Teaching Disaster Management Using a Multi-Phase Simulation

November 2018 (VOL. 36, NO. 3)

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This article details the development and implementation of a simulated disaster scenario for disaster policy and emergency management students. Through a coordinated effort across a disaster policy course and emergency management course, this pedagogical method was used to apply the theoretical lessons and course content to a simulation of a complex disaster event. In keeping with the FEMA Whole Community Approach, the simulation involved the full range of community members and stakeholders. Students played roles of government officials at local, state, and national levels, community members, non-profit organizations, emergency managers, and first responders working in coordination to respond to an increasingly complex disaster scenario of an extensive power outage. Detailed in this article is the process of developing and implementing the simulation, with information useful for other instructors who might implement this or similar exercises in their courses. This exercise can be adapted for multiple disciplines and courses related to disasters and emergency management.