Description of the Validation and Audit Process
Validation and auditing are common terminologies used in business continuity management (BCM) and innovative emergency management (IEM) planning (Freestone & Lee, 2008). Validation refers to measures that are undertaken to ensure that emergency plans meet the intended purpose (PPT 4, Slide 5). Validation plans comprise details regarding what should be done, the resources and methods to be used and the procedures and timeline. Integration, test, quality and security plans form part of validation plans. These plans define the scope and goals of an organization as well as compliance requirements. The process of validation is systematic, holistic, integrated, and comprehensive (PPT 6, Slide 9). On the one hand, validation plays a central role in training, testing, and exercising. On the other hand, auditing refers to systematic examination and verification (PPT 4, slide 8). This process is usually led by an audit coordinator who analyses the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities. The two types of audit include internal and external audit. While the former is carried out by independent auditors, the latter is carried out by skilled contracted specialists. Other audit activities include assessments and multi-level audits, self-assessments by the use of standard checklists and team assessments (Freestone & Lee, 2008). In the context of BCM/IEM, auditing verifies the compliance of the management system to the emergency management policies, procedures, and legislations. In case the management system pays little regard to the requirements, an audit report will raise concern in these areas. Auditing also ensures that the activities planned every day are carried out in time to make certain that the management system complies with the timeline set. Therefore, auditing identifies and highlights areas of weakness so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent future occurrence (PPT 4, Slide 9). It also identifies opportunities for the improvement of the management system.
Benefits of Validating and Auditing to IEM/BCM Planning
Freestone and Lee (2008) observed that internal auditors offer organizations with practical and realistic insights regarding emergency operations. Moreover, auditing is carried out before, during, and after a crisis. In this regard, internal auditors must familiarize with leading BCM practices. Indeed, auditors have the requisite knowledge to evaluate disaster preparedness in a workplace. They verify whether organizations have plans and policies for managing disasters and unexpected emergencies. Disasters in an organization vary in scale (PPT 5, Slide 5). In this regard, auditing assesses protocols, employees, and physical evidence to ensure that the prevailing conditions pose the least hazard to an organization. Auditing may not end with recommendations, because auditors may be required to provide oversight on implementation of the recommendations. These solutions may include formation of disaster management committees, setting up communication protocols, building awareness, and facilitating training for employees (PPT 12, Slide 4). It is imperative for organizations to ensure that their employees have emergency management plans and disaster prevention strategies to make the working environment safe. In this regard, it is the role of independent auditors to evaluate the efficiency of emergency settings by exploring the tools and processes in emergency planning.
Types of Training, Exercising Validation Methods Available to IEM/BCM Planners
In presentation 7, exercising is defined as exercising, a simulation that is designed to validate the capability of an organization to manage incidents and emergencies (Slide 5). Exercises validate training, systems, and procedures within IEM/BCM planning. The types of exercises include orientation, drill, table-top, functional, multi-site, and full-scale exercises (PPT7, Slide 6). Orientation exercises are common, because they do not require any experience and they are part of induction training. They can explore emergency management issues. Drill exercises test a single function, and it usually involves field response. Tabletop exercises (TTX) offer realistic and stressful environment.
Functional exercises involve players taking their functions in the same way they would do in case of an emergency (PPT 8, Slide 13). In this process, many injects are delivered to stimulate players with the purpose of managing the simulation. Full-scale exercises (FSE) encompass all decision-making activities and field response mobilization. Although they are expensive to run, FSEs occur in real time and stick to the timeline. These exercises form an integral part of the emergency preparedness and holistic training and validation process. Phelps (2010) explored the various benefits of exercising. They include motivation of employees, assessment for resource allocation, as well as identification of laps in emergency planning, improvement of performance, building confidence among employees, and raising awareness of proficiencies and gaps.
Training is defined as the “systematic development of attitudes/knowledge/skill and behavior patterns by an individual to perform adequately a given task or job” (PPT 7, Slide 8). The major training methods include plyometrics, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), incline running, and retro running. Plyometrics training is advanced type of training during emergency planning (Alteneiji, 2015). Furthermore, it involves stretching the muscles to make them contract with a greater force. The movements created during this training cause high impact, which requires a lot of strength and endurance. HIIT training involves alternating periods of short and long training activity. A suitable illustration of HIIT principles is when a trainee runs very fast for three minutes, then jogs for the next six minutes, and run fast for three minutes. In so doing, high intensity interval training enables trainees to acquire maximum fitness after the training exercise. It is useful for IEM/BCM planners during emergency management, because it equips trainees with maximum fitness required while preparing, responding, and recovering from an emergency (Phelps, 2010).
