Have you ever heard someone use the term "mock emergency"? What is that, exactly?
What about these terms: Scenarios? Simulations? Messages? Drills? Lock Downs?
There's a whole lot of terminology out there people are using. Do they REALLY know what they are talking about? Do you?
Emergency exercises are required activities for any first response organization. Emergency management organizations are also required to design, develop, and conduct emergency exercises. And now, so are schools. If everyone were to get together and help each other in the design, development, and conduct of these activities, there could be a significant cost savings to everyone along with a much wider knowledge base being applied with one fell swoop.
So, why don't we hear more about these activities? Often they aren't very well publicized. The more popular "flavor of the day" type lock down drills seem to get the most attention. The only other ones we seem to hear about are the big, multi-casualty type activities/simulations like train wrecks, plane crashes, etc., where volunteers are made up to look like they've actually suffered injuries - this is called moulage. Reality? There are other types of exercise simulations, too. They ALL deserve our attention!
One drill does not an exercise program make - very plain and simple. That's why we advocate the methodology put forward by FEMA for exercise programs. It is extremely important for everyone to realize there are more exercise types. In fact, an exercise program is a systematic, carefully planned, well thought out approach that will help ensure success.
There are five (5) recognized exercise types:
The problem that far too many jurisdictions (including schools) run into is they ignore the risks associated with going too fast and putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. We advocate a "crawl, walk, run" philosophy when designing, developing, and implementing an exercise program. And, yes, exercising like what we are talking about demands a "program".
The one course you should have if you decide to get involved in exercise program design, development, and conduct is:
There are more exercise design courses available, but this one should be first and foremost in your repertoire.