Exercise Toolkit

Welcome to the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Exercise Toolkit.  This website has been designed to provide San Francisco departments, agencies, businesses, and communities the tools and resources that are necessary to plan and execute organized and productive emergency preparedness exercises.

Exercise Cycle

Most of the information on this website comes directly out of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).  HSEEP highlights that the success of individual exercises relies on the execution of four distinct phases, which are collectively known as the exercise cycle.  The exercise cycle moves in a linear manner through design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning (Homeland Security. April, 2013.  Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program: HSEEP Fundamentals and Exercise Program Management).

Below is an overview of the seven different types of exercises, ranging from least to most complex. These exercises are divided into two categories: Discussion-Based and Operations-Based. Follow the below links for more information about Discussion-Based Exercises, Operations-Based Exercises, and each of the seven exercise types.



Provide a forum for discussing or developing plans, agreements, training and procedures.



Informal discussion based exercise, used to teach or orientate participants.



Formal discussion-based exercise, used to build or achieve a product.



Involves senior staff, elected or appointed officials in an informal group discussion.



Simulation of operations using rules, data, and procedures.


Involves deployment of resources and requires execution of plans, policies, agreements and procedures.



Supervised activity that tests a specific operation or function of a single agency.



Single or multi-agency activity designed to evaluate capabilities and multiple functions.



High-stress multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional activity involving actual deployment of resources.