SAMPLE:  Full Exercise Checklist

 Agree upon the scenario, extent and aim of the exercise with senior management.

 Assemble a multi-disciplinary exercise planning team and agree on the objectives for each area to be exercised.

 Sketch out and then develop the main events of the exercise and associated timetables.

 Determine and confirm the availability of outside organizations to be involved, such as the media or voluntary agencies.

 List the facilities required for the exercise and confirm their availability e.g. transportation, buildings and equipment

 Ensure that all communications to be used during the exercise have been tested, and in the locations in which they will be used as near to the date of the exercise as possible.

 Check that evaluators for each stage of the exercise are clearly identified and properly briefed.

 Ensure that directing staff are clearly identified and properly briefed, and have good independent communications with 'exercise control' throughout the exercise.

 If the exercise links a number of activities or functions which are dependent on each other, confirm that each has been individually tested beforehand.

 Ensure that all participants have been briefed.

 Ensure that all participants are aware of the procedures to be followed if a real emergency occurs during the exercise.

 If observers are to be invited, including the media, ensure that they are clearly identified and properly looked after, and arrange for them to be kept informed of the progress of the exercise. Ensure their safety.

 If necessary, such as for a longer exercise, arrange catering and toilet facilities.

 Ensure that where appropriate outside agencies are indemnified in the event of exercise accident.

SAMPLE:  Exercise Checklist continued

 Warn the local media, emergency services switchboards/controls and any neighbours who might be worried or affected by the exercise. Position "Exercise in Progress" signs if appropriate.

 Ensure that senior management, controllers and evaluators, and key participants are aware of the time and location for the “hot-wash”, and circulate a timetable for a full debrief.

 Agree upon and prepare a detailed set of recommendations, each one accompanied by an action addressee and timescale.

 Prepare a clear and concise summary report of the exercise to distribute to all organizations and groups which took part, together with major recommendations.

 Discuss with senior management the outcome of the exercise and agree the future exercise program.

 Thank all personnel and outside agencies which took part.


SAMPLE: Guidelines for Briefing Exercise Participants

These Guidelines can help you prepare for a pre-exercise briefing by adapting them for their own use.  You need to include additional points relevant only to your organization and personnel.

It’s essential that all persons who will or could take part in an exercise are fully briefed. Failure to do so could lead to the possibility of litigation should someone who has taken part in the exercise suffer physical or mental injury, citing poor advanced preparation by the organizers as a contributory factor.

Your briefing must be fairly close to the exercise date (i.e. not more than one month beforehand). The degree to which participants are briefed will vary according to the type of exercise being held.  For example, it’s unlikely that the same depth of briefing will be required for a table top exercise as for a live exercise.

Essential Briefing Points

A verbal and written list of all participants in the exercise should be presented at the beginning of the briefing. You’ll want to include the following in your main briefing:

The exercise will take place between the following dates _________________and/or the following times __________/_____________. The approximate duration of the exercise is_____________________

The exercise code name is ___________ (e.g. "Exercise Canada Prepare"). The exercise code name should be used as a prefix on all written, radio, TV, and telephone messages relating to the exercise.

This is/is not a multi-organizational exercise. The other organizations involved are ___________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________.

The exercise scenario will/will not involve the following:

  1. Simulated casualties
  2. Hazardous substances
  3. Simulated hazardous substances
  4. Simulated fire/ smoke
  5. Flood

SAMPLE: Guidelines For Briefing Exercise Participants continued…..

A Safety Officer will be present, identified by _________________________

Exercise directors will be present, identified by ______________________

Exercise observers will/will not be present identified by _______________

Any concerns regarding personal health and safety or the health and safety of others during the exercise should be drawn to the attention of the safety officer or an exercise director immediately. An assessment will then be made as to whether the exercise can continue.

If a genuine injury is sustained (as opposed to a simulated injury), use and repeat the code word "_______________________" to attract attention - under no circumstances should these words be used by role playing casualties.

