Homeland Security and Emergency Services


The NYS-OEM Exercise Staff is available to help assist with, and support development of, local preparedness and response exercise programs.

  • Assist in planning, developing, conducting, and evaluating objective-based, scenario-driven exercises.
  • Provide technical assistance with Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guidance.
  • Provide (loan) a trailer equipped with a variety of simulation equipment to enhance realism in preparedness exercises such as: Smoke machines, "Rescue Randy" manikins, tents, detection equipment, signs, etc.

Training and exercises are vital components to providing emergency response agencies, non-governmental agencies, and community partners with the opportunity to improve both public safety and preparedness capabilities. A comprehensive training and exercise program is designed to improve operational readiness, reveal opportunities for improvement, and to illuminate resource gaps. A comprehensive training and exercise program is designed to improve interagency coordination and collaboration, clarify roles and responsibilities, enhance individual performance, and gain public recognition of preparedness and emergency response programs.

The primary focus of NYSOEM's Exercise Program is to assist local, county, State, and federal government agencies, along with private sector and not-for-profit entities, in the development, planning, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning components and activities associated with the priorities identified in the State's Annual Training and Exercise Plan. The Exercise Program follows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) methodology outlined in the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). HSEEP is a capabilities-based exercise methodology designed to build a self-sustaining exercise program and to provide standards for designing, developing, conducting, and evaluating exercises of all types and scope.

The HSEEP methodology provides different exercise types for both discussion and operations based objectives, which can aide a jurisdiction in examining plans, capabilities, and identifying gaps. There are seven different types of exercises; the three most common types are:

  • Tabletop Exercise (TTX) - this discussion-based exercise is intended to stimulate discussion of various issues regarding a hypothetical situation. It can be used to assess plans, policies, and procedures, or to assess types of systems needed to guide the prevention of, response to, and recovery from a defined incident. TTXs can be group break-out (i.e., groups split into functional areas), plenary (i.e. one large group), or a combination of both.
  • Functional Exercise (FE) - this operations-based exercise is designed to test and evaluate individual capabilities, multiple functions or activities within a function, or interdependent groups or functions. The FE utilizes a system of exercise simulators and exercise injects to accomplish objectives with no movement or actual "boots on the ground" operations taking place.
  • Full-Scale Exercise (FSE) - the most complex of all exercise types, this operations-based exercise is typically a multiagency, multijurisdictional exercise designed to test the appropriate target capabilities identified early during the exercise planning process. Ideally, the FSE focuses on implementing and analyzing plans, policies, and procedures developed in discussion-based exercises, and honed in previous, smaller, operations-based exercises.

Building BLock Approach to Exercise Scheduling

Evaluations tied to all types of exercises provide jurisdictions and exercise participants with the mechanism to utilize task-specific and performance-based criteria, which will be used to identify corrective actions and develop an improvement plan for future preparedness efforts and funding requests.

A comprehensive all-hazard exercise program begins with planning and training, continues with the exercise itself, and culminates with evaluation and the creation of an exercise After-Action Report / Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) of all activities that occurred during the process. The AAR/IP examines lessons learned during the exercise and transforms them into corrective actions.