Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

Federal Emergency Management Agency Logo (ca 2007)
illustration by

Emergency Preparedness
When I was trying to determine a name for this blog, I didn't want to go with something trendy, such as 'The Prepper Blog,' 'Getting Started in Survivalism,' or 'Surviving the Coming (The Threat Du Jour).' I wanted something professional.

So, ... Ten years ago, I picked 'Getting Started in Emergency Preparedness' because Emergency Preparedness is a real profession.

That's Right!

You or a loved one can attend college, find a position at the federal, state, or local level, and get paid big bucks as an emergency preparedness professional. Now, sometimes you may be a police officer or a firefighter, at the local level, but you're still a professional. Heck, there is a federal agency (You may have heard of them) called F.E.M.A., the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Needless to say, ...

You're probably wondering why I am mentioning this little tidbit to you.

There are about six or seven types of exercises, depending on who you ask. According to the CHA Hospital Preparedness Program, there are seven while FEMA lists six types of exercises.

O.K. You're still probably wondering, so let me explain.

Exercises allow you and your family to...

* Evaluate the preparedness program

* Identify planning and procedural deficiencies

* Test or validate recently changed procedures or plans

* Clarify roles and responsibilities

* Obtain participant feedback and recommendations for program improvement

* Measure improvement compared to performance objectives

* Improve coordination between internal and external teams, organizations and entities

* Validate training and education

* Increase awareness and understanding of hazards and the potential impacts of hazards.

* Assess the capabilities of existing resources and identify needed resources

In other words, ... Exercises allow you, your partner, and your family to evaluate your preps, identify weakness in your preps, test your preps, make sure family members know what they are supposed to do, get suggestions and recommendations from your family, tell your family where they are at in their journey of preparedness, coordinate with your team (friends, family and trusted coworkers) make sure your family is learning and practicing their skills, teach your family about possible threats, and tell your family whether they really need a new piece of equipment or stay with what you got.

Types of Exercises
Like I said, depending on who you ask 'What are the different exercise types in Emergency Preparedness?' will determine whether they list five, six, seven, or possibly eight exercise types.

Since you asked me, ...

The National Fire Academy holds a table-top emergency preparedness exercise
with firefighters from across the country
simulating a structure fire and other emergency situations in a mock city
ca. 2003
photograph by
Jocelyn Augustino

Paper or Discussion
These are the exercise where you, your family, and your team talk about your plans, usually it's a one-way talk like a class.

In these exercises, you or your partner familiarize or teach your family the plans or any changes to a family plan. It could be as simple as when you teach your children how to quickly evacuate for a house fire or what the adults are going to do when they have to quickly pick up any children from school.

A hazardous materials specialist with the Oakland Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 4
gives members of the California National Guard’s Homeland Response Force
an update during Operation Dark Horse (ca. 2015)
photograph by
Sgt. Brianne Roudebush

These types of exercises are when you, your family, and your team actually go through a plan. An operational exercise can be a tabletop exercise, a functional exercise, and a full-scale exercise.

For tabletop exercises, people sit around and talk about what they are going to do for a specific event.

You know what I'm talking about....

You're watching The Walking Dead with your partner and she says, ... If some zombie comes stumbling through the sliding glass door, I'm going to grab the shotgun and shot their head off then grab the sheets of plywood and nails from the the barn and board up all the windows and glass doors in the house. Your eldest daughter chimes in with, ... I'll get the shovel and broom then sweep and shovel the body parts out the door into a trash can while Mom starts fortifying the house. Your eldest son says, ... I'll round up all the younger kids and get them upstairs, grab the .22 LR pistol with five magazines from the ready gun locker then come back downstairs to pull security for everyone, and so on.

That's a tabletop exercise

For functional exercises, small groups go out and actually complete a task or a series of task, just like they would during an event.

You know, ...

When you go camping and you have your older children build a fire as they prepare dinner using food items from your emergency evacuation kit+, while they wait for the fire to burn down to coals so they can cook dinner then clean up the dishes, properly dispose of any food waste, and return everything to its proper place (just like you would, in case you and your family had to quickly leave an area)

These exercises are when the whole team works under simulated events using the tools, equipment, and people that they would for a real event.

Like that time, one winter weekend, you and your partner turned off the electricity to the house, so you and your family could practice what they would do during a winter power outage.

I know, I know, ... You're still trying to figure out what my choice of blog names has to do with you and your family's preps.

You'll have to wait because I'm going to go read Yer Ol' Woodpile Report ; - )

FEMA: - Exercises

California Hospital Association Hospital Preparedness Program - Types of Exercises

Provider Magazine - Three Types of Emergency Preparedness Drills

Centers for Disease Control - Planning Exercise

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