The City of Burlington Exercise “Housewarming”

October 2016

Project Summary

ISR developed and delivered an exercise for the City of Burlington’s Emergency Management Team (EMT). This exercise was provided to both the primary and alternate Emergency Management Team (EMT) over two days and identified key areas for improvement during activations of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). This exercise provided a progressive learning opportunity for the EMT through the combination of theoretical training followed by a Command Post Exercise (CPX) where participants worked through a simulated emergency within their respective role in the EOC. The focus of this exercise was to investigate the responsibilities of the EOC during the recovery phase of an emergency after the initial response has been completed.

Exercise Housewarming was a single day and consisted of two main components: a training session on the basic functions of the Incident Management System and how it works within an EOC, and a Command Post Exercise (CPX) where participants were provided with an opportunity to manage a mock flood scenario. The ISR online exercise tool ExCon.ca was used to deliver the exercise. Simulated Twitter (Chatter) posts provided EMT communications personnel with a contained, realistic experience with responding to public inquiries and general “chatter”. Inject delivery was also tracked on ExCon.ca by controllers in the SimCell.

Data on the flow of communications in the EOC was collected on an online data collection tool using tablets. ISR organized a team of volunteer evaluators to observe exercise play within the various functions in the EOC and capture data on the methods by which staff were communicating with other IMS functions, and the volume that these communications were occurring in. This data was used to develop a visual display indicating the lines of communication that are established between each EOC function, and the volume of these communications.

Following the conduct of the exercise, a group “hot wash” was led by ISR and posed a series of questions to EMT members regarding their experiences during the exercise. This session explored how the exercise engaged each of the IMS functions and their key response priorities. The data collected by the ISR team through various evaluation methods was gathered and put through quantitative analysis to graphically display trends identified in exercise play. This report was developed to provide an overview of the exercise and a discussion on the major findings.

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