Notification of exercise suspension/abandonment / completion will be given by ______________________ (e.g. code words or audible signals.)

****A health and safety risk assessment has been undertaken and your attention is drawn to the following (if applicable):

  • Protective clothing/equipment required, over and above standard issue
  • Areas of the site which are prohibited
  • Physical hazards on site _______________ (sharp points, trip hazards etc.)

All participants in the briefing now have the opportunity to raise questions relevant to health and safety.

Any participants who wish to raise concerns about their personal health and safety or to pose questions relevant to health and safety after this briefing but before the exercise should see ______________________ or their manager.

Will all participants ensure that they have signed the briefing attendance sheet which will be kept on record?

(***) A "health and safety risk assessment" of the planned exercise is essential good practice. The method to undertake this should be an early consideration of the Exercise Planning Group. Each participating organization must assess whether there is a the need for an individual assessment or whether one organization (e.g. the Fire Department along with the site owners) should undertake the risk assessment and share information with other participating organizations.

SAMPLE: Checklist - Evaluation Team Tasks

 Participate in the exercise design team (lead evaluator).

 Analyze and assess the exercise plan to determine an appropriate evaluation strategy (locations of evaluation, number of evaluations required, roles and responsibilities, etc.).

 Develop and disseminate the exercise evaluation plan.

 Establish evaluator communications systems and information support mechanisms.

 Design and develop the evaluation organization and chain of command.

 Define the roles and responsibilities of the exercise evaluation team, including evaluation team chiefs and evaluators.

 Develop policies, guidelines, and procedures for implementing the exercise evaluation plan.

 Develop the administrative and logistic systems needed for reporting, problem resolution, and safety and site preparation for participating organizations and evaluation organizations.

SAMPLE: Checklist – Control/Simulation Plan

Your Control/Simulation plan should include, but not be limited to the following:

 Exercise control and simulation activity management.

 Provisions for controller/simulator training and briefing.

 Procedures for monitoring and reporting of exercise activities to include the flow and pace of the exercise.

 Procedures to track the accomplishment of exercise objectives.

 Procedures to record the responses of players.

 Procedures for message injections, including the development of ad hoc messages to support exercise objectives.

 A list of required exercise forms to include instructions for use and preparation.

 Preparation for the critique.

SAMPLE: Exercise Timeline


Year (Year in Cycle)

Qtr 1

Qtr 2

Qtr 3

Qtr 4













SAMPLE: Checklist – Lead Evaluator Tasks

 Determine the qualifications and experience level of evaluators needed and identify avenues for obtaining them.

 Design and develop training for the exercise evaluators.

 Develop procedures for debriefing of players and exercise evaluation team.

 During the exercise, manage and coordinate activities of the exercise evaluator team to ensure that exercise play achieves exercise objectives.

 Monitor exercise progress and make decisions regarding any deviations or significant changes to the scenario caused by unexpected developments in the course of play.

 Coordinate any required modifications to the Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) and supporting event implementers with the appropriate exercise evaluators.

 Conduct debriefing of exercise evaluation team.

 Provide observations for input to the exercise evaluation using the key player observation and comment form.

 Complete routine reports to log exercise events and any special reports, as necessary.

 Conduct control and simulation debriefings for subordinate controllers/simulators.

 Chair the post-exercise critique session at assigned location.

 Attend evaluation team debriefings.

SAMPLE: Checklist – Individual Evaluator Tasks

 Review evaluation plan and control plan materials. Attend evaluator training.

 Perform duties under the management of the evaluation team leader at the assigned location.

 Observe assigned objectives.

 Monitor player actions and assist the evaluation team leader and other exercise control team members in tracking exercise events.

 Report to the evaluation team leader any problems or issues that arise concerning control, including deviations from the scenario or exercise artificialities that may interfere with exercise realism or exercise progress, and record these problems in the evaluator log.

 Provide observations using a key player observation and comment form for input to the exercise evaluation.

