Training and exercise

A company must have a training program for its employees to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to support the company’s emergency management program. This includes training for persons having a role in an emergency (for example, those providing equipment or involved in the incident management system) and competency requirements. This ensures that staff and first responders are trained on all aspects of their roles and responsibilities as identified in the Emergency Procedures Manual.

A company is also required to demonstrate response capabilities. This is tested through exercises such as:

  • Drills: A supervised activity that tests a specific operation or function. Participants gain training on new equipment, test new procedures, practice and maintain skills, and/or prepare for more complex exercises.
  • Tabletop: A group discussion centered on a scenario. Its purpose is to test existing plans, policies, and procedures without incurring the cost associated with deploying resources. It also allows participants to thoroughly work through a problem without feeling as much pressure as they would in an operations-based exercise. Participants identify strengths and shortfalls, enhance understanding of new concepts, and seek to change existing attitudes and perspectives.
  • Functional: An activity designed to evaluate capabilities and multiple functions using simulated response. A functional exercise simulates the deployment of resources and rapid problem solving. Participants evaluate management of the command and co-ordination centres and assess the adequacy of emergency response plans and resources.
  • Full scale (major): A multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional activity involving actual deployment of resources in a co-ordinated response, as if a real emergency had occurred. The full-scale exercise includes the mobilization of units, personnel, and equipment. Participants assess plans and procedures and evaluate co-ordinated responses under emergency conditions.

Exercises can vary in size and complexity and provide an opportunity to:

  • test and improve operational readiness
  • identify planning execution weaknesses
  • identify resource gaps
  • improve inter-agency co-ordination and communications
  • clarify roles and responsibilities
  • evaluate plans, policies, and procedures
  • test equipment
  • demonstrate response capability
  • develop and assess the knowledge and skills of participants for emergencies
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