Exercise Branch Image in front of the door of the EOC, a sign says exercise in progress. People are walking in the background of the sign.

Exercise Branch

The focus of an exercise should always be on locating and eliminating problems before an actual emergency occurs. Corrective actions are an important part of exercise design, evaluation and after action reports. In planning exercises, the emphasis is on the actions or operations required in emergency response or recovery rather than on the types of disasters, because preparedness is common to all emergencies. Our Exercise Program is about preparedness, partnerships and leadership:

  • Practicing our procedures to ensure the safety of our citizens;
  • Partnering with stakeholders to understand how we can work together;
  • The emergency management community working together to provide a clear message to its citizens on what actions need to be taken.

There are a number of reasons to perform exercises:

  • Test and evaluate plans, policies and procedures;
  • Reveal planning weaknesses;
  • Reveal gaps in resources;
  • Improve inter-agency coordination and communications;
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities;
  • Train personnel in roles and responsibilities;
  • Improve individual performance;
  • Gain public recognition and support of officials;
  • Satisfy government requirements.

Homeland Security and Evaluation Program

All exercises conducted by the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs follow the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program  (HSEEP) guidelines. The HSEEP is a capabilities and performance-based exercise program that provides a standardized methodology and terminology for exercise design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. HSEEP constitutes a national standard for all exercises.

Through exercises, the National Exercise Program supports organizations to achieve objective assessments of their capabilities so that strengths and areas for improvement are identified, corrected and shared as appropriate prior to a real incident.  The HSEEP is maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Preparedness Directorate, Department of Homeland Security.

If you're ready to request an exercise for your jurisdiction, complete the Training and  Exercise Event Request and submit it through your County Emergency Manager or Local Emergency Planning Commission.