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Types of Exercise

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Types of Exercise

There are five types of Tsunami Exercises:

  1. Type #1: “Orientation” Workshop
    • Simple Orientation Workshop lays the foundation for a comprehensive exercise program.
    • Provides an overview of authorities, strategies, plans, policies, procedures, protocols, resources, and ideas.
    • Brings together organizations (government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector) in developing emergency response planning, problem-solving, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s), and resource integration.
    • The good starting point for jurisdictions that are developing or making major changes to their plans and procedures.
    • Determine exercise objectives, scenarios, evaluation elements, and standards of performance.
  2. Type #2: “Drill”
    • Drills involve the emergency response of single organizations, facilities, or agencies such as a pilot hotel, school, village, etc.
    • Drills involve review and testing of a single operation or function in a single agency (i.e. internal communications and/or field activities).
    • Performance is in isolation and a subset of full-scale exercises.
    • Limited public evacuation may or may not be conducted.
  3. Type #3: “Tabletop Exercise”
    • A “Tabletop” Exercise involves senior and key staff members of many government and non-government organizations, elected or appointed officials, seated in a large room. Informal, slow-paced atmosphere.
    • Used to assess plans, policies, and procedures.
    • An Exercise Controller (moderator) introduces a simulated tsunami scenario to participants via written message, simulated telephone or radio call, or by other means. Exercise problems and activities (injects) are further introduced.
    • Participants will examine, resolve problems, and discuss their actions based on their organization’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s).
    • Participants conduct group discussions, and resolution is generally agreed upon, and then summarized by a group leader.
  4. Type #4: “Functional Exercise”
    • Designed to test and evaluate individual capacities, multiple activities within a function, or interdependent groups of functions among various agencies.
    • Organizations will test their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) using real-time simulation tsunami bulletins.
    • Tests command and control activities at locations such as emergency command centers, command posts, master communications centers, etc.
    • Test Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and internal/external communications with other organizations.
    • May or may not include public evacuations.
  5. Type #5: “Full-Scale Exercise”
    • The climax of a progressive exercise program.
    • Involves multiple layers of government (national, provincial, local)
    • Involves actual field mobilization and deployment of response personnel.
    • All local command centers activated.
    • Test all aspects of emergency response.
    • Demonstrates inter-agency cooperation.
    • Largest, costliest, and most complex exercise type.
    • May or may not include public evacuations.

UNESCO/IOC – NOAA International Tsunami Information Center,,, May 2008