Does your organization have an emergency operations or continuity plan? If so, when was the last time you pulled it from the shelf or opened the file, and reviewed its contents? More importantly, when was the last time you actually tested the plan, or made modifications to it? If you’re unsure about the answer, it’s probably been too long. At BOLDplanning, we recommend reviewing your emergency operations or continuity plan once per year at a minimum; every six months if possible.

Sound unrealistic or unachievable? It’s not. The following five training and testing activities (all of which are approved by FEMA’s Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program) can help you reach, and more importantly, maintain the level of preparedness your organization needs or desires. And, they can do so with less time, fewer resources and oftentimes, smaller amounts of money than you may think.

  1. Seminars – These no-cost, informal discussions are designed to orient participants to new or updated plans, policies, or procedures.
  2.  Workshops – These brief and easily coordinated activities are similar to seminars, but are intended to build specific products, such as a draft plan, or a regular training and exercise schedule.
  3. Tabletop Exercises – These low-stress, no-to-low cost and conversation-based exercises are led by a facilitator who guides team members through discussions pertaining to their role(s) in one or more scenarios.
  4. Functional Exercises – These medium-stress, operations-based exercises require personnel to perform their duties in a simulated environment in order to validate plans and organizational readiness.
  5. Full-scale Exercises – These complex,