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Virtual Table Top Exercise (VTTX) - Tornado

Situation Manual

February 23, 24 and 25, 2016

This Situation Manual provides exercise participants with all the necessary tools for their roles in the exercise. Some exercise material is intended for the exclusive use of exercise planners, facilitators, and evaluators; however, players may view other materials that are necessary to their performance. All exercise participants may view the Situational Manual.

Exercise Overview

Exercise Name

Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) - Tornado

Exercise Dates

February 23, 24 and 25, 2016


This is a discussion-based exercise, planned for four hours hosted by the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and conducted with multiple remote Video Teleconference sites.

Mission Area(s)

Mitigation, Response, and Recovery

Core Capabilities

Planning, Public Information and Warning, Operational Coordination; Community Resilience; Threat and Hazards Identification; Infrastructure Systems; Mass Care Services; Mass Search and Rescue Operations; On-Scene Security, Protection and Law Enforcement; Public Health, Healthcare and Emergency Management Services; Situational Assessment; Economic Recovery; and Health and Social Services


  1. Assist participants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively conduct all-hazards emergency response and recovery.

  2. Enable participants to better coordinate response operations with counterparts from Federal agencies, state governments, local governments, private sector organizations, and nongovernmental agencies.

  3. Allow participating locations to share real-time tornado related preparation, response and recovery solutions with all participants.

Threat or Hazard



The Tornado VTTX was designed around the realistic scenario of a tornado, which causes significant actions by the participating jurisdictions and agencies.


FEMA – Emergency Management Institute (EMI)

Participating Organizations

Federal, state, tribal or local levels of government agencies while utilizing the whole community approach of including applicable representative organizations (such as private sector partners, voluntary agencies, school districts, etc.) within each jurisdiction.

Point of Contact

Douglas M. Kahn at douglas.kahn@fema.dhs.gov or 301-477-7645


The Tornado Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA), Emergency Management Institute (EMI) as one of a series of virtual exercises designed to bring numerous communities together in a collaborative environment. This Situation Manual (SitMan) follows guidance set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

The VTTX’s are written with no SMART objectives listed. SMART objectives are the responsibility of the agency taking part, if they wish to do so. As a discussion-based exercise, participating agencies discuss practicing group problem solving, familiarizing senior officials with a situation, conducting a specific case study, examining personnel contingencies, testing group message interpretation, participating in information sharing and assessing interagency coordination.

Handling Instructions

  1. The title of this document is Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) - Tornado - Situation Manual.

  2. For more information about the exercise, please consult the following point of contact (POC):

EMI Exercise Director:

Douglas M. Kahn

Emergency Management Institute (EMI)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

EMI: (301) 447-7645

Email: douglas.kahn@fema.dhs.gov

General Inquires: fema-emi-iemb@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-1381.


Virtual Table Top Exercise (VTTX) - Tornado i

Exercise Overview i

Exercise Overview i

Preface iii

Preface iii



Handling Instructions iv

Handling Instructions iv

Introduction 1

Introduction 1

Background 1

Purpose 1

Scope 1

Core Capabilities 1

Exercise Design Objectives 3

Participants 4

Exercise Structure 4

Exercise Guidelines 5

Assumptions and Artificialities 5

Module 1: Preparedness & Initial Response 6

Module 1: Preparedness & Initial Response 6

Key Issues 7

Questions 8

Outbrief 8

Module 2: Response 9

Module 2: Response 9

Key Issues 10

Questions 11

Outbrief 11

Module 3: Recovery 12

Module 3: Recovery 12

Key Issues 12

Questions 13

Outbrief 13

Appendix A: Acronyms 1

Appendix A: Acronyms 1

Appendix B: Hazard Specific Information 2

Appendix B: Hazard Specific Information 2

Appendix C: Participant Feedback Form 5

Appendix C: Participant Feedback Form 5



The EMI-sponsored series of VTTXs are designed to help prepare organizations for potential catastrophic events. A different scenario will be presented each month based on anticipated seasonal events and/or potential for man-made catastrophic events such as those based on various terrorist activities. In the end, it is EMI’s goal to increase preparedness across the country through the collaborative exercise of participating agencies.

The VTTX was designed around a realistic severe tornado event.


The purpose of this exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to assess their preparedness, response and recovery protocols, plans, and capabilities to the event.


