March 5, 2012 Leave a Comment
HSEEP is a capabilities and performance-based exercise program which provides a standardized policy, methodology, and terminology for exercise design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Its mission is to ensure that exercise programs conform to established best practices and helps provide unity and consistency of effort for exercises at all levels of government.
Exercises allow homeland security and emergency management personnel, from first responders to senior officials, to train and practice prevention, protection, response, and recovery capabilities in a realistic but risk-free environment. Exercises are also a valuable tool for assessing and improving performance, while demonstrating community resolve to prepare for major incidents.
HSEEP is a collection of systems and tools that were developed so that federal, state and local agencies could better work together when creating training for potential large scale domestic disasters.
HSEEP is comprised of the following systems and tools:
- National Exercise Schedule System
- Design and Development System
- Exercise Evaluation Guide Builder
- Master Scenario Events List Builder
- Corrective Action Program System
- HSEEP Data Exchange Standards
More information about these systems and tools can be found at the HSEEP website at the Department of Homeland Security.
The value of bringing together the resources and knowledge of so many first responder agencies is varied – the benefits include:
- Providing access to information and shared learning
- Create best practices, catalog them, and make them available
- Create integration between agencies
- Increase the effectiveness of planning & the results of actual execution
As outlined in the Journal of The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Security, programs like the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program are effective tools that manage to provide solutions to many challenges and lend support to a variety of shared goals.
Planning — Exercises provide a structure to advance planning for a particular incident scenario, identifying problems and explore their solutions in focused way.
Interagency Coordination — Exercises can act as a venue for members of different agencies to meet and interact, to build relationships that are important to effective coordination in a real event, to identify issues potentially falling in gaps of authority, jurisdiction, etc., to test mechanisms and technologies for interagency information sharing that might seldom be used in routine events, and to identify if there are agencies “missing” from plans that would be needed at a large scale disaster, accident, or terrorist attack.
Public Education — Exercises can act as an “event” that, by being covered by the media and discussed publically, makes it possible to teach the public about the capabilities of response systems, creates the opportunity to educate them about preparedness actions they could take, and informs them about preparedness efforts of their local, state, or the federal government.
Training — Exercises can make it possible to expose response staff to rare incidents and their unique demands — rather than their encountering them for the first time at a real emergency. Such simulations make it possible to teach responders or volunteers specific tasks, practice equipment use, and to learn or refresh other knowledge specific to an unusual incident.
Evaluation — Exercises have been used to evaluate emergency preparedness activities in a variety of ways. Such evaluations range from very broad, qualitative assessments (e.g., ensuring all significant issues were considered in planning) to very detailed, quantitative studies (e.g., directly measuring the patient throughput of a medical facility). More elaborate and realistic evaluative exercises have the potential to assess not just that a preparedness plan can be executed, but how well it can be put into practice under the simulated conditions of the exercise scenario.
Full access to the report from above, Preparedness Exercises 2.0: Alternative Approaches to Exercise Design That Could Make Them More Useful for Evaluating — and Strengthening — Preparedness, can be found online at HSAJ.org.