Simulation-Based Training for Initial Response Personnel

Homeland Preparedness Tracking #NM-002-RESP

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The decisions that are made, or not made, during the first thirty to sixty minutes of a critical incident, i.e., WMD/terrorist attack, hazardous materials (either intentional or accidental), barricaded gunman/hostage situation, will dramatically impact the numbers of casualties and amount of property damage that result. These decisions, which are typically made by first and second level street supervisors and in some cases non-supervisory personnel, will determine whether the incident is brought under control in a timely fashion or allowed to accelerate.

Because of the potentially serious consequences that can arise from such an event, i.e., loss of life, litigation, loss of public confidence, etc., each and every supervisor and command officer must be ready to manage this crisis phase. Yet our experience shows that these extraordinary circumstances arise only a few times in any supervisor's career. Given this lack of frequency, it is difficult to expect competence in these highly charged situations unless adequate preparation is provided.

Once stabilization of an event has been achieved, the first line supervisors need strategies that allow them to move ahead of Incident Acceleration and build a "Decision Making Team" to bring about a successful resolution of the event. This course is based upon the National Incident Management System (NIMS) utilizing the "Incident Command System" and the concept of "Unified Command" as a basis for this response at the command post. Taking the appropriate steps to return to normal operations and IMPROVE THE AGENCY'S RESPONSE TO THE NEXT INCIDENT are also covered in detail.


It has also been our experience that individuals will act out of their last most significant and emotionally impressionable experience, good or bad, in response to a new situation. The uniqueness of this program is that within the training environment we can provide a positive and emotionally charged simulated experience utilizing our Model City Simulator? to manage critical incidents of all types.

In this all hazards approach the students are instructed in the Seven Critical Tasks? that must be accomplished during the initial phase of an incident and then allowed in a simulated environment to practice that decision making. A scale 96 sq. ft. Model City Simulator? and other specialized equipment are set up on your site for this program.


When the participant completes this course, he/she will be able to:

  • Define a critical incident and list the five (5) major categories of critical incidents.
  • Define a WMD incident according to Office of Domestic Preparedness guidelines.
  • List and describe the four (4) phases of a critical incident.
  • List the three (3) major objectives of the immediate responding supervisor to an emergency scene and demonstrate a command of those objectives during simulated exercises.
  • List the "Seven Critical Tasks?" to be accomplished during the Crisis Phase of a critical incident.
  • Describe and demonstrate the type of management style required during the Crisis Phase of a critical incident.
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage various types of critical incidents by applying the critical tasks in simulated exercises.
  • Describe the characteristics of a critical incident during the Crisis Phase and how command and control shift as the incident progresses.
  • Be able to locate and identify chemicals and determine proper safety actions by using the DOT Emergency Response Guidebook.
  • Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of "Critical Incident Stress", and understand the importance of debriefing and counseling to alleviate or reduce its impact.
  • Describe the characteristics of an incident that require a transition to the Scene Management Phase.
  • Outline the mandates of Homeland Security Presidential Directive Five (HSPD-5).
  • List and describe the main components of the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • Describe and practice in a simulated environment the concept of "Unified Command".
  • Define the term "interoperability" as it relates to communications, and describe the initial steps necessary to achieve it in a critical incident.
  • Demonstrate the ability to establish a "Decision-Making Team" utilizing appropriate components of ICS and Unified Command in response to a variety of incidents.


The exercises will be conducted on a 96 square foot Model City Simulator?. This elaborate simulation system will be provided by BowMac Educational Services and transported to the training site. Use of the simulator provides a realistic environment required to provide participants with firsthand experience in managing a major incident. As previously mentioned, the course by its very design is highly interactive and instructor intensive.


The course requires two separate classrooms, one for the model city and another for lecture and small group exercises. The instructional classroom requires a video playback with monitor, flip chart, overhead transparency projector, LCD (PowerPoint) projector, and seating capacity for a maximum of 25 students.

The model city simulation room (24' x 20' minimum size) requires four 6' or 8' tables of equal height. Chairs are not necessary or desirable in this location.


This course is a must for all supervisory and command level personnel who respond to incidents. This includes but is not limited to police, fire, emergency medical service personnel.

NOTE: More than 50% of this course is actual simulated experience in handling critical incidents.

Maximum class size is 25.


Critical Incident Management

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Critical Incident Management
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