Exercise Situation Manual (SitMan)

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Exercise Situation Manual (SitMan)


The Campus Conflagration – A Response Coordination Tabletop Exercise will serve as an opportunity for representatives from local Fire Departments, Police Departments, Emergency Medical Services, North Shore Medical Center, Salem State University and other invited agencies to assess their capability to coordinate a unified response to a dormitory explosion and fire and to provide assistance to injured and displaced students.

Core Capabilities

Capabilities-based planning focuses on planning under uncertainty because the next event or disaster can never be forecast with complete accuracy. Therefore, capabilities-based planning takes an all-hazards approach to planning and preparation that builds capabilities which can be applied to a wide variety of incidents. The capability selected for this exercise is:

  • Operational Coordination

This capability provides the foundation for development of the exercise design objectives and scenario. The purpose of this exercise is to measure and validate performance of this capability and its associated critical tasks.

Exercise Objectives

The exercise will focus on the following design objectives to guide exercise play.

  1. Assess the ability of the exercise participants to coordinate:

  • Life Safety

  • Communication

  • Site Security

  • Survivor Identification

  • Transportation

  • Survivor Support

  • Continuity of Operation / Education


  • Players respond to the situation presented based on expert knowledge of response procedures, current plans and procedures, and insights derived from training.

  • Facilitators provide situation updates and moderate discussions. They also provide additional information or resolve questions as required. Facilitators are responsible for keeping discussion on track and ensuring all responses are submitted within the ONX System.

  • Evaluators observe and record player discussions and actions. Evaluators complete Exercise Evaluation Guides (EEGs) to provide substantive assessment for inclusion in the After Action Report.

Exercise Structure

This will be a multimedia, facilitated tabletop exercise conducted through the ONX System. As scenario information and injects are presented within the ONX System, exercise participants are expected to discuss and formulate actions as a team. Participants will examine the current situation and engage in a group discussion of appropriate response issues based on their plans and procedures. All discussions and decisions should be input into the ONX System for inclusion in exercise reports. Discussion questions and scenario information may be presented in the form of multiple choice question, short answer response, multimedia message and / or map.

Exercise Guidelines

  • This is an open, low-stress, no-fault environment. Varying viewpoints, even disagreements, are expected.

  • Respond based on your knowledge of current plans and capabilities (i.e., you may request the use of existing assets) and insights derived from training.

  • Decisions are not precedent setting and may not reflect the organization’s final position on a given issue. This is an opportunity to discuss and present multiple options and possible solutions.

  • Issue identification is not as valuable as suggestions and recommended actions that could improve response and preparedness efforts. Problem-solving efforts should be the focus.

Assumptions and Artificialities

In any exercise a number of assumptions and artificialities may be necessary to complete play in the time allotted. During this exercise, the following apply:

  • The scenario is plausible, and events occur as they are presented.

  • There is no “hidden agenda”, nor any trick questions.

  • All players receive information at the same time.


On a cold, snowy Friday night in January, four students from Atlantic Hall decided to pull a prank on the residents of Marsh Hall. They decided to build and set off a smoke bomb near the HVAC system in Marsh Hall. This would cause everyone to have to evacuate into the cold and snow. 

Part of their plan is to disable Marsh Hall’s sprinkler system because they believe that the smoke bomb will cause the sprinkler system to active and cause extensive water damage, which would get them in serious trouble. 
At 11:57 PM, the four students enter Marsh Hall disabling the sprinkler system. They then walk up to the second floor where they set off the device.  However, instead of just producing smoke, the device explodes igniting a fire.

Campus Conflagration Tabletop Exercise www.drc-group.com

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