A New Year = New Training Goals
A new training, exercising and planning model was unleashed across the state this past year. The aim was to delve deeper into jurisdictions and assist them in building and prioritizing capabilities through a series of facilitated workshops. The goal was to support regional and local creation of tailored and more impactful exercises that would ultimately lead to a more prepared community.
Over a six month timeframe, the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Preparedness Section, which includes employees from its Training, Exercise and Plans Units, surveyed representatives from the state’s seven Regions and hosted an Improvement Planning Workshop (IPW) and a Training and Exercise Planning Workshop (TEPW) in each Region, including one at the state level. These workshops followed the model developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
TDEM Chief Nim Kidd noted: “The intent of this new model is to synchronize and coordinate training and exercise opportunities to reduce duplication of effort, collectively review strategies and develop a plan to increase preparedness through targeted training and exercises.”
Various stakeholders in each Region took part in an IPW predominately via an online survey. TDEM used the survey to collect input about a Region’s preparedness strengths and solicit priorities on critical areas of improvement. Once the survey data had been collected and analyzed, TDEM staff scheduled a TEPW in the Region with its stakeholders to review the survey results. The TEPW provided an opportunity for many of the Region’s stakeholders to meet face-to-face and not only discuss the results of their IPW, but begin to plan future exercises to strengthen core areas. The TEPWs provided an opportunity for jurisdictions within a Region to consider how they could help enhance their respective exercises by sharing resources and, when appropriate, even synchronize their exercises to gain maximum results and eliminate duplication of efforts.
“The overall goal of these workshops is for each agency and community to have a better understanding of what it means to sustain what they do and their preparedness level, and to know what they need to achieve that in order to respond at a greater level,” said James Kelley, TDEM’s State Exercise Officer.
Per state and federal guidelines, Kelley is required to conduct yearly workshops and create a training and exercise plan. Since few agencies and communities have escaped the effects of funding cuts, Kelley notes there is a greater need for these entities to weigh risk and resources, and evaluate how they could capitalize on sharing resources to assist in a greater response.
Click on the following links to learn more information about TDEM’s Training and Exercise Planning Workshops and other preparedness information.