 Attend the end-of-exercise participant debriefings/critiques, and any evaluator debriefings as instructed by evaluation team leader.

 Review simulator materials and attend training.

 Perform duties under the management of the [identify title of person] at the assigned location.

 Answer (if allowed) inquiries from participants for general information, or information concerning Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) events already injected into play, and record inquiry in a log.

 Record actions and/or decisions on tactical maps, situation status boards, resources status boards, and logs.

 Assist controllers in monitoring the flow of the exercise and completion of Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) events.

 Inform evaluation team leader of possible deviations from the Master Scenario Events List (MSEL) and expected actions.

SAMPLE: Checklist – Individual Evaluator Tasks ….continued

 Record observations using evaluator checklists provided.

 Complete summary forms for input to the exercise evaluation report.

SAMPLE: Checklist – Facilitator Tasks

 Provide briefings and debriefings for all exercise players which includes coordinating the evaluation of each exercise day by players.

 Provide exercise inputs in line with the Master Scenario Events List (MSEL).

 Monitor progress of the exercise as appropriate.

 Ensure that actions expected from exercise inputs are completed.

 Ensure the effective delivery of exercise responses by appropriately coaching exercise participants if or when required.

 Report to the Exercise Planning Team.

 Resolve problems and/or issues should the exercise go off track at their site, seeking advice from Exercise Planning Team as required.

SAMPLE: Hot-Wash Format

Hot-Wash/Debriefing Format


• Date/Location: [Organization] hosted a [Type of Exercise] on [Date]. Attendees included representatives from: [List Attendees].

• Hot Wash: After the exercise’s conclusion, exercise planners met briefly to discuss the exercise conduct and planning process. Discussion primarily focused on three aspects: expectations, after-action items, and the planning process.


1. Expectations: 2. After Action Items: 3. Exercise Design: 4. Other: Planning group members emphasized the following issues as critical to the After Action Report/Improvement Plan’s success: Exercise planners noted the following about the exercise planning process: The planning group also noted the following:

SAMPLE: After Action Report Form

Executive Summary

Note: The “Executive Summary” section is used to briefly describe a summary of the information contained in your After Action Report (AAR) to highlight the way in which the report will help in  preparedness and should include the following:

  • Brief overview of the exercise
  • Major strengths demonstrated during the exercise
  • Areas that require improvement

Chapter 1: Exercise Overview

Note: The “Exercise Overview” section should be used to briefly describe the following:

  • Describes the specific details of the exercise
  • Identifies the organizations that participated in the exercise
  • Describes how the exercise was structured
  • Describes how the exercise was implemented and carried out

Listed below are the details that are required in the AAR “Exercise Overview” section.

Exercise Name:             List formal name of exercise(s).
Duration:                       List the total length of the exercise(s).
Exercise Date:               List the Month, Day, and Year of the exercise(s).
Sponsor:     List the sponsoring agency of the exercise(s)

Type of Exercise:          List the type of exercise: Seminar, Workshop, Drill, Game, Tabletop, Functional Exercise, or Full-Scale Exercise

Funding Source:List the organization funding the exercise(s)

Focus:                           List the appropriate focus of the exercise: Response, Recovery, Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness.

Scenario:List the scenario of the exercise.

Location:                       List all applicable information regarding the specific location of the Exercise, including the City, Province/Territory, Region, Country (if outside Canada).

Participating Organizations: List the organization names of the Co-sponsors of the exercise, including Contract Support, if applicable.

Participants: List the individual participating organizations.

SAMPLE: After Action Report Form….. continued

Number of Participants:List the total number of players, victim role players, controllers, evaluators, and observers.

Exercise Overview:Briefly describe the exercise components and what it was designed to accomplish.

Exercise Evaluation:    Briefly describe the specific evaluative tools in place for this exercise, including where evaluators were positioned and the date of the Exercise Evaluation Conference that follows the exercise.

