|When are the materials released for each year?|
Updated materials are released annually, usually by April of each year.
|How are the Templates Created?|
The SWMHE Exercise Planning Workgroup (EPW) meets once a month to review feedback, update materials and update the Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan (MYTEP) based on new requirements, and provide assistance to local entities as they plan their exercise. Part of the EPW’s task is to create exercise templates that are up-to-date, aligned with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidelines, and inclusive of regulations and statewide emergency response policies. The website is updated each year, usually by April 1 to incorporate planning for that year’s exercise.
|How do I customize or write my agency's exercise scenario, or the Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) and actor cards?|
The Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) serves as a master exercise timeline for exercise staff and planners to utilize both to track exercise progress and to deliver exercise injects to participants to facilitate play. Since this document maps out specific activities that will take place during the exercise, this document needs to be edited and customized to be specific to the needs of your organization. Work with your exercise planning team to determine the activities that should take place, the expected actions, the timeline, and the injects that need to be delivered to encourage staff to respond. Ensure your exercise objectives are linked to specific MSEL injects and are tested appropriately. Do not show the MSEL to potential exercise participants. Within the SWMHE MSEL template, there are asterisks (*) next to the columns that are recommended to include in your MSEL at a minimum.
The Actor Cards are an optional tool to utilize if you plan to use artificial patients and/or affected members of the public during your exercise. These can be modified on the excel table provided, and imported into a card format that can be printed and given to an actor, volunteer, or to exercise participants to read. Work with your planning team to determine how many and what type of patients/family members/staff/survivors to utilize during the exercise.
If you are having difficulties with the format of these templates provided, there are many other MSEL and Actor Card formats available online if you search for other exercise documents and samples. For example, sample exercise documents can be found in HSEEP, through the Radiological Injury Treatment Network (RITN), or through most state’s emergency management agencies.
If you are having difficulty with the mail merge feature on your actor cards, there are many helpful mail merge tutorials available online tailored to your computer type (PC, Mac) and version of Word.
|What does the grey, bracketed test mean?|
Grey, bracketed text refers to any element of the document that should be customized for the local facility/agency/organization or jurisdiction. For example, if a sentence reads, “the second incident occurs at [insert location]”, the text should be customized for local needs, for example: “the second incident occurred at the Theodore Roosevelt Academy on 6th Street”
Tip: To quickly customize a document, you may want to do a “Ctrl + F” to search for all the brackets “[“ in the document.
|What do I use the Organizational Self Assessments for?|
These are optional, supplementary resources that can be used to evaluate current emergency response policies and procedures in your facility/agency/organization. These assessments do not need to be submitted to anyone or any agency. Rather, they are an internal tool to evaluate current gaps in policies, plans, training, or exercises to help identify potential objectives for the SWMHE.
The website currently has self-assessments for three categories of organizations: clinical (hospitals, community clinics, long term care, dialysis, etc.), community preparedness (local EMS agencies, public health, social services, nonprofits, etc.), and public safety (police, fire, emergency management, etc.).
The website has a version of the assessment that is general to overall emergency preparedness efforts, as well as a version specific to the suggested scenario.
|How can I incorporate video injects/video resources into my exercise?||Videos are a wonderful resource to use to engage staff and exercise participants during a training or exercise. Video elements can lend a sense of “realism” to the scenario and help participants visualize operations.|
Before conducting a large exercise, you may want to show your staff videos online of what a large-scale exercise looks like in a similar environment, especially for staff who may have never participated in an exercise before.
During the tabletop exercise, video injects or resources can be used to begin each “module” or discussion section. These could be videos available online from a similar incident that has occurred in the past (e.g., news footage of a previous pandemic influenza outbreak such as H1N1) or artificially created and scripted videos for the purpose of the exercise (e.g., a fake newscast about an earthquake occurring near your facility).
During a functional or full-scale exercise, you can use videos to prompt specific injects in your Master Scenario Events List (MSEL). A video could be shown to participants during a pre-exercise player briefing or during the exercise in a briefing or through a link distributed via email.