Having everything prepared does not mean that it all will work well when you need it to. Items become stale and out of date, non-operational or newer better items become available and people get rusty when it comes to skill sets they do not use often. Having people properly trained initially is important; however, more importantly is having a monitoring and maintenance process in place to ensure that perishables are appropriately rotated. Continued training for those trained is important as well as training new people as they take on emergency duties and roles, all people involved should be made aware of the emergency supplies and management processes.
Individuals responsible for various components of the Emergency Response/Business Continuity Plan require initial training and/or orientation to the plan as well as an ongoing refresher prior to the annual exercise. Training needs to occur at multiple different levels, and for multiple streams of EM/BCP involvement, depending on one’s business continuity role and responsibilities.
Orientation training is a general level of training given to all identified community members with little to no BCP role or responsibility.
Functional training is for community members who are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of BCP Recovery Strategies
Operational Training is reserved for the BCP Response Team members. This is specific training oriented towards the specific BCP team the member is associated with (Security Team, Damage Assessment Team, Response Team, Relocation Team, Recovery Team, Exercise Design Team)
EM/BCM Management Training is provided for those employees who will assume an EM/BCP Management role, positions such as the Executive Management, Executive Directors of the community as well as members of the Crisis Management Team, the Duty Officers, the EOC Group and staff. This management group requires additional specific training in Emergency Management such as Basic Emergency Management / Response Management / Business Contiuity Management, EOC, Media and emergency software training courses.
Liaison Training is delivered to employees who will be sent to other Emergency Operation Centres or to alternate work locations to perform liaison functions and report to the EOC.
Strategic Training provides a very high level but comprehensive understanding of the plan, the process, teams, Recovery Strategies and the implications and ramifications of the plan. This training reviews the strategic authority and activation processes. This training is intended for the community’s authority and decision makers.
Media Training is reserved for identified community members with BCP management responsibilities. These members will work closely with the departments’ Communications Branches.
It is important that those charged with emergency roles have hands-on experience with the resources. Exercising not only gives people exposure and experience to the emergency supplies but also provides opportunity to inspect and validate expiry dates and presents a time to update, change or modify the emergency supplies with current appropriate tools.
Exercises can take many shapes, from full blown mock disasters complete with casualties and moulange (make-up) to table-top exercises (paper exercises). Some common exercise are: response, training, validation, equipment functionality test, evacuation, fire drills, first aid and notification. All of these are functional exercises designed to meet your community; specific needs and to allow for your community members the opportunity to ‘dry-run’ their assigned emergency roles and responsibilities, become familiar with the tools and skills required, build relationships and trust and to give them the feel of what it could be like during an event.
The Community’s approved Recovery Strategies should be exercised to validate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the strategy. By exercising the strategies, the individuals responsible to effect the strategy get practice and processes, logistics and infrastructures are confirmed.
After any exercise, the results should be analysed and compared to what was written in the plan/ strategy and verified that the plan/strategy worked as written or if responded to differently which would be the best approach… the exercise response or the written plan/strategy. The conclusion will be either a re-write of the plan or the strategy which will require re-validation of the new training.
Plan Validation Exercises
Upon the Emergency Response and/or Business Continuity Plan’s approval, a validation exercise should be developed, executed and evaluated by internal and external evaluators and observers within a reasonable time frame.
This exercise can be in the form of an all inclusive design or conducted in components. Each section of the plan needs to be evaluated for appropriateness, completeness, process, resourcing and training requirements. A formal de-briefing process needs to be convened in a timely manner post exercise and documented lessons observed are to be documented in a full comprehensive exercise report including recommendations that will be submitted to the HEMC Steering Committee for approval and implementation.
At a minimum, Plans should be required to undergo a formal annual review. A formal review should also take place after any large scale exercise or any activation of this business continuity plan. The annual review should include as much of the business continuity plan components as possible and involve as many stakeholders is as appropriate and achievable.
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