Unit 7 The Full-Scale Exercise

By Christina Owens,2014-05-07 17:59
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Unit 7 The Full-Scale Exercise

Unit 7: The Full-Scale



    This unit focuses on the full-scale exercise. We will look closely at the

     characteristics of the full-scale exercise?how it differs from the other

    types of exercises, who participates, the role of the EOC, and key design

    considerations. At the end of the unit, you will develop an action plan for

    later use in designing a full-scale exercise for your organization.

     Unit 7 Objectives

     After completing this unit, you should be able to:

    ? Describe the purpose and characteristics of a full-scale exercise.

    ? Explain how designing a full-scale exercise differs from designing a

    functional exercise.

    ? Identify planning considerations for site selection and scene

    management for a full-scale exercise.

    Exercise Design Page 7.1

     What Is a Full-Scale Exercise?

     A full-scale exercise is as close to the real thing as possible. It is a lengthy

    exercise which takes place on location, using?as far as possible?the equipment

    and personnel that would be called upon in a real event.

    In a sense, a full-scale exercise combines the interactivity of the functional

    exercise with a field element. It differs from a drill in that a drill focuses on a

    single operation and exercises only one organization.

    Eventually, every emergency response organization must hold a full-scale

    exercise because it is necessary at some point to test capabilities in an

    environment as near to the real one as possible.

    However, there is more to a full-scale exercise than just practice in the field. As

    we discussed in Unit 1, various regulatory agencies have requirements for full-

    scale exercises which must be satisfied. In order to receive FEMA credit, for

    example, a full-scale exercise must fulfill three requirements:

    ? It must exercise most functions.

    ? It must coordinate the efforts of several agencies.

    ? In order to achieve full coordination, the EOC must be activated.

    Exercise Design Page 7.2

    Activity: Know Your Regulatory Requirements Activity

     Answer the following questions about your own organization. If you are not

    sure of the answer, this question may require some research. You are

    encouraged to find the answers now, before continuing with the unit.

    Understanding your organization’s requirements will provide an important

    foundation for the concepts covered in this unit.

    1. What agencies or groups impose exercise requirements or guidelines

    on your organization?

    2. What do they require concerning full-scale exercises? (Consider

    scope, frequency, numbers of organizations involved, coordination,

    communication, documentation, evaluation, or other issues.)

    Exercise Design Page 7.3

     What Is a Full-Scale Exercise? (Continued)

     Key Characteristics

The key characteristics of full-scale exercises were discussed in Unit 2. Below is

    a brief summary of the main points.

    Key Characteristics

     ? Interactive exercise, designed to challenge the entire emergency

    management system in a highly realistic and stressful environment.

    ? Tests and evaluates most functions of the emergency management

    plan or operational plan.

    ? Takes place in an EOC or other operating center and at field sites.

    ? Achieves realism through:

    ? On-scene actions and decisions.

    ? Simulated “victims.”

    ? Search and rescue requirements.

    ? Communication devices.

    ? Equipment deployment.

    ? Actual resource and personnel allocation.

    ? Involves controller(s), players, simulators (different from simulators

    in a functional exercise), and evaluators.

    ? Players represent all levels of personnel, including response


    ? Messages may be visual (e.g., staged scenes, made-up victims, props)

    and scripted.

    ? All decisions and actions by players occur in real time and generate

    real responses and consequences from other players.

    ? Requires significant investment of time, effort, and resources (1 to 1?

    years to develop a complete exercise package). Attention to detail is


    Exercise Design Page 7.4

     What Is a Full-Scale Exercise? (Continued)

     The Purpose of Full-Scale Exercises

    There are numerous reasons for conducting a full-scale exercise. A full-scale exercise:

    ? Greatly expands the scope and visibility of the exercise program.

? If well-planned, can attract public attention and raise credibility.

    (However, to be successful, it must be the culmination of a

    comprehensive and progressive exercise program that has been

    developed as the organizational capacity has grown.)

? Is useful to test total coordination, not only among policy and

    coordination officials, but among field forces. At the same time, it can

    test interorganizational coordination.

? Enables a jurisdiction or emergency management system to evaluate its

    ability to perform many functions at once.

    ? Can pinpoint resource and personnel capabilities and reveal shortfalls.

     What Does It Take to Run a Full-Scale Exercise?

    Some people wrongly believe that, once started, a full-scale exercise can run on its own steam. In fact, a full-scale exercise requires a substantial

    commitment of time, money, personnel, and expertise and should not be

    undertaken without the necessary preparation. These are the most

    important requirements:

? Substantial experience with preparatory exercises of various

    kinds?drills, tabletops, and functional exercises.

    ? Total commitment of all emergency service organizations.

    ? Support from the chief elected and/or appointed officials.

    ? Adequate physical facilities, including space for the EOC and field

    command posts.

    ? Adequate communication facilities (e.g., radios and telephones).

? Plans in place to handle costs (both evident and hidden), labor, time

    commitment, etc.

    Exercise Design Page 7.5

? Carefully thought out and planned site and logistics.

Exercise Design Page 7.6

    Activity: Compare Functional and Full-Scale Exercises Activity

     In the following table, compare functional and full-scale exercises by writing a

    brief description in each of the cells.

     Functional Full-Scale

     Degree of Realism



     Who Takes Part

     Who Leads

     Where Held

     Equipment Deployed

     Test Coordination

     Test Adequacy of Resources

     Test Decision-Making Process

     Relative Complexity/Cost

     Formal Evaluation

    Exercise Design Page 7.7

Activity: Compare Functional and Full-Scale Exercises (Continued)

    Suggested Answers:

     Functional Full-Scale

    As realistic as possible without As realistic as possible; resources Degree of Realism

    deploying resources deployed

    Interactive; simulators deliver Interactive; simulators play roles at Format/Structure

    “problem messages,” players the scene, players respond

    respond in real time

    Tense, stressful Highly tense, stressful Atmosphere

    Controller players (policy, Controller(s), players (all levels), Who Takes Part

    coordination, operations), simulators, evaluators

    simulators, evaluators

    Controller Controller(s) Who Leads

    EOC or other operations center EOC and field site(s) Where Held

    No Yes Equipment Deployed

    Yes Yes Test Coordination

    Yes Yes Test Adequacy of Resources

    Yes Yes Test Decision-Making Process

    Large scale; complex format; Very large scale; highly complex; Relative Complexity/Cost

    moderate cost high cost

    Yes Yes Formal Evaluation

    Exercise Design Page 7.8

    Full-Scale Exercise Roles

     Full-scale exercises involve one or more controllers, the participants, simulators,

    evaluators, and a safety officer.


    One or more controllers manage the exercise. In some exercises, where

    there are multiple sites or organizations, there may be more than one

    controller. In this case, all of the controllers cooperate under the direction

    of a chief controller.

    The controller (or chief controller) is responsible for ensuring that the exercise

    starts on schedule. The controller also designates an exercise control point from

    which all communications should be monitored.


    A full-scale exercise involves all levels of personnel, including:

    ? Policy makersthose who are responsible for making broad policy

    decisions. They might include the chief executive and his or her staff,

    the Public Information Officer, the emergency manager, key

    department heads, and other elected officials.

    ? Coordination personnelpeople from various departments who

    coordinate decisions of policy makers and make plans for resources.

    ? Operations personnelthose who carry out the directives.

    Sometimes coordination and operations are the same.

    ? Field personnelfire, police, EMS, search and rescue, volunteer

    groups, representatives of private enterprises who participate in the

    response, and many others.

    Exercise Design Page 7.9

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