Chapter 2: Exercise Goals and Objectives

Note: The “Exercise Goals and Objectives” section is used to briefly list the goals and objectives for the exercise. These are developed during the exercise planning and design phase and are used to define the scope and content of the exercise as well as the organizations that will participate. List each Goal followed by the Objective for the respective Goal.



Chapter 3: Exercise Events Synopsis

Note: The “Exercise Events Synopsis” section is used to provide an overview of the scenario used to facilitate exercise play and the actions taken by the players to respond to the scenario. The activities are presented in the general sequence and timeline that they happened at each site. The events synopsis provides officials and players with an overview of what happened at each location and when.  It is also used to analyze the effectiveness of the response, especially the time sensitive actions.  It provides a means of looking at the ramifications of one action not happening when expected on actions taken by other players and on the overall response. The “Exercise Events Synopsis” should include the synopsis, the modules for the exercise, and a timeline of events for each element of play.

SAMPLE: After Action Report Form….. continued

Chapter 4: Analysis of Outcomes

Note: The “Analysis of Outcomes” section provides an analysis of how well the participating organizations addressed the outcomes.  These outcomes include: prevention, emergency assessment, emergency management, hazard mitigation, public protection, victim care, investigation/ apprehension, recovery/remediation.

This section analyzes how well the participating organizations as a whole achieved the expected outcomes in their response to the event. The focus of this analysis is on outcomes rather than processes. The mission outcomes are actions the public expects from its public officials and agencies. Results for each outcome should be summarized by outcome area. A detailed analysis of the activities and processes that contributed to results related to the outcomes follows.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Performance

Note: The “Analysis of Performance” section reviews performance of the individual tasks, as defined in the evaluation guides.  Each task identified by the exercise planning team as a task to be performed should be discussed.  Those tasks that were performed as expected require only a short write up that describes how the task was performed and generally would be not be followed by recommendations. For tasks that were not performed as expected, the write-up should describe what happened or did not happen and the causes for the variance from the plan or established. Recommendations for improvement should be presented for these tasks.  This section should indicate if the variance from expected performance resulted in an improved response, which may result in a recommendation that plans or procedures be changed.  To facilitate tracking of recommendations and improvements, acronyms should be spelled out in each recommendation. 

Following the review and validation of the draft report findings by key officials from the participating organizations (during the debriefing meeting), the officials define the actions that will be taken to address the recommendations.  These improvement actions are presented following each recommendation and include the action, the responsible party/agency, and the timeline for completion.

Below is the format that each Task should be presented in.

SAMPLE: After Action Report Form….. continued

Task:                              List the overall task

Summary of Issue:        Brieflydescribe the issue
Consequence:                Briefly state the consequence of the action
Analysis:Briefly explain the issue and the consequences
Recommendations:       List the recommendation that would help to rectify the issue
Actions:                         List the action steps required to ensure that the recommendation is followed


Note: The “Conclusions” section of the report should be used as a summary of all the sections of the AAR. It should include the following:

  • Participants demonstrated capabilities
  • Lessons learned for improvement and major recommendations
  • A summary of what steps should be taken to ensure that the concluding results will help to further refine plans, procedures, training for this type of incident

SAMPLE: Corrective Action Plan/Improvement Plan



Corrective Action Recommendation:

Primary Agency:

Point of Contact & Phone:

Supported by:


Contact & Phone #:

Steps / Timeline for Completion:

Step 1:

Completion Date:

Step 2:

Completion Date:

Step 3:

Completion Date:

Step 4:

Completion Date:

Step 5:

Completion Date:

Step 6:

Completion Date:

Implementation of Corrective Action/Improvement Completion Date:

Signature of Primary Organizational Contact:


SAMPLE: Corrective Action Plan/Improvement Plan …. continued




Corrective / Improvement Action

Responsible Party

Projected Completion Date

SAMPLE: Tracking Improvement Checklist

Tracking Improvement Checklist









P = Primary Responsibility

S = Secondary/Support

O = Oversight

C = Coordination Role

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