Participants will play locally and participate virtually in the conduct of the VTTX. Players will participate in facilitated discussions within their organizations to address the challenges presented by the event, and then share those outcomes with the virtual community of participants. Discussions will focus on emergency responder coordination, critical decision-making, and the integration of resources necessary to prepare for, respond to and recover from the event. Each organization’s preparedness and resilience will be critical to response and restoration efforts in their region.

In addition, players will focus on interdisciplinary and interagency coordination both at the local, state, and/or regional levels. Processes and decision making are more important than minute details. Player feedback will be used to update relevant emergency response and incident management plans and procedures.

Core Capabilities

The National Preparedness Goal of September 2011 has steered the focus of homeland security toward a capabilities-based planning approach. Capabilities-based planning focuses on planning under uncertainty because the next disaster can never be forecasted with complete accuracy. Therefore, capabilities-based planning takes an all-hazards approach to planning and preparation that builds capabilities that can be applied to a wide variety of incidents. States and urban areas use capabilities-based planning to identify a baseline assessment of their homeland security efforts by comparing their current capabilities against the core capabilities. This approach identifies gaps in current capabilities.

The core capabilities are essential for the execution of each of the five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. These capabilities provide the foundation for development of the exercise design objectives and scenario. The purpose of this exercise is to measure and validate performance of these core capabilities. The selected core capabilities are:

Common to All Mission Areas:

Planning - Conduct a systematic process engaging the whole community as appropriate in the development of executable strategic, operational, and/or tactical-level approaches to meet defined objectives.

Public Information and Warning - Deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable, and actionable information to the whole community through the use of clear, consistent, accessible, and culturally and linguistically appropriate methods to effectively relay information regarding any threat or hazard, as well as the actions being taken and the assistance being made available, as appropriate.

Operational Coordination - Establish and maintain a unified and coordinated operational structure and process that appropriately integrates all critical stakeholders and supports the execution of core capabilities.

Mitigation Mission Area - Mitigation includes those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. It is focused on the premise that individuals, the private and nonprofit sectors, communities, critical infrastructure, and the Nation as a whole are made more resilient when the consequences and impacts, the duration, and the financial and human costs to respond to and recover from adverse incidents are all reduced.

Community Resilience - Enable the recognition, understanding, communication of, and planning for risk and empower individuals and communities to make informed risk management decisions necessary to adapt to, withstand, and quickly recover from future incidents.

Threat and Hazards Identification - Identify the threats and hazards that occur in the geographic area; determine the frequency and magnitude; and incorporate this into analysis and planning processes so as to clearly understand the needs of a community or entity.

Response Mission Area - Response includes those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred. It is focused on ensuring that the Nation is able to effectively respond to any threat or hazard, including those with cascading effects. Response emphasizes saving and sustaining lives, stabilizing the incident, rapidly meeting basic human needs, restoring basic services and technologies, restoring community functionality, providing universal accessibility, establishing a safe and secure environment, and supporting the transition to recovery.

Infrastructure Systems - Stabilize critical infrastructure functions, minimize health and safety threats, and efficiently restore and revitalize systems and services to support a viable, resilient community.

Mass Care Services - Provide life-sustaining and human services to the affected population, to include hydration, feeding, sheltering, temporary housing, evacuee support, reunification, and distribution of emergency supplies.

Mass Search and Rescue Operations - Deliver traditional and atypical search and rescue capabilities, including personnel, services, animals, and assets to survivors in need, with the goal of saving the greatest number of endangered lives in the shortest time possible.

On-Scene Security, Protection and Law Enforcement - Ensure a safe and secure environment through law enforcement and related security and protection operations for people and communities located within affected areas and also for response personnel engaged in lifesaving and life-sustaining operations.

Public Health, Healthcare and Emergency Management Services - Provide lifesaving medical treatment via Emergency Medical Services and related operations and avoid additional disease and injury by providing targeted public health, medical, and behavioral health support, and products to all affected populations.

Situational Assessment - Provide all decision makers with decision-relevant information regarding the nature and extent of the hazard, any cascading effects, and the status of the response.

