Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

National Preparedness Month – Building

Full-scale exercise in San Diego County, image by Katia Lopez-Hodoyan via Twitter

How solid of a home would you have if the construction team started building a second story after only three of the first story walls exist? What if there is no staircase connecting the first and second floor to a completed home? While these may seem like obvious to-do’s in construction, they can often be overlooked. in the “construction” of businesses, schools, and local or state preparedness programs as emergency managers navigate competing and shifting priorities, funding challenges, and real-world events. New areas become a focus, leaving others half-built.

For a plan, exercise, or new concept to reach its full potential, it needs to fit into a larger preparedness program with a solid foundation, strategic plan forward, and initiatives that build upon each other, to ultimately create a new level of preparedness focused on the capacity to build for years to come.

With no such thing as a successful one-size fits all approach to preparedness programs, Hagerty Consulting helps clients around the country build robust programs focused on targeted, strategic goals and tailored steps to reaching those goals. Starting with gaining a firm understanding of current capabilities, Hagerty assists clients with enhancing capabilities, the stakeholders to support those capabilities, and the plan to support the development of those capabilities.

How Does Hagerty Support Building Preparedness Programs?

There are many ways to approach building a program. For some, this may include creating a strategic plan for a client, validating a base plan or plans, or developing a training and exercise program that builds upon lessons learned from each of exercise:

Case Study #1: San Diego County Office of Emergency Services (OES)

San Diego OES hosted an exercise series focused on a multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional response to a complex coordinated terrorist attack (CCTA) within their region. The first exercise, a tabletop exercise (TTX),  involved over 180 participants from the region, was designed to evaluate the region’s ability to respond to a CCTA like those seen in Brussels, Paris, London, and Mumbai. It was composed of two parts: a four-hour tactical-level TTX, as well as a one-hour policy-level exercise.

Building upon lessons learned from the TTX, Hagerty worked with OES to on a full-scale exercise (FSE) developed the following year, enabling participants to physically practice the processes and strategies they had previously discussed in the TTX. The FSE spanned two days, included four primary and seven secondary locations throughout San Diego County, and 1,200 participants from over 70 agencies from all levels of government and nongovernmental agencies.

As a result, the County continues to build, working currently with Hagerty to develop a Terror Recovery Annex, a direct outcome of after-actions identified in the FSE.

For others, it may include the development of an entire curriculum or program that sets a precedence for preparedness activities for years to come:

Case Study #2: Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM)

Cook County DHSEM set the precedence in active threat (active shooter and terrorism) preparedness by developing a multi-year Active Threat Program. This program began with the development of a comprehensive Active Threat Preparedness Framework. After conducting thorough research into every single active threat event, DHSEM and the Hagerty team analyzed trends, plans, training and lessons learned; the outcome, the Framework, identifies components of such an event that covers not only response, but spans prevention, mitigation, and recovery phases, as well.

Using the Framework as the County’s foundation for preparing for active threat events, Hagerty worked with Cook County to develop and implement a comprehensive active threat training and exercise program. Exercises included a series of three TTXs throughout the county occurring at a mall complex, a whole community training, a FSE exercising the Rescue Task Force operations, and Illinois’ largest FSE which included four exercise components and focused on a CCTA, from executive level decision-making to tactical response elements.

The exercise series identified gaps and next steps for many stakeholders preparedness for such occurrences, including in the private sector; preparedness activities continue today for individual stakeholders as a result.

For each uniquely tailored approach, the creation of a comprehensive preparedness program enables a jurisdiction, company, or organization to build and improve preparedness in a remarkably cohesive and strategic manner.


For more information on how Hagerty Consulting can support your preparedness program, to include business continuity or continuity of operations, please visit http://hagertyconsulting.com/preparedness/.