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The MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management
Disaster Central
MCNY's Emergency and Disaster Management Blog

Students Facilitate Successful Tabletop Exercise

April 7, 2014

By: Obiano Huntley

Tabletop Excercise

On March 29th, 2014, Purpose 4 students in the Emergency and Disaster Program got a chance to apply some of the knowledge they have acquired during their time at MCNY. This came in the form of a Tabletop Exercise which involved students from other purposes contributing. The exercise was the culmination on a lot of hard work which centered on drafting documents, planning and executing, to ensure that the exercise was seamless. The hard work and attention to detail resulted in a successful exercise which left fellow students and professors very impressed.

For nearly a year, the students who facilitated the Tabletop Exercise were working on preparing a Fire Safety and Emergency Action Plan (FS/EAP), along with a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan for Resorts World Casino NYC. Though prevented from using Resorts World Casino as the site in this Tabletop Exercise, the scenario which was used incorporated many elements and approaches included in the final products for this client. Situation Manuals were presented to participants to bring them up to speed with the scenario. It was assumed that a bomb threat call was made to a fictional casino. Participants listened to a recording prepared by the Purpose 4 students.  Based on information the Facilitator presented in a seminar, Students from Purpose 2 and Purpose 3, who acted in leadership roles for the casino, had to listen to the recording and gather information to fill out a Bomb Threat Information Card.

Tabletop Excercise 2

The same approach was used in the second portion of the Tabletop Exercise which focused on activating the COOP plan. Players discussed and deliberated along the lines set by the Facilitator. Maintaining critical functions, relocating to an alternate facility and steps involved in activating a COOP plan were all covered. Students in attendance were very engaged and found that the exercise made them consider aspects of response they would not have considered under different circumstances. Professor Matthew Khaled who is serving as the Constructive Action (CA) professor for the Purpose 4 students, along with Director Ali Gheith who served as the Exercise Director played important roles in making the exercise achieve its objectives. Their input and insights were invaluable and contributed to making the experience dynamic and interesting for all who were in attendancStudents from the lower purposes actively participated as Players and Evaluator and benefited immensely. When their time comes, the meticulous approach used by the present crop of Purpose 4 students is one they promised to emulate. Drafting the After Action Report (AAR) is next on the agenda for the Purpose Four Students as the lessons learned can be passed on to other students to ensure that exercises of this nature can continue to get better.

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