Selection of Appropriate Training, Exercising, and Validation Methods
This section recommends a multi-agency training, exercising, and validation program for the police BCM plan. For an effective emergency planning to occur in an organization, three aspects of organizational performance must be taken into consideration. In this context, the BCM plan for the police should encompass plans to prevent the emergency, plans for reducing and mitigating its effects, and plans for taking action regarding the emergency (Cabinet Office and National Security and Intelligence, 2014). The pre-emergency plans help an organization to carry out its functions during an emergency. Prevention plans are designed in anticipation of an emergency, although they are used to mitigate the disaster before it occurs.
The core purpose of emergency planning is to reduce and mitigate the impact of the emergency (Cabinet Office, 2011). Thus, the plans aimed at reducing and mitigating an emergency should address the disruption that the event causes. Category 1 responders may take immediate action to remedy the effect of a disaster. These actions may include controlling the spread of fires, flood mitigation, and reducing causalities during a terror attack. The third aspect of emergency planning includes plans for taking appropriate action regarding the emergency. These actions may include setting up emergency control centers, incorporating private contractors into the emergency plans, setting up effective internal communications for emergency management, providing enough resources, and ensuring the welfare of staff engaged in response (Cabinet Office, 2011). In view of the foregoing, the paper recommends plyometrics and drill exercises as the training and exercising methods for the police in emergency planning.
Explanation for the Choices Made
Plyometrics is a physical training program that allows muscles to reach the maximum force within a short period. Muscles are loaded with both eccentric and concentric actions. During this training, the rapid stretch creates elastic energy in the muscles and tendons (Alteneiji, 2015). The energy is released during concentric muscle action. Plyometrics can be very explosive, although studies reveal that this type of training can improve performance in jumping and sprinting (Phelps, 2010). Hence, it is useful for the police in managing emergency situation, because it facilitates faster maneuvering. On the other hand, drill exercises are performed frequently to ensure that people remember the exercises in case of emergencies. The planning and execution of drill exercises are done on the basis of real scenarios, and it involves workers. Most companies carry out risks assessment to identify potential hazards (PPT 11, Slide 6). This assessment is followed by an evaluation of how these hazards are likely to cause damage and injury. Emergencies can take the form of fires, explosions, and exposures. Thus, drill exercises are recommended for the police, because they focus on the real scenario.
The United States Federal Emergency Management Authority set out the criteria for validation to ensure that the types of training and exercises proposed fulfill the purpose that they are intended to meet. The training and exercises should be acceptable, adequate, complete, consistent, feasible, flexible, and interoperable (PPT 6, Slide 3). The National Response Framework of the United Arab Emirates mirrors GAO/FEMA criteria for validation. Plyometrics and drill exercises are acceptable, because they satisfy a need. They not only meet the requirements of the scenario but also are consistent with the laws and policy. Adequacy involves compliance with relevant procedures and guidelines while completeness emphasizes the holistic aspect of the emergency plan. Consistency and standardization imply that emergency planning and business continuity plans should be in line with the approaches and styles within the region (PPT 6, Slide 13). The training and exercising recommended for the police are feasible, because they meet both emirate/federal requirements and existing policy dictates in the United Arab Emirates.
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How Training, Exercising, and Validation Would Be Organized
All staff would be involved in the implementation of an emergency plan. In this regard, training would be organized for every member of staff to enhance their preparedness in executing business continuity plans. Training, exercising, and validation will also involve anyone who will play a role in the emergency response. The training program would account for the number of employees present for the training. It shall comprise the main contents of the plan and the role of every individual in the implementation of the plan. Exercises would fulfill three main objectives. These objectives include validation of plans, developing competencies among employees and giving them an opportunity to understand their roles in emergency planning and testing well-established procedures (Cabinet Office, 2011). Training would precede the exercises so that people taking part in the exercises can understand their individual roles.
Emergency response in the United Arab Emirates is divided into two levels namely federal/emirate and local levels. At the local level, the police, medical service, civil defense, and first responders work on a collaborative framework in order to mitigate the disaster. When an event occurs at the local level, the first responders take necessary steps towards its mitigation and inform the police, medical service, and civil defense (Alteneiji, 2015). Emirate/federal emergency and support services/agencies encompass the ministry of interior, ministry of health, and the national crisis and emergency management authority (NCEMA). The inter-ministerial cooperation and the engagement of the police led to a successful disaster mitigation in the United Arab Emirates. It demonstrated the capacity of federal and local authorities to work together towards disaster preparedness, response, and recovery (Alteneiji, 2015). International bodies such as the international atomic energy agency (IAEA) and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Regional Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan have lauded the United Arab Emirates for its emergency preparedness and have offered to support its nuclear energy aspirations.