Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

5.11 Training

  1. Adapt Response Plans to the Incident – “Response plans can be adapted to different circumstances. Plans for natural disasters and contingencies addressed in tabletop exercises were applied to new circumstances on 9/11. Similarly, plans and exercises focused on response to terrorist attacks will apply to other kinds of disasters.”
    Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

  2. Conduct Annual/Frequent Training Exercises – “The key to effective emergency preparedness is to hold training exercises, urging agencies to conduct three kinds of exercises: (1) annual tabletop exercises to introduce or review functional procedures; (2) annual controlled simulations for Emergency Operation Centers, including ‘partnership’ review exercises where representatives of all agencies and functions, including nongovernmental agencies, can evaluate and review their plans together. These exercises should include transit representatives. Finally, (3) hold a full-scale field exercise, including active responders, every two years.”
    California Transportation Security Summits, March 28 and 29, 2002

    “The single most important lesson of 9/11 is the importance of crisis planning and frequent response exercises, both tabletop simulations and field exercises. The City of New York and its public transportation system responded remarkably well on 9/11 despite the loss of emergency operations centers, the inaccessibility of vital documents, and communications difficulties, because they had devoted continuing attention to crisis management planning and exercises.”
    Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

  3. Conduct Exercises and Test the Plan – “A clear theme is identified from this tragedy—planning. Planning—have a plan, test your plan, share your plan, and repeat exercises. And then do it again, if you can’t afford repeated exercises, at least review your plans, forge relationships as part of the planning process, and prepare lists of vendors and service providers.”
    Oklahoma City: Seven Years Later: Lessons for Other Communities

  4. “Conduct Training (Table Top Exercises) to adequately prepare personnel and volunteers. Conduct tabletop exercises as a part of the training to improve coordination and to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses.”
    Compendium: Graduate Student Papers on Advanced Surface Transportation Systems: Application of ITS Technology to Hurricane Evacuation Routes

  5. Include Public Transit in the Training Exercises – “It was essential to include transit agencies in training exercises. ‘When we did a study in the [San Francisco] Bay Area, we learned that in an earthquake 1,400 road segments could be taken down.’ Only by planning ahead with transit agencies can planners come up with the substitutions and rerouting needed to cope with a large-scale incident.”
    California Transportation Security Summits, March 28 and 29, 2002

  6. Practice Together – “If relationships are not already built on exercise and training, the communications can be too complicated and the decisions too fast.”
    Homeland Response, “Evacuation: What We Can Learn—and Cannot Learn—from Hurricanes”

  7. Provide Consistent Training – “There is clearly a need for consistent training across the province in all aspects of emergency planning. It has been said that practice makes perfect. Simulations and exercises are required on an ongoing basis to ensure that people remain current in their skills.”
    Firestorm 2003: Provincial Review

  8. Review and Update Crisis Plans with Training – “Crisis plans, once completed, cannot be put on the shelf to gather dust, but must be periodically reviewed and updated. Exercises should be conducted frequently.”
    Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

  9. Train Staff – “Training surface transportation employees saved lives, with the sarin nerve agent attack on Tokyo’s subway, where lack of training (and a reluctance to challenge normal operating procedures) increased the number of casualties. Conforming to an ill-conceived commitment to stay in operation even though they knew something was seriously amiss, subway personnel kept trains containing lethal sarin moving back and forth through the system for several hours. A clean-up crew committed to pristine floors no matter what, actually swept up the Sarin debris, spreading the impact of the toxic agent. However, even in the Tokyo incident, a security-trained maintenance worker [who discovered an additional device planted in a washroom] was able to prevent a second incident from occurring.”
    California Transportation Security Summits, March 28 and 29, 2002

  10. Train First, Second, and Third String Staff for Emergencies – It is necessary to be able to rely on agency staff at all levels to make good and timely decisions, often without complete knowledge of all of the mitigating circumstances. It is critical that staff at all levels be able to respond to situations and make decisions. “As one public official commented ‘emergencies do not happen at convenient times, therefore it is important to train not just your first string but also your second and third string for emergencies.’ In New York City, an official at one of the Port Authority’s tunnels responded that he was not able to check with headquarters because ‘it was not there.’ The Port Authority’s headquarters were located in the World Trade Center and were destroyed in the attack.”
    Effects of Catastrophic Events on Transportation System Management and Operations: Cross-Cutting Study

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015