Recovery Mission Area - Recovery includes those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively. Support for recovery ensures a continuum of care for individuals to maintain and restore health, safety, independence and livelihoods, especially those who experience financial, emotional, and physical hardships. Successful recovery ensures that we emerge from any threat or hazard stronger and positioned to meet the needs of the future. Recovery capabilities support well-coordinated, transparent, and timely restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of infrastructure and housing; an economic base; health and social systems; and a revitalized cultural, historic, and environmental fabric.

Economic Recovery - Return economic and business activities (including food and agriculture) to a healthy state and develop new business and employment opportunities that result in an economically viable community.

Health and Social Services - Restore and improve health and social services capabilities and networks to promote the resilience, independence, health (including behavioral health), and well-being of the whole community.

Exercise Design Objectives

Exercise design objectives focus on improving understanding of a response concept, identifying opportunities or problems, and achieving a change in attitude. This exercise will focus on the following design objectives through the presented scenario:

  1. Discuss the ability to conduct a systematic planning process which has engaged the whole community.

  2. Discuss the capability to deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable and actionable information to the whole community.

  3. Discuss the capability to establish and maintain a unified and coordinated operational structure and process that integrates all critical stakeholders.

  4. Discuss the ability to stabilize critical infrastructure functions, minimize health and safety threats, and efficiently restore vital systems and services.

  5. Discuss the capability to provide life-sustaining services to the affected population.

  6. Discuss the capability to provide decision-makers with decision-relevant information regarding the nature and extent of hazards.

  7. Discuss the capability to return economic and business activities to a healthy state.

  8. Discuss the capability to restore and improve health and social services networks.


  • Players. Players respond to the situation presented, based on expert knowledge of response procedures, current plans and procedures, and insights derived from training.

  • Observers (Optional). Observers may support the group in developing responses to the situation during the discussion.

  • Facilitators. Facilitators provide situation updates and moderate discussions. They also provide additional information or resolve questions or conflict as required.

  • Lead Facilitator. The Lead Facilitator for the exercise will be an EMI staff member who will lead the virtual conduct of the exercise and interface with the Local Facilitator.

  • Local Facilitator. The Local Facilitator will moderate the exercise discussion, operate the local Video Teleconference (VTC) system, and interface with EMI. It is expected the Local Facilitator will recruit necessary players and exercise staff as required. The Local Facilitator will lead the virtual conduct of the exercise.

  • Evaluators (Optional). Evaluators are personnel who observe, record, and evaluate exercise activities. Evaluators will use Exercise Evaluation Guides to evaluate the capabilities identified in the exercise objectives and to provide input into the After Action Report.

Exercise Structure

This VTTX will be a multimedia, facilitated exercise. Players will participate in the following:

  • Hazard awareness briefing

  • Scenario modules

  • Discussion with guided questions moderated by an on-site facilitator

  • Brief-outs from each participating location after each module

Each module begins with a multimedia update that summarizes key events occurring within that time period. After the updates, participants review the situation and engage in local, facilitated group discussion of appropriate response and recovery issues. Each Local Facilitator will lead these discussions. Once the allotted discussion time has been used, each Local Facilitator (or chosen representative) will out-brief to EMI and the other virtual participants.

Following the official end of the exercise, Local Facilitators will lead their respective Hot Wash with their participants to address any ideas or issues that emerge from the exercise discussions. After the Local Hot Wash has concluded, Local Facilitators will then participate in a Facilitator’s out-brief led by the Lead Facilitator from EMI.

Each VTTX will run for approximately four (4) hours. The exercise schedule is defined in the table below:

15 Minutes


15 Minutes

Hazard Specific Briefing

60 Minutes

Module 1 – Preparedness & Initial Response

60 Minutes

Module 2 – Response

60 Minutes

Module 3 – Recovery

Exercise Guidelines

  • This VTTX is designed to engage participants in a no-fault, hazard-specific environment. Varying viewpoints are expected and differences of opinion may occur.

  • Respond on the basis of your knowledge of current plans and capabilities (i.e., you may use only existing assets) and insights derived from your training.

  • Decisions are not precedent setting and may not reflect your organization’s final position on a given issue. This exercise is an opportunity to discuss and present multiple options and possible solutions.

  • Issue identification is not as valuable as suggestions and recommended actions that could improve response and preparedness efforts. Problem-solving efforts should be the focus.

