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What makes an exercise scenario and related injects most effective?

I would like to hear about exercise scenarios that have worked really well; what made it work well? what made it effective? what type of feedback did you receive?

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This subject deserves a book! Or EMI's Master Exercise Officer training!

In most of the non-fire scenarios I've worked on we do Tabletop or some other type of non-deployed exercise, since I work is a 24/7/365 for profit. That said, I don't like to inject too many surprises, just one or two per clock hour (as opposed to exercise hour). These I try to make something that hasn't happened in an earlier exercise or anticipated in the plan.

For example, we have plans and infrastructure to provide water from our wells even if the electricity is out via generators, so we can supply water at all times. In a hurricane exercise, I threw in a broken main, which would have ruined our supply. The CEO ordered the valves to the broken part closed. Unfortunately, only one half of the loop had a valve, so we had to shut down a good section of the main in order to maintain any pressure in the system.

Of course, now we have another valve. That's pretty good feedback.


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