207572 Adaptation, Implementation and Evaluation of a Tabletop Exercise

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cristie L. Duric, MPH, RRT , Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Amanda J. Durante, PhD, MSc , Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Linda Degutis, DrPH, MSN , Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background/purpose: Assessing preparedness prior to a disaster event is both necessary and challenging. Exercises have been recommended to augment and assess preparedness activities, but there is little information available about tailoring exercises to a specific community. The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the adaptation of a generic disaster scenario for use in 3 different communities.

Methods: In 2007 we assisted three local public health districts in planning and conducting a vulnerable populations and public health emergencies tabletop exercise. We adapted a generic hurricane scenario to reflect jurisdictional needs by identifying current demographic data, key stakeholders, resource inventory and other critical emergency response components. We examined:(1) methods of adapting an exercise to meet the needs of a community; (2) factors affecting implementation success; (3) analysis of feedback from participants and exercise facilitators about successes/failures; and (4) assessments of how and why the process worked and recommendations for process modification.

Results:Analysis revealed the following: (1) participant materials were too complex and required simplification while still achieving the same level of understanding, (2) the time allotted for situation updates during the exercise should be revised, (3) exercise adaptation was critical to obtaining realism, and (4) exercise evaluations were lengthy and difficult to use.

Conclusion: A crucial component of exercise design is adapting the scenario to reflect the hazards and resources of the participating jurisdiction. Improvements to exercise conduct can be achieved by revising the evaluation plan and participant materials.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the factors that contribute to successful local adaptation of tabletop exercises Identify exercise evaluation best practices

Keywords: Disasters, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the abstract on this project and am an author on a related manuscript. Additionally, in my capacity as a coordinator at the Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness, my duties include exercise development, adaptation, conduct and evaluation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.