Assumptions and Artificialities

In any exercise, assumptions and artificialities may be necessary to complete play in the time allotted. During this exercise, the following apply:

  • The scenario is plausible and events occur as they are presented.

  • There is no hidden agenda and there are no trick questions.

  • All players receive information at the same time.

Module 1: Preparedness & Initial Response

Date: Tuesday, June 24

Time: 2300

Location: [Insert Local]
Greater than average tornado activity has occurred in your area in the months of May-June. Tornado types have ranged from F1-F4 based on weather conditions present and wind direction. Many homes, cars, small buildings, and power lines have been destroyed over this time period. Your state is currently under a presidential disaster declaration; Federal, as well as State agencies have been supporting the recovery effort by providing financial assistance for those communities that were affected.
Storm Prediction Center and National Weather Service (NWS) experts are monitoring weather conditions on a daily basis to provide timely information on the development of tornado-likely weather. These conditions are typically marked by increased thunderstorm activity in warm, moist air in advance of eastward-moving cold fronts. These thunderstorms have the capability to produce large hail and strong winds and, on occasion, tornados.
The active state of recovery efforts across much of the State has limited response resources and capabilities greatly. For example, most of the wireless telecommunication system providers in your community are without cellular services due to downed towers. Your community’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is active and is helping coordinate local recovery efforts.
City, county, and State officials are concerned that, because the responses to previous tornados have drawn upon mutual-aid agreements and memoranda of understanding throughout the State, local resources will not be capable of sustaining another tornado response, especially because so many resources are still being utilized in long-term response and recovery projects.
Wednesday, June 25 – 1400 hrs

The NWS has issued a tornado watch for [insert community name] and effective through 2000 hrs. The storm front is approaching [insert your location] from the southwest at 10 mph and is producing severe thunderstorms and small hail. Weather reports from areas southwest of [insert your location] indicate that the barometric pressure is dropping rapidly, with heavy lighting and wind gusts of up to 35 mph. Local media outlets are broadcasting the tornado watch, including shots of Doppler radar images and live reports near the severe weather.

Wednesday, June 25 – 1500 hrs

Heavy rain and lighting is now hitting [insert your location], with one inch of rain falling within the past hour. Local media Doppler radar systems are identifying wind funnels developing at high altitudes within the storm. They are advising residents to take the necessary safety precautions in the event of a tornado. Shortly after the report, multiple phone calls are received at your 9-1-1 center describing loud whooshing and booming sounds. Individuals that called the 9-1-1 center are asking if this is a tornado and what safety measures must be taken. The 9-1-1 center has forwarded these reports of a potential tornado sighting to the emergency manager, police, and fire chief. Tornado sirens can be heard in neighboring communities and some residents in your community are starting to hurry to get below ground.

Wednesday, June 25 – 1515 hrs

A tornado touches down in the southern part of your community in [insert specific area]. Tornado sirens blare out the warning to residents, as they are advised by severe weather alerts on radio and television to stay away from windows, seek shelter, and leave their vehicles, if possible. At this time, the tornado is measured moving northeast at 20-30 mph, with a width covering approximately 100 meters and wind speeds higher than 150 mph. Individuals living in the tornado’s path, including [insert specific areas] may be in serious danger and are warned to take immediate shelter.

As the tornado continues to move through the area, more than 50 emergency calls have been received by the 9-1-1 center from residents in the tornado’s path. Callers report cars, trees, mobile homes, and other large debris being picked up and thrown through the air.
As the tornado moves across your community it leaves damage in its wake, responders move in behind the storm to respond to the heavy volume of calls for emergency services. Some homes are completely destroyed and dozens of people require medical attention. The 9-1-1 center reports six individuals suffering from moderate lacerations and two individuals with serious leg wounds due to flying debris; two elderly people that may have suffered strokes; and a number of minor to moderate trauma injuries.
The damage done by the tornado has also caused various electrical fires, gas leaks, and limited power outages in parts of your community. Public utilities tell community officials that an estimated 20% of your community could be without power due to an unknown number of downed power lines and damaged circuit breakers. Local communications systems begin to experience difficulty as well because of damage sustained in the tornado and because they are overwhelmed by the volume of users. Communication difficulties are experienced by incident command staff as well trying to coordinate with 911 dispatch and the EOC.

