North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas

Tsunami Information Centre

Types of exercises

There are five different types of exercise. Each of these types of exercise (ranging from simple to complex) can be used at the national, provincial or local level in Tsunami Wave exercises, depending on which functions require exercising.

  1. Orientation Exercise (Seminar): An Orientation Exercise lays the groundwork for a comprehensive exercise program. It is a planned event, developed to bring together individuals and officials with a role or interest in multi-hazard response planning, problem solving, development of standard operational procedures (SOPs), and resource integration and coordination. An Orientation Exercise will have a specific goal and written objectives and result in an agreed upon Plan of Action.
  2. Drill: The Drill is a planned activity that tests, develops, and/or maintains skills in a single or limited emergency response procedure. Drills generally involve operational response of single departments or agencies such as educational and health facilities. Drills can involve internal notifications and/or field activities.
  3. Tabletop Exercise: The Tabletop Exercise is a planned activity in which local officials, key staff, and organizations with disaster management responsibilities are presented with simulated emergency situations. It is usually informal, in a conference room environment, and is designed to elicit constructive discussion from the participants. Participants will examine and attempt to resolve problems, based on plans and procedures, if they exist. Individuals are encouraged to discuss decisions in depth with emphasis on slow-paced problem solving, rather than rapid, real time decisionmaking. A Tabletop Exercise should have specific goals, objectives, and a scenario narrative
  4. Functional Exercise: A Functional Exercise is a planned activity designed to test and evaluate organizational capacities. It is also utilized to evaluate the capability of a community’s emergency management system by testing the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). It is based on a simulation of a realistic emergency situation that includes a description of the situation (narrative) with communications between players and simulators. The Functional Exercise gives the players (decision-makers) a fully simulated experience of being in a major disaster event. It should take place at the appropriate coordination location (i.e. emergency operations centre, emergency command centre, command post, master control centre, etc.) and activate all the appropriate members designated by the plan. Both internal and external agencies (government, private sector, and volunteer agencies) should be involved. It requires players, controllers, simulators, and evaluators. Message traffic will be simulated and inserted by the control team for player response/actions, under real time constraints. It may or may not include public evacuations. A Functional Exercise should have specific goals, objectives, and a scenario narrative.
  5. Full-scale Exercise: A Full-scale Exercise is the culmination of a progressive exercise program that has grown with the capacity of the community to conduct exercises. A Full-Scale exercise is a planned activity in a “challenging” environment that encompasses a majority of the emergency management functions. This type of exercise involves the actual mobilization and deployment of the appropriate personnel and resources needed to demonstrate operational capabilities. EOCs and other command centres are required to be activated. A Full-scale Exercise is the largest, costliest, and most complex exercise type. It may or may not include public evacuations.

Source : UNESCO/IOC Technical Series.