Emergency Management: Realistic Disaster Exercises

Emergency Planning and Disaster Exercises

Realistic disaster exercises are designed to help an organization test a hypothetical situation, such as a natural or man-made disaster. The purpose of experiencing a disaster exercise is to evaluate a group’s ability to cooperate and work together. In addition to this, the simulation tested emergency managers to see how they respond and recover from a disaster.

Emergency planning requires companies to conduct these exercises in order to maintain structure and readiness. Although companies do this there isn’t enough expertise in emergency response and recovery. Organizers of these exercises might not have the expertise to fully design and implement one that can be learned from. This unfortunately leads to companies becoming complacent and also not benefiting from the actual exercise.

Making A Case For More Realistic Disaster Exercises

There is a push for creating more credible exercises that can help companies learn from a simulated disaster. In an attempt to create more realistic disaster exercises former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate made similar simulations like the Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise. The Cascadia Rising experience was one of the largest domestic drills ever held in the U.S. The exercise served as a bridge for emergency management experts and government sectors to collaborate and improve emergency planning. Lessons learned from this realistic exercise was how to survive an earthquake and tsunami at a magnitude of 9.0. The exercise lasted four days while highlighting areas for emergency managers to improve in response planning for future disasters.

When Craig Fugate was the FEMA administrator, he was an advocate for doing catastrophic disaster exercises. His point was that it does us little to do just exercises that we estimate we can handle. Our planning, training, and exercising need to stress our systems and use methods that we know will limit our ability to respond to the unusual conditions we’ll have to operate under.

See Making the Case for More Realistic Disaster Exercises. by Eric Holdeman, Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer, Government Technology / Emergency Management.

Disaster Response and The Road To Recovery

Exercises are a mainstay in the field of emergency management and business continuity planning. Our experts know that realistic disaster exercises can benefit managers to improve in response planning. Ultimately, if managers are consistent on learning from these experience they will be able to save more than just lives in the event that a disaster takes place.