Key Issues

  • Previous tornados reduce response capabilities for potential tornados

  • NWS monitors weather conditions for a potential tornado

  • NWS issues tornado warning for parts of your State

  • Heavy rain and lightning in and around your community

  • Tornado sirens sound in neighboring community, sending residents running for shelter

  • Tornado touches down, causing severe damage to areas in its path

  • Emergency services requests rise dramatically in the wake of the tornado

  • Various injuries reported, including head trauma, puncture wounds, and stroke

  • Search and rescue operations are underway for trapped victims

  • Electrical fires, gas leaks, and communication failures crop up across the community


The following questions are provided as suggested general subjects you may wish to address as the discussion progresses. Please feel free to identify any additional requirements, critical issues, decisions, or questions that should be addressed at this time.

  1. What are your community’s potential preparedness efforts at this point? Which actions get priority?

  1. What warning and emergency information systems are available in your community and who is responsible to activate them?

  1. Does your agency use Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and have prescript messages?

  1. How will the community activate resources in the current situation?

  1. What is the level of interoperability among existing media, weather, and information systems?

  1. What public education resources are available to the community to plan for tornados?

  1. What are some potential sources of assistance and how will these requests be made?

  1. Can response activities take place at this point?

  1. Are there sufficient back-up radio communication systems to support a coordinated response? Do you use amateur radio for communications?


Module 2: Response

Date: Wednesday, June 25

Time: 1530

Location: [Insert Local]
The tornado vanished at around 1528, and though pockets of heavy rains continue to move toward the northeast [insert location northeast of the community], the sky has lightened a bit and tornado conditions are dissipating over your community.
Wednesday, June 25 – 1630 hrs

Workers assessing damage at a local warehouse/factory [insert name] report to local police that a large hazardous material storage container located in back of the building was severely damaged and is leaking a milky brown liquid. A preliminary assessment by local fire crews indicates that a hazmat team is needed to clean up the spill. A liaison has been sent to the mobile command post to request assistance.

Wednesday, June 25 – 2000 hrs

The analysis of the tornado by the Storm Prediction Center specifies that the tornado, which was on the ground for just under 15 minutes and traveled more than four miles, has been classified as a type F3, with estimated winds speeds of 170 miles per hour. Weather conditions for the remainder of the week will remain clear and warm with highs in the mid-70s. Public utilities have confirmed that 20% of your residents have lost power, most of which are located in the southwestern part of town.

Preliminary damage assessments of your community count 24 homes that have been completely destroyed, with an additional 40 homes suffering mild to moderate damage. Incident command has requested two Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams to search for citizens thought to be trapped underneath large debris. These search and rescue operations have identified 10 individuals, so far, that were trapped under debris but only suffered minor injuries. These victims have been transported by medical units to local hospitals with symptoms of trauma, shock, and some minor lacerations.
Radio communications are restored and incident command determines that many of the roads in your community, including [insert specific roadways] must be closed due to downed trees, flipped vehicles, and other damage. Railroad tracks running across the southern part of the community were lifted out of the ground at various points along a two-mile stretch of track and incident command has asked that the regional rail company be notified of this event immediately to stop any approaching trains. Debris management teams are contacted to begin providing assistance in logistics support at the following locations.
Wednesday, June 25 – 2100 hrs

Residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged are requesting sheltering assistance from the local Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross is asking Incident Command for a backup power generator to ensure that the shelter remains useable for the community’s residents as recovery operations progress.

Media outlets are speculating that the Governor has declared a state of emergency for [insert your location]. Shortly after the news report airs, residents flood the community’s customer service lines with requests for FEMA assistance and questions regarding the application process for reimbursements.
Thursday, June 26 – 1000 hrs

Due the intensity and length of the tornado, a total of 124 patients were evaluated and treated at area hospitals, with five fatalities occurring at the scene; all deaths are attributed to head trauma suffered during the tornado. Of all the patients evaluated and treated, approximately one-third required admission while the rest were treated and sent home from the emergency department. Almost 50% of victims treated at area hospitals were transported by local EMS services.

