Start the New Year Prepared | Enhance Your Emergency Preparedness Training Program Using Our NEW Emergency Exercises Package

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and its Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center would like to wish you a safe and healthy new year! As we are all thinking about the start of a new calendar year, now is a perfect time to plan when to integrate exercises into your school or higher ed preparedness activity schedule.. Exercising the plan is an essential component of the planning process and it helps stakeholders with a role in prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery to practice what they will do before, during, and after an emergency event. Exercises are also great opportunities to build partnerships and work with community partners, and can be done in the form of tabletop exercises, drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exercises.

To support school and higher ed capacity-building and planning efforts, the REMS TA Center has developed a NEW Emergency Exercises Package designed to help K-12 schools and school districts strengthen their emergency operations plans (EOPs) and identify gaps and weaknesses. This package aligns with the federally recommended focus on threat- and hazard-specific planning, featuring an emphasis on infectious disease outbreaks and power outages. Specifically, this supplemental package includes:

  • an introduction to exercises, instructions for conducting tabletop exercises, and resources for exercises;
  • a tabletop exercise for an infectious disease outbreak, including a podcast, scenario and questions/injects, and resources; and
  • a tabletop exercise for a power outage, including a podcast, scenario and questions/injects, and resources.

Download the package via the REMS TA Center’s Specialized Training Packages Web page at Once you have accessed the landing page, scroll down to Supplemental Exercise and Training Packages to download the Emergency Exercises Package.

#ICYMI | Related Federal Partner Resources
Like ED’s OSHS, other federal partners in school and higher ed emergency preparedness create resources year-round to support EOP development and general planning efforts. In case you missed it (ICYMI), in late 2018, our partners at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Academic Engagement released Exercise Starter Kits (ESK) for institutions of higher education (IHEs) and K-12 schools. Education agencies may use these ESKs to conduct tabletop exercises and will find within each an exercise briefing, situation manual, facilitator guide, participant feedback form template, and after-action report template. ESKs on cyber breaches, hurricanes, and active shooter incidents are currently available for IHEs, while ESKs on active shooter incidents are currently available for K-12 schools. Additional information and how to request an ESK may be found online at