To appreciate the importance of drills, one must also understand the three basic types of drills:

■ Tabletop Drill. A facilitated analysis of an emergency situation in an informal, stress-free environment. It is designed to elicit constructive discussion as participants examine and resolve problems based on existing operational plans and identify where those plans need to be refined.

The success of the exercise is largely determined by group participation in the identification of problem areas. There is minimal attempt at simulation in a tabletop exercise. Equipment is not used, resources are not deployed, and time pressures are not introduced. This is the simplest type of exercise to conduct in terms of planning, preparation, and coordination.

■ Functional Drill. This type of drill simulates an emergency in the most realistic manner possible, short of moving real people and equipment to an actual site. As the name suggests, its goal is to test or evaluate the capability of one or more functions in the context of an emergency event.

■ Full-Scale Drill. As close to the real thing as possible, a full-scale drill is a comparatively lengthy event that takes place on location using—inasmuch as is possible—equipment and personnel that would be called upon in a real event.