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The difference between a tabletop exercise, a drill, a functional exercise, and a full-scale exercises

The difference between a tabletop exercise, a drill, a functional exercise, and a full-scale exercises

According to the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP), there are seven types of exercises, each of which is either discussion-based or operations-based.

Discussion-based exercises familiarize participants with current plans, policies, agreements, and procedures, or may be used to develop new plans, policies, agreements, and procedures. Types of discussion-based exercises include:

  • Tabletop Exercise (TTX): A tabletop exercise involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting. TTXs can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures.
  • Games: A game is a simulation of operations that often involves two or more teams, usually in a competitive environment, using rules, data, and procedure designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation.
  • Operations-based Exercises validate plans, policies, agreements, and procedures, clarify roles and responsibilities, and identify resource gaps in an operational environment. Types of operations-based Exercises include:
  • Drill: A drill is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to test a single, specific operation or function within a single entity (e.g., a fire department conducts a decontamination drill).
  • Functional Exercise (FE): A functional exercise examines and/or validates the coordination, command, and control between various multi-agency coordination centers (e.g., emergency operation center, joint field office, etc.). A functional exercise does not involve any “boots on the ground” (i.e., first responders or emergency officials responding to an incident in real time).
  • Full-Scale Exercises (FSE): A full-scale exercise is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional, multi-discipline exercise involving functional (e.g., joint field office, emergency operation centers, etc.) and “boots on the ground” response (e.g., firefighters decontaminating mock victims).
  • Seminar: A seminar is an informal discussion, designed to orient participants to new or updated plans, policies, or procedures (e.g., a seminar to review a new Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure).
  • Workshop: A workshop resembles a seminar, but is employed to build specific products, such as a draft plan or policy (e.g., a Training and Exercise Plan Workshop is used to develop a Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan).

At Connect Partners, we work to determine the best exercise for your business and how to execute it. To learn more about tabletop exercises and how they can help your business, read our related blog post here, or proceed on finding the best solution for your business by contacting us today.

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