So why all the exercises?

  • Published
  • By By Jon Pieters
  • 934th Airlift Wing Emergency Management
 Well, the easy answer is because the AFI say so, right? Wrong, while this might be true, it is not the main reason.

Let's compare exercises to taking a Physical Fitness test.  You do not just wake one day and say that you are going to do 65 push-ups, 70 sit-ups and run the 1.5 miles in 8 minutes.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you have to exercise your body to get into shape.  You have to prepare for it.

So back to the original question, "So why all the exercises?" To test our preparedness is why we conduct exercises.  Whether it is preparing for a severe weather event or completing your CBTs and individual medical readiness prior to a deployment, you are preparing.

So how do you prepare?

First, start by knowing the hazards within your area, whether these are natural disasters (tornadoes or floods), man-made accidental hazards (chemical spill on a highway) or man-made intentional hazards (active shooter event, CBRN or mortar attack).  You must educate yourself on the hazards so you can make a plan to mitigate those hazards.

Second, make a plan.  This is simply listing the actions you need to take to be safe during and recovering from the event and what can you do mitigate the hazards.  Example, if you live/work near a chemical plant and an accidental spill happened, what would you do?  Would you evacuate the area or would you shelter in place?  You would need to make a plan to evacuate with a specific amount of time and a plan for sheltering in place if you could not make it out in that time frame.  By making a plan you are describing the actions you will take so you know what to do when the event happens.

Finally, exercise the plan.  If in my plan it says I can load up everything I need for 72 hours and leave my house within 15 minutes, by exercising the plan I am proving that I can accomplish this task.  If my plan states my Post Attack Reconnaissance (PAR) Team can sweep the building in 20 minutes, but it takes 30 minutes, then I need to change my plan and setup up two PAR teams to cover the building. 

More information on preparedness can be found at 

Preparedness is why we exercise.