Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is the national standard promoted by the US Department of Homeland Security for planning, conducting, and evaluating exercises. It has traditionally been used by first responders such as fire departments, but it is increasingly being used in public health. One major advantage to using HSEEP is that it provides a common language and framework for exercises, which allows health departments to work together with other agencies without confusion. Local health departments in North Carolina are required to conduct at least 2 exercises per year, and HSEEP is the recommended framework.
There are 7 types of exercises in HSEEP, which are classified as discussion-based (seminars, workshops, tabletop exercises, and games) and operations-based (drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exercises). Each type of exercise builds upon the previous type, from the most basic (seminars) to the most complex (full-scale exercises). The type of exercise should be chosen to best reflect your goals. HSEEP also includes a recommended methodology for planning exercises. This methodology provides a general guideline for the length of the planning process, the types of planning meetings, and key planning milestones. Finally, HSEEP provides guidance about how to evaluate the exercise and identify areas for improvement.
Each of the North Carolina Public Health Regional Surveillance Teams (PHRSTs) have been trained in HSEEP and can provide guidance for local exercise planning. All PHRSTs are required to conduct a regional exercise in 2009. Some of these regional exercises have already been conducted, and others are scheduled for the summer of 2009. Local health departments should contact their PHRST for more information about these exercises and subsequent improvement planning.
HSEEP does not include specific provisions for at-risk groups. However, local jurisdictions can include at-risk groups in exercises by choosing exercise objectives that address the needs of at-risk groups. Including members of at-risk groups or their service providers in exercise planning, implementation, and evaluation is a good strategy to ensure that the exercise is relevant to at-risk groups in the jurisdiction.