Exercise Outbreak Orange

Welcome to Exercise Outbreak Orange

Exercise Outbreak Orange is a hybrid tabletop exercise, intended to validate the Players’ ability to complete common tasks at a Local Authority Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), or Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC). Additionally, the exercise prompts Players to consider the psychosocial impacts on individuals infected with a severe, transmissible illness, their families, first responders/receivers and the broader community.

The exercise materials were originally focused on a pandemic event taking place in British Columbia. Some inputs were customized to reflect participating communities (such as referencing local hospitals). Participants were placed into one of two groups – a Local Authority EOC, or a Health EOC.

The Local Authority EOC was staffed with a cross-section of government workers. These included representatives from Police Service, Fire & Rescue Services, Emergency Medical Services (e.g., paramedics), Emergency Social Services, Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Bylaw Officers, Emergency Mangers, and other available program managers.“Emergency Social Services” is the name given for the services that provide for the care of community residents. This can include providing shelter, food, clothing, and family reunification, as well as personal services including emotional support, first aid, pet care, child care and transportation.

The Health EOC was unique in that it was staffed by a variety of health employees. These participants primarily consisted of staff from specific BC Health Authorities. (In British Columbia, health authorities plan and coordinate the delivery of provincial programs in a specified region, and who also oversee the provision of highly specialized services.) Additional staff members included employees from the BC Centre for Disease Control, a BC agency that provides provincial and national leadership in public health through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services.

The exercise scenario focuses on the management of impacts caused by the movement of students infected with a virulent disease. At the start of the exercise Players are provided with a series of news clips describing the activities of local university students performing fieldwork overseas. Players learn that the students were involved in a series of historical grave excavations as part of their forensic anthropology program. As the exercise begins, Players are called into an emergency planning meeting, either at the EOC or the HEOC. Players are informed that at least one of the returning students has been admitted to hospital displaying symptoms of smallpox. As the exercise unfolds, Players are confronted with a number of situations that they must decide how to deal with, e.g., the movement of potentially infected students around the province, the need to maintain/enforce quarantine on “contacts”, and the need to appropriately resource & train staff members. In each case, Players rely on their training, experience, and plans to decide the most appropriate course of action.

The video inputs produced for this exercise reference locations and agencies in British Columbia. During the exercise, the Controller will need to provide local context for the Players. For example, the Controller should inform Players that they should assume the video reflects events at a local university; that Health Authorities refer to local health agencies; etc.The documents used in the exercise can be updated to reflect local areas.

Please Note Before You Start:

  1. This exercise is intended to be used with personnel who work with in a Local Authority EOC (typically response agency and local government staff), or in a Health EOC at the health authority/health region level. Participants will work out of one of two pods – the Local Authority EOC pod or the Health EOC pod. Each participant should have a basic understanding of the facility they will be representing. For example, staff at the Local Authority EOC should have EOC training; staff at the Health EOC should have an understanding of the emergency management functions and activities used in implementing quarantine and other public health measures. If there are some personnel participating that have not taken any formal training, it is best to partner them up with those who have been trained. For both pods, it is beneficial to have a cross-section of personnel participating in the exercise. In all cases, Players will play their actual role, drawing on their real world experience to fulfill the role. The scenario is intended to reflect events actually occurring in their jurisdiction.
  2. There will be simulated casualties in this exercise, and some of the audio-visual and audio inputs into the exercise may be disturbing and distressful to some exercise players.
  3. You will need to designate a Lead Controller to run and manage the exercise. The Lead Controller will need to take the time to review and download all of the relevant materials and to follow the directions in the Controller Guidebook. The time required for the designated Lead Controller to become sufficiently conversant with the material is expected to take a day. The Lead Controller will not be able to actively participate in the exercise.
  4. Exercise Outbreak Orange will make use of two specific locations (known throughout this document as “pods”). There will be a Local Authority EOC and a Health EOC. The ideal location for this exercise would be at a Local Authority EOC, making use of breakout rooms for the Health EOC. This will allow for Players to use the resources and materials that are regularly available in providing support to emergency response. However, if an EOC & breakout rooms are not available, an alternate location may be chosen. These alternates may include boardrooms, classrooms, or other meeting areas. When arranging a location for your exercise, make sure it is away from regular office distractions. The meeting space should have room for the number of Players attending. Flip charts and paper or whiteboards should also be provided. At a minimum, you will require: two rooms for participants (or three rooms if the Health Portfolio is participating), one room for controllers and a minimum of one computer with speakers per room for playing the Input Video.
  5. The exercise will use the fictional community of “Denton” for this exercise, and all supporting maps, materials and information necessary to become oriented to the community will be available to be downloaded during the training and prior to running the exercise. Nevertheless, your plans and processes (i.e., whether or not you use an Incident Command based approach or some other emergency management system) will be adaptable to this exercise.
  6. Two computer systems are required to simultaneously run audio and video files in each of the exercise rooms. You will need to ensure that you can accommodate the technical requirements to run the exercise. View the computer technical requirements to run the exercise.
  7. While this exercise was designed to accommodate an international audience it was developed in Canada and the language used for the exercise is in English.The exercise is framed within a terrorist event, and while no restricted information is required to participate in the exercise, consideration may need to be given to the confidentiality of materials and strategies that exercise participants bring to the exercise.
  8. It is important to remember that even though this is an exercise, for many players who are immersed in the exercise it may seem very real; there is always the possibility that players may experience some significant reactions during or after the exercise. Thus, it will be important to have someone available after the exercise to provide not only an operational debriefing for exercise players but also to provide an opportunity for players to receive a debrief to express any emotional or physical responses they may have experienced and to receive any necessary support for those responses.

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Acknowledgements

This project received funding from the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP), a federal program led by Defence Research and Development Canada, in partnership with Public Safety Canada.

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