About the Exercise & Training Program
The purpose of the Exercise & Training Program is to provide program policy and guidance that is consistent with the Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program (HSEEP), the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the Public Health and Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities.
Exercises allow personnel, from first responders to senior officials, to validate training and practice strategic and tactical prevention, protection, response, and recovery capabilities in a risk-reduced environment. Exercises are the primary tool for assessing preparedness and identifying areas for improvement, while demonstrating community resolve to prepare for major incidents. Exercises aim to help entities within the community gain objective assessments of their capabilities so that gaps, deficiencies, and vulnerabilities are addressed prior to a real incident.
Well-designed and well-executed exercises are the most effective means of:
- Assessing and validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, assumptions, and interagency agreements;
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities;
- Improving interagency coordination and communications;
- Identifying gaps in resources;
- Measuring performance; and
- Identifying opportunities for improvement.
(Source: Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program Volume I: HSEEP Overview and Exercise Program Management)
Training provides a knowledge base and continuing education for personnel with direct roles in emergency preparedness and response. Standardized NIMS training courses – together with courses focused on discipline-specific and agency-specific expertise – help to ensure that personnel can function together effectively during an incident.
The Bureau of Community Health Systems (BCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Public Health and Hospital Preparedness Regions in Kansas have provided tools for local health departments, hospitals, and other partners for developing and implementing exercises to fulfill preparedness grant requirements.