Thursday, June 26 – 1200 hrs

Final reports from damage assessment teams are 36 homes have been completely destroyed with an additional 51 homes suffering moderate damage. Of the partially damaged structures, 11 are declared unsafe for current living and must be repaired. Information from law enforcement agencies indicate that three individuals are still missing in the vicinity of a collapsed building [insert specific location]. Public utilities have restored electrical services to all areas though approximately 1,000 customers are still without power. Power lines on these properties are being repaired as quickly as possible, but the utility company is requesting assistance with removing debris in order to access the power infrastructure.

While almost 25% of debris has already been cleared around the community, many roadways including [insert specific roads and streets] still remain blocked or closed.

Key Issues

  • Hazardous material container is damaged and leaking; hazmat response team is present

  • Search and rescue operations look for missing individuals

  • Incident command requests additional search and rescue teams

  • Train tracks, trees, and homes uprooted in tornado; damage being assessed

  • Requests come in for sheltering services from those whose homes were destroyed


The following questions are provided as suggested general subjects you may wish to address as the discussion progresses. Identify any additional requirements, critical issues, decisions, or questions that should be addressed at this time.

  1. Should the community declare a local state of emergency? Who should be consulted when considering a declaration?

  1. How will a common operating picture be maintained within the incident command structure?

  1. Based on the medical needs of the community, what systems are in place to support patient tracking, identification, and triage? How is this information coordinated between incident command, the hospital system, EMS, and multi-agency coordination system?

  1. What resources would a state and/or presidential disaster declaration bring?

  1. What mutual aid agreements could be drawn upon? Have private organizations been approached about providing assistance to the community? Have these agreements been made in advance?


Module 3: Recovery

Date: Monday, June 30

Time: 1200

Location: [Insert Local]
Almost all debris management projects are completed. While the need remains for additional construction and repair on a few major roadways, all roads are currently open with law enforcement officers posted at major reconstruction sites to help ensure traffic safety. The remaining projects for your community are focused on long-term development for rebuilding homes, offices, and government facilities. Displaced families will need temporary housing for approximately 3 months while permanent residences are rebuilt. These residents continue to call customer service lines requesting information about financial assistance.
Total property damage of the tornado is estimated at $7 million, with another projected $8 million in lost revenue. In addition, 11 reports were filed with the local police that looting took place in the immediate aftermath of the tornado; the electronics, hardware and other devices that were stolen are estimated at a value of $50,000.
The local public health department is requesting assistance from the State in both testing environmental conditions near hazardous material exposures and in counseling individuals that experienced emotional and psychological trauma from the loss of loved ones and/or homes. The local public health department also needs help answering phone calls inquiring about the nature of available mental health services and the costs associated with the programs.
Federal and State officials request to take a tour of the damaged area so that individual and public assistance programs may be initiated. The state emergency management agency is requesting formal damage assessments and specific data on homeowners covered by private insurance policies for tornados. The financial assistance process will be coordinated between State and Federal officials at the Joint Field Office (JFO).

Key Issues

  • Almost all debris removal efforts are complete; roadways are opened up

  • Citizens request individual and community financial assistance

  • Red Cross and others provide long-term sheltering to displaced persons

  • Flood of calls from the public inquiring into mental health services offered

  • Property damage and lost revenue estimates are in the millions of dollars


The following questions are provided as suggested general subjects you may wish to address as the discussion progresses. Identify any additional requirements, critical issues, decisions, or questions that should be addressed at this time.

  1. What affects will the transition from response to recovery have on emergency services?

  1. What decisions should be made by policy and decision makers concerning resource management during the recovery phase?

  1. How are resources demobilized; how are other resources activated?

  1. How will information and resource management coordination occur between local, state, and Federal agencies during the recovery period?

  1. What role does mental health services play in the response and how are they incorporated into the incident command system (ICS)? Are these services available to first responders?

  1. How will the weaknesses of the response and recovery be improved for the future?

  1. What are the economic impacts of such an event on the community? How will local businesses and residents be affected?


Appendix A: Acronyms




After Action Report


American Red Cross


Common Operating Picture


U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Department of Health


Exercise Design Team


Exercise Evaluation Guide


Emergency Management Institute


Emergency Medical Services


Emergency Operations Center


Federal Emergency Management Agency


Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program


Incident Command


Incident Command System


Joint Information Center


Integrated Public Alert and Warning System


Mutual Aid Agreement


Memorandum of Agreement


Memorandum of Understanding


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


National Weather Service


Point of Contact


Situational Awareness


Situation Manual


Tabletop Exercise


Unified Command


Video Teleconference


Virtual Tabletop Exercise

Appendix B: Hazard Specific Information

Hazard Specific Information


Hazard Summary

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as twisters or cyclones, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology, in a wider sense, to name any closed low pressure circulation. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (180 km/h), are about 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (480 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).

