Using your plan as a guide, here are
some considerations for each scenario:
u How is the disaster management plan
activated? By whom?
u How is the team notified?
u Who else needs to be notified? By whom?
u Who are the members of the team?
u Are the checklists of responsibilities realistic?
u What is the communication protocol?
u Who is the organization’s spokesperson?
u Should the building be evacuated? Shelter-
u Who has all the building keys?
u Who will act as the scribe for the exercise?
u Who is taking the lead on compiling all
individual notes from the exercise?
u Following the hot wash, who will complete
the After Action Report (AAR)?
Effective facilitation is critical to keeping participants focused on exercise objectives. The facilitator may ask about the
decisions made, including how a decision
was reached or what implications a decision might have. The exercise ends either
when all actions have been discussed or
when the time limit is reached. Participant
learning is reinforced, and feedback is
provided through the hot wash immediately following the conclusion of the drill.
While the drill is being conducted, the
scribe will take responsibility for documenting the items that were effective as
well as any inefficiencies in the plan and
identify the gaps.
Outcomes of the
When the tabletop exercise is com-
plete, you should conduct the hot wash.
The scribe will share his or her observa-
tions with the entire team. Your team
should finish these sentences and use the
responses as a follow-up:
We should keep doing…
We should stop doing…
We should start doing…
Using those answers, you can go back
to your emergency response plan and fill
in any gaps, add new developments, and
revise and remove anything that is now old
or outdated. The scribe will use the feed-
back to complete the AAR, noting obser-
vations and listing recommendations that
were discussed for improvement. Without
testing, you won’t know if your plan will
work, and you won’t know if employees
will know what to do. The better prepared
your facility and staff are, the more resil-
ient you will be, making the recovery
process that much smoother. Using the
information from the AAR, a single point
person or a committee should make the
recommended updates to your plan and
share the revised plan with all emergency
response team members. Remember, once
the AAR is written and filed away, your
team should continue to review key details
of the plan throughout the year to keep a
Vivian Marinelli, Psy.D., is the senior
director of crisis management services for
FEI Behavioral Health. Marinelli holds a
doctorate degree in clinical psychology and
is a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin. She
brings more than 20 years of work in direct clinical services
specializing in trauma and grief counseling to her position
which focuses on assisting individuals involved in critical
incidents. Marinelli has provided support to the families
and individuals directly impacted by many mass casualty
disasters including Egypt Air 990, Saudi Arabian Flight 115
hijacking, Air Transat Flight 236, Colgan Air Flight 3407,
UPS Flight 6, 9/11 terrorist attacks, bombings in Islamabad
and Jakarta, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Superstorm
Sandy, Boston Marathon bombings, Sikh Temple shooting,
and cyberattacks for two clients. With all of these events,
the assessment of individual status and current needs has
been critical in order to provide “psychological first-aid”
which provides the foundation for recovery. FEI Behavioral
Health offers flexible solutions for the full spectrum of
workforce resilience goals, from EAP and wellness to crisis
preparedness and management. Partnering with a wide
range of corporations, government entities and non-profits,
FEI is a social enterprise wholly owned by the Alliance for
Strong Families and Communities, a national network of
more than 450 high-impact human-serving organizations.
Visit www.feinet.com for additional information.