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Church Tabletop Exercise Template - Category 4 Hurricane

Resilience is the ability to absorb the impact of an interruption, disruption or loss while continuing to provide an acceptable level of uninterrupted service. This exercise helps build resilience.



Functional Area



Rules for Players

·         Relax…this is a no-fault, low-stress exercise
·         Respond based on your current capability
·         Feel free to improvise 


This scenario will consist of an exercise during which members of the Crisis Management Team (CMT) will be challenged to determine the actions you would take for a specific disaster scenario. Our test disaster in Scenario Two consists of a power outage due to a hurricane. You will walk through the actions you would take per our disaster recovery plan.  The objective of this exercise is to assess the viability of the plan, find flaws and missions and improve the plan. It also educates staff and recovery team members about the plan strategies, limitations and assumptions. 


In this scenario, on a Sunday morning, a hurricane that was predicted to travel east and north suddenly shifts west for a direct hit to the area. With little official warning, it goes from a Category 2 to Category 4 in the hours while people are arriving and leaving for church. Given the ferocity of the storm, you must decide if you will shelter in place or let parishioners go home. Conduct the exercise based on which you choose.

Crisis Management Testing

This crisis management testing exercise process works to establish a clear procedure is available if we have to escalate from an incident response to full crisis management. This exercise helps to train crisis team members are trained in their role so they know what to do if the CMT is activated. The CMT must manage the details of the crisis situation so that it has minimum impact of business operations. At the end of the exercise, we will have a better idea of what measures need to be in place for all critical objects and assets. This will guarantee continuity of processes in an acceptable time after a crisis.

Scenario Test Record

Crisis Management Team
Advise Coordinator of major event

Serve as adviser for coordination of tasks

Evaluates event

Declares event a disaster

Activates Disaster Recovery Plan

Maintains event log

Monitors and provides status of all events

Identified problems and issues

Escalates problems and issues

CMT Coordinator
Notify Crisis Management Team Coordinator

Draft and submit Working Objectives Report

Activate CMT
Chair meetings and ensure appropriate attendance.

Contract the CMT

Determine response strategy, priorities and action plans

Ensure effective internal and external communications to key stakeholders

Oversee prioritizing of resources across the business to support response

Minimizing disruption and return to routine operations as quickly as possible

All Employee Email distribution?

Activate Social Media Control Plan
Establish who's in charge of social media?

What is the plan to manage social media before, during and after the disaster?

Activate Human Resources Assistