The primary focus of the Exercise Branch of the Training, Education and Exercise Division is to assist local and State government agencies (and their private sector and not-for-profit partners) in the development, planning, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning activities. The Exercise Program follows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) HSEEP methodology. HSEEP is a capabilities-based exercise methodology designed to build a self-sustaining exercise program and to provide standards for designing, developing, conducting, and evaluating exercises of all types and scope.
The Exercise Branch supports annual regional and technical assistance exercises for each of VDEM’s seven regions, the annual exercise for the Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST), FEMA’s annual nuclear power station drill, as well as the Governor’s Cabinet exercise. In addition, the Exercise Branch has added the following types of assistance available to local and state governmental entities in designing and conducting an exercise:
- Sharing scenarios and exercise documentation developed since the VDEM HSEEP program inception.
- Loaning exercise equipment such as exercise role vests and simulated weapons.
- Providing a brief review of exercise documentation to ensure it follows HSEEP guidance.