​​The ​​​​State Emergency Management Exercise Framework

Exercising allows agencies to identify weaknesses and test solutions in a controlled, safe environment, allowing us to be better prepared. WA has 28 identified hazards each with a corresponding State Hazard Plan. Previous policy required all these plans to be exercised annually which was a significant burden on the EM sector. The new framework is more flexible and will allow agencies and local governments to better determine what they need to exercise to improve capabilities.

The State EM Exercise Framework was approved by the SEMC on 7 December 2018. The key change brought about by this framework is moving the focus away from exercising the response to hazards and hazard plans to exercising capability. The reason the sector is moving to this new framework is because the capabilities that enable agencies to respond and efficiently combat hazards are often common across all hazards.

To date WA has not been challenged by simultaneous catastrophic events such as state-wide floods, fires and cyclones like our eastern counterparts. Capability based exercising leverages off the SEMC emergency management Capability Framework which reflects the current best thinking on assessing preparedness within Western Australia.

The SEMC Capability Framework identifies a series of core capabilities and associated achievement objectives across the aspects of preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery. When informed by risk, the seven capability areas namely, Governance, Emergency Response, Resources, Community Involvement, Planning and Mitigation, Impact Management and Recovery, and Analysis and Continuous Improvement provide the common themes to be exercised.

​​​The State Emergency Management Exercise Framework consists of three major components:

  • A continuous Emergency Management Agency (EMA) capability-based Exercise program(Emergency Management Agencies include Hazard Management Agencies, Combat Agencies and Support Organisations as prescribed in the EM Regulations)
  • A State Level exercise program, and
  • A State Exercise Coordination Team to provide support to the Emergency Management Agency and State level exercise programs.

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The Exercise Cycle​

The mechanics of the new exercise framework revolve around the analysis of capabilities and the development of multiyear agency Exercise Schedules which will be consolidated into the State Exercise Calendar. Go to the Exercise Cycle page​ to learn more about how the framework works together.

The State Exercise

Under the State Emergency Management Exercise Framework, a State exercise will be held every three years. The State Exercise page provides the latest updates on the development of the next State exercise.

State Exercise Calendar

The State-wide exercise calendar has been developed to increase opportunities for collaboration, share learnings, reduce the duplication of effort and give better visibility to exercising across the State.​ Go to the Calendar page to view and edit your districts exercises.

Managing Exercises Training

​The Managing Exercises online course has been designed to provide the EM Sector with greater accessibility to exercise training which will help with your preparedness to deal with hazards. Go to the Managing Exercise Training page to commence your online learning. 

Templates and Resources

A number of tools have been developed to help agencies use the framework and also assist them to comply with policy requirements. These include:


  • The WA Managing Exercises Guideline – a guideline to assist agencies develop, write, run and manage exercises.
  • The WA Managing Exercises Templates – a suite of templates to provide guidance and consistency in the development and reporting on exercises.
  • The WA Managing Exercises Online Course – a course designed to support the Managing Exercise Guideline.


Reporting of Exercises

An important part of exercising is the learnings that come from them. In the past the reporting on exercising has been ad hoc and learnings have largely been siloed within agencies. The framework aims to make the lessons and insights obtained from exercises more available so everyone can benefit from the experience of others.

To do this the exercise reporting process has been formalised. EMAs are required to submit their exercise reports directly to the SECT who will provide the SEMC with a regular update on exercise activity across the State. Local governments are required to submit their post-exercise reports to their DEMCs, as soon as practicable after an exercise. The DEMCs will note any findings or actions arising from the reports, collate them and forward them to the SECT.

A suite of standardised templates and other documents to assist with this process is available via a Templates and Resources page on the SEMC Exercising webpage.