Assessing emergency management training and exercises

Helen Sinclair, Emma Doyle, David Johnston, Douglas Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigatehow training or exercises are assessed in local government emergency managementorganisations.

Design/methodology/approach:An investigative review ofthe resources available to emergency managers across North America and withinNew Zealand, for the evaluation and monitoring of emergency management trainingand exercises was conducted. This was then compared with results from aquestionnaire based survey of 48 local government organisations in Canada, USA,and New Zealand. A combination of closed and open ended questions was used,enabling qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Findings:Each organisation'straining program, and their assessment of this training is unique. Themonitoring and evaluation aspect of training has been overlooked in someorganisations. In addition, those that are using assessment methods areoperating in blind faith that these methods are giving an accurate assessmentof their training. This study demonstrates that it is largely unknown howeffective the training efforts of local government organisations are.

Researchlimitations/implications: Furtherstudy inspired by this paper will provide a clearer picture of the evaluationof and monitoring of emergency management training programs. These resultshighlight that organisations need to move away from an ad hoc approachto training design and evaluation, towards a more sophisticated andevidence‐based approach to training needs analysis, design, and evaluation ifthey are to maximise the benefits of this training.

Originality/value:This study is the firstinvestigation to the authors’ knowledge into the current use of diverseemergency management training for a range of local government emergencyoffices, and how this training impacts the functioning of the organisation'semergency operations centre during a crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-521
Number of pages15
JournalDisaster Prevention & Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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