Various types of tornadoes include the land spout, multiple vortex tornado, and waterspout. Waterspouts are characterized by a spiraling funnel-shaped wind current, connecting to a large cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud. They are generally classified as non-supercellular tornadoes that develop over bodies of water, but there is disagreement over whether to classify them as true tornadoes. These spiraling columns of air frequently develop in tropical areas close to the equator, and are less common at high latitudes. Other tornado-like phenomena that exist in nature include the gustnado, dust devil, fire whirls, and steam devil; downbursts are frequently confused with tornadoes, though their action is dissimilar.

Hazard Terminology

Dry line: The boundary where winds from the Gulf of Mexico and Canada meet and clash

Eye: The calm, cloudless center of a hurricane around which the storm winds whirl.
Funnel: The spinning cloud that reaches down to earth from the storm.
Mesocyclone: The column of storm winds stretching upward and downward through the storm clouds, and from which the tornado funnels drop.
Satellite tornadoes: Smaller tornadoes that spin off from major tornadoes and may go their own way.
SKYWARN: Network of volunteer tornado spotters
Supercells: The storm clouds that give birth to mesocyclones and their tornadoes.
Tornado: A powerful column of winds spiraling around a center of low atmospheric pressure
Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
TOTO: A device dropped in the path of a tornado to measure its strength, speed, and direction
Waterspout: A tornado occurring over the sea; a twisting, spiraling funnel over the water

The Fujita Scale

F-Scale Number

Intensity Phrase

Wind Speed

Type of Damage Done


Gale tornado

40-72 mph

Some damage to chimneys; breaks branches off trees; pushes over shallow-rooted trees; damages sign boards.


Moderate tornado

73-112 mph

The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.


Significant tornado

113-157 mph

Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated.


Severe tornado

158-206 mph

Roof and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forests uprooted


Devastating tornado

207-260 mph

Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.


Incredible tornado

261-318 mph

Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-enforced concrete structures badly damaged.


Inconceivable tornado

319-379 mph

These winds are very unlikely. The small area of damage they might produce would probably not be recognizable along with the mess produced by F4 and F5 wind that would surround the F6 winds. Missiles, such as cars and refrigerators would do serious secondary damage that could not be directly identified as F6 damage. If this level is ever achieved, evidence for it might only be found in some manner of ground swirl pattern, for it may never be identifiable through engineering studies

Appendix C: Participant Feedback Form

Please enter your responses in the form field or check box after the appropriate selection.









Part I: Recommendations and Corrective Actions

  1. Based on the discussions today and the tasks identified, list the top three strengths and/or areas that need improvement.

  1. Identify the action steps that should be taken to address the issues identified above. For each action step, indicate if it is a high, medium, or low priority.

Corrective Action


  1. Describe the corrective actions that relate to your area of responsibility. Who should be assigned responsibility for each corrective action?

Corrective Action

Recommended Assignment

  1. List the policies, plans, and procedures that should be reviewed, revised, or developed. Indicate the priority level for each.

Item for Review


Part II: Assessment of Exercise Design and Conduct
Please rate, on a scale of 1 to 5, your overall assessment of the exercise relative to the statements provided below, with 1 indicating strong disagreement with the statement and 5 indicating strong agreement.

Assessment Factor



Strongly Agree

The exercise was well structured and organized.






The exercise scenario was plausible and realistic.






The multimedia presentation helped the participants understand and become engaged in the scenario.






The facilitator(s) was knowledgeable about the material, kept the exercise on target, and was sensitive to group dynamics.






The Situation Manual used during the exercise was a valuable tool throughout the exercise.






Participation in the exercise was appropriate for someone in my position.






The participants included the right people in terms of level and mix of disciplines.






Part III: Participant Feedback

What changes would you make to this exercise? Please provide any recommendations on how this exercise or future exercises could be improved or enhanced.

Rev. April 2013


For official use only (fouo)

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