Magazine article Risk Management

Emergency Preparedness Drills

Magazine article Risk Management

Emergency Preparedness Drills

Article excerpt

Preparedness drills allow individuals and organizations to test disaster plans, train staff, residents and family members, and identify where the plan requires improvement. It is important to realize a plan is always a work in progress and needs continual updating and maintenance. Drills help identify where these updates are needed, and to be successful, they should be broken into smaller, "bite-sized" pieces that can later be put together to create an exercise.

There are three basic types of drills. A tabletop drill is a facilitated analysis of an emergency situation in an informal, stressfree environment. It is designed to elicit constructive discussion as participants examine and resolve problems based on existing operational plans while identifying where those plans need to be refined. The success of the exercise is largely determined by group identification of problem areas. There is minimal attempt at simulation in a tabletop exercise. Equipment is not used, resources are not deployed, and time pressures are not introduced. This is the simplest type of exercise to conduct in terms of planning, preparation and coordination. Every organization has the resources to conduct a tabletop drill.

The functional drill 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 evaluate the capability of one or more functions in the context of an emergency event.

A full-scale drill is as close to the real thing as possible. It is a comparatively lengthy event that takes place on location, using, as much as possible, the equipment and personnel that would be called upon in a real event. If you can pass this test with flying colors, you can be confident that your company will fare better than most in an actual catastrophe. …

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