Exercises test our emergency plans and systems for points of failure. But what if they fail when they encounter the needs of different people in our communities? Exercises present a great opportunity to practice community inclusion and build more effective emergency systems as a result.
With community observers, exercises can educate communities about emergency practices. With community participation, exercises can educate emergency systems about what makes emergency spaces and operations more accessible and inclusive to the community. With community engagement, exercises can point to ways that community and systems can cooperate in the most effective emergency responses.
Colorado recently integrated community inclusion activities into the Public Health Emergency Dispensing Exercise (PHED Ex). Consider using or adapting resources from Colorado’s exercise to help build community inclusion into exercise planning, play, and evaluation.
Planning the Exercise
- Colorado Community Inclusion Workgroup: Use community leaders and experts to help you brainstorm strategis and develop resources to promote community inclusion in the exercise
- Colorado Community Inclusion Maps: Use GIS data resources to consider your community profile. Who makes up your community? Where are they?
- Community Inclusion Injects: Add community characteristics or concerns into your exercise
- Invite Representative community groups or individuals to observe or participate in the exercise
- Develop emergency locations or services with trusted community groups and places
During the Exercise
- Community Inclusion Strategies
- Just-in-Time Community Inclusion Discussion: Brief and help responders brainstorm how to provide inclusive services and practices in the exercise environment
- Budget for functional services and support during the exercise
- Alternative information formats (picture-based, large-print, non-Enlgish)
- On-site or telephonic interpretation (including ASL), literacy and health educators to assist understanding about emergency behaviors
- Resources for kids
- Plan for people with personal mobility difficulty onsite
- Alternative flow or places to sit for people who cannot stay standing
- Space and accommodations for people with personal equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, other durable medical equipment and service animals)
Evaluating the Exercise
- Inclusion Evaluators: Use community experts to evaluate operational practices from the perspective of community inclusion
- Community Inclusion Participant Survey: Request feedback from all community members who participate in the exercise
- PHED Ex Inclusion After Action Report
Rocky Mountain MRC and Tri-County Health Department's Community Inclusion POD - An Exercise Model (Coming Soon): Consider designing an entire exercise for the community, rather than to practice responder operations.
- Community Inclusion POD Report (Coming Soon)