Creating a crisis management simulation exercise for your company for the first time can be a daunting task that requires time and resources.
When preparing these sessions it is important to understand what resources exist to assist with the successful planning and delivery of the event. Here are three resources that might help you create an engaging and cost-effective simulation exercise:
To create an internal exercise on a limited budget and without searching far afield for resources, look no further than your own organization. Within most organizations there is usually a wealth of experienced personnel who throughout their careers have participated or facilitated tabletop or other types of simulation exercises. First, and depending on the make-up of your organization, comb the obvious locations for those individuals that may be able to help: public relations / communications, operational departments especially EHS (Environment Health and Safety) as well as legal and security departments might have personnel with the experience. Moreover, you might already be working with personnel from different areas of your organization that can contribute in your efforts to create a meaningful and engaging exercise. The knowledge and experience probably exists within your enterprise, you just need to find it and harvest it.
Creating an impactful exercise from the ground up can be a daunting task for someone who’s new to the exercise design process. Another and often untapped means of knowledge and expertise is to be found externally with partners, vendors and other key stakeholders. Involving these partners in the exercise will help you gain a lot of knowledge in putting exercises together, and just as importantly it will help build trust with the partners you work with while you go through the process of developing and conducting the exercise. External stakeholders that are critical to your business should want to participate and support your exercise efforts. It is really important that you try to involve those critical vendors in exercises so you understand how you both are going to perform during an incident. You’ll both learn a lot throughout the whole design, delivery and after-action review process.
3. DIY (Do It Yourself)
If internal and external stakeholder resources are limited, there might be information and tools that your national government offers as well as third-party service providers like PreparedEx. Some governments often provide training, exercise design process, as well as other resources to help deliver tabletop and other types of exercises. These resources are often tailored for government agencies but the basic principles and processes can be mapped to a corporate exercise. For example, here in the US, there is a lot of information and tools on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s HSEEP (Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program) website. Researching the HSEEP website for the first time can be intimidating for someone planning their first corporate exercise. A simple corporate simulation exercise might not require all the detail that goes into a government exercise and therefore some of these resources, although good, can be too much for a first time exercise planner.
Here are some resources:
UK Government – Cabinet Office – https://www.gov.uk/emergency-planning-and-preparedness-exercises-and-training
US FEMA – HSEEP – https://www.fema.gov/hseep
Canada – Public Safety Canada – http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/mrgnc-mngmnt/mrgnc-prprdnss/ntnl-xrcs-prgrm-eng.aspx