Public Health Emergency Exercise Toolkit

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The Public Health Emergency Exercise Toolkit was developed by the Columbia University School of Nursing to guide local public health agency staff in conducting emergency drills and exercises. The overarching goals of the toolkit are to aid local public health planners in 1) developing, implementing, and evaluating emergency drills and exercises, and 2) facilitating the public health aspects of larger, multiagency emergency exercises. The information provided in this document acknowledges the approaches recommended by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Domestic Preparedness and by the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

The toolkit contains a variety of information on state and local responsibilities during exercise cycles, types of emergency exercises, the planning process, scenario and evaluation development, exercise briefing, and guidelines for conducting the exercise. The majority of the guidance is composed of numerous tools and templates, including: an exercise flowchart; criteria for local public health agency drills and agencies; national planning scenarios; planning checklists and templates; job action sheets; data collection and evaluation forms; data collector observation logs; role evaluation checklists; station and actor throughput timesheets; participant feedback forms; debriefing and after-action report templates; and tracking improvement checklists. Examples supplement many of the tools for clarity and ease of use.

The toolkit provides several samples that may be useful for local public health agencies, especially if staff is relatively new to exercise planning and evaluation. Sample documents include: an exercise scenario; a full-scale exercise playbook; tabletop exercise schedules; and tabletop facilitator guidance, questions, and problem statements. The comprehensiveness, ease of use, and consistency with federal guidelines of this toolkit may provide local public health staff with the concrete tools to enhance preparedness for any emergency.

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