 30. FDIC Bahrain 2007 Conference - Testing your own Emergency Plans. Gianmario Gnecchi, Italy Another typical aspect is the following: once it has been established for that specific exercise that there will be the need of a certain number and certain type of resources, if you discover during the exercise that you would need more resources, the risk is that you may keep “playing” with “what you have” even if in the reality you would probably have asked for more resources or of different types Want to exercise your personal Emergency Management capabilities? Let others evaluate you. Often, only in a few cases the “managers” find an appropriate way to “be tested”. Of course each single agency can run assessments of the abilities of the “internal” chain of command: there are very evolved systems available. But not all are so “mentally open” to allow honestly to compare their internal chain of command with the chain of command of other agencies. Would we agree “to be tested”, individually, during a Plan Test? Would we agree that someone will take note of our perfect behaviour, our straightforward decision making process, our ability in elaborating the right decision? Probably we would. Would we consequently agree that the same persons will take note of our fragile behaviour, our complex decision making process, our inability to get the final result done? Probably we would not. In principle, we should not be aware to be “tested”. But there is a principle that should be always kept in mind when dealing with the need to test the “chiefs”, the commanders. If we want to be sure that we are testing the commanders we need to be sure that all the components of the Emergency Response System have been individually tested, in advance. As we explained in the first chapters the sequence of tests should be (let’s say: must be): 1) Test the resources (human and material) 2) Test the plan and the procedures 3) Test the managers (the commanding officers) Sometimes, it seems to be more effective organizing of a full scale exercise even without the prepa- ration steps. As we said, this results most of the times in an “illusion”. The organization of a large full-scale field exercise should be the final step of the process, not the first one. 30/30

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