An essential part of any plan is the testing, training, and exercising portion. How effective is the plan going to be when it is really needed? Knowing the areas of the plan that need improvement is critical to the overall success of the plan.
The Emergency Management Unit regularly tests, trains, and exercises with the departments of UW–Madison and other UW System campuses. There are three primary types of exercises: tabletop, functional, and full-scale. Organizations usually progress through these exercises from tabletop to full-scale. Following each exercise an after-action report is generated to identify areas the need improvement.
Tabletop exercises are used to train and familiarize personnel with their roles and responsibilities, the organizational response plan, and the overall emergency management system.
Functional exercises are used to test and evaluate the capability of a jurisdiction to respond to a simulated emergency, utilizing several of the jurisdiction’s Emergency Operations Center functions.
A full-scale exercise uses the same components as a functional exercise, while also adding the actual field response elements. This level of exercise is high stress and uses “real time,” not a simulated time frame.