UW Emergency Management

Exercise technical assistance

UW Emergency Management can help units, departments, colleges, and schools assist with exercise strategies including exercise objectives, identify a planning team, and the development of an exercise scenario. disaster-drill

This no cost service can also include assistance in formulating planning meetings for exercise development, assistance in facilitating or conducting of your exercise and provide strategies on ways to evaluate your exercise. We can provide expertise in reviewing of your exercise plans and documents. Our goals are to provide exercise support service at no cost for the university to increase our disaster resilience.

For more information, contact:
Barry Morgan
Plans, Training and Exercise Manager

Below is a short list of exercise terminology that is often used.

Exercise Glossary

After-Action Report (AAR)

The AAR summarizes key exercise-related evaluation information, including the exercise overview and analysis of objectives and core capabilities. .

Corrective Action

 Corrective actions are the concrete, actionable steps outlined in an improvement plan that is intended to resolve preparedness gaps and shortcomings experienced in exercises or real-world events.


A drill is a coordinated, supervised activity usually employed to validate a specific operation or function in a single agency or organization. Drills are commonly used to provide training on new equipment, develop or validate new policies or procedures, or practice and maintain current skills.


Evaluators, selected from participating agencies, are chosen based on their expertise in the functional areas they will observe. Evaluators passively assess and document players’ performance against established emergency plans and exercise evaluation criteria, in accordance with HSEEP standards and without interfering with exercise flow.


An exercise is an instrument to train for, assess, practice, and improve performance in prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery capabilities in a risk-free environment. Exercises can be used for testing and validating policies, plans, procedures, training, equipment, and interagency agreements; clarifying and training personnel in roles and responsibilities; improving interagency coordination and communications; improving individual performance; identifying gaps in resources; and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Exercise Planning Team

The exercise planning team is responsible for the successful execution of all aspects of an individual exercise. The planning team determines exercise objectives and core capabilities, creates a realistic scenario to achieve the exercise objectives, and develops documents to guide exercise conduct and evaluation. The planning team’s organization and management principles should include clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a manageable span of control.

Full Scale Exercise

FSEs are typically the most complex and resource-intensive type of exercise. They involve multiple agencies, organizations, and jurisdictions and validate many facets of preparedness. FSEs often include many players operating under cooperative systems such as the Incident Command System or Unified Command.

Functional Exercise

Functional exercises are designed to validate and evaluate capabilities, multiple functions and/or sub-functions, or interdependent groups of functions. FEs are typically focused on exercising plans, policies, procedures, and staff members involved in management, direction, command, and control functions. In FEs, events are projected through an exercise scenario with event updates that drive activity at the management level. An FE is conducted in a realistic, real-time environment; however, movement of personnel and equipment is usually simulated.

Hot Wash

A Hot Wash is a facilitated discussion held immediately after an exercise among exercise players. It captures feedback about any issues, concerns, or proposed improvements players may have about the exercise. The Hot Wash is an opportunity for players to voice their opinions on the exercise and their own performance.


– Objectives are the distinct outcomes an organization wishes to achieve during an individual exercise. Objectives should reflect the exercise sponsor’s specific needs, environment, plans, and procedures, while providing a framework for scenario development and a basis for evaluation. Planners should create objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) and should limit the number of exercise objectives to enable timely exercise conduct, facilitate reasonable scenario design, and support successful evaluation.

Planning Meetings

Effective exercise design and development involve a combination of exercise planning meetings. These meetings bring together the full range of exercise stakeholders to discuss and agree on key aspects of the exercise’s design and development. Various factors—including exercise scope, type, and complexity—inform the types of meetings needed, and exercise planners should tailor the planning meeting schedule to suit the particular nature of the exercise.


Seminars generally orient participants to, or provide an overview of, authorities, strategies, plans, policies, procedures, protocols, resources, concepts, and ideas. As a discussion-based exercise, seminars can be valuable for entities that are developing or making major changes to existing plans or procedures. Seminars can be similarly helpful when attempting to gain awareness of, or assess, the capabilities of interagency or inter-jurisdictional operations.

Simulation Cell

A SimCell is used to generate injects for, receive player responses for, and provide information in place of nonparticipating organizations that would likely participate actively if exercise events were real. Physically, the SimCell is a working location for a number of qualified professionals who portray these nonparticipating organizations.

Tabletop Exercise

A TTX is typically held in an informal setting intended to generate discussion of various issues regarding a hypothetical, simulated emergency. TTXs can be used to enhance general awareness, validate plans and procedures, rehearse concepts, and/or assess the types of systems needed to guide the prevention of, protection from, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from a defined incident. Generally, TTXs are aimed at facilitating conceptual understanding, identifying strengths and areas for improvement, and/or achieving changes in attitudes.


Although similar to seminars, workshops differ in two important aspects: participant interaction is increased, and the focus is placed on achieving or building a product. Effective workshops entail the broadest attendance by relevant stakeholders. Products produced from a workshop can include new standard operating procedures, emergency operations plans, continuity of operations plans, and mutual aid agreements. To be effective, workshops should focus on a specific issue, and the desired objective, product, or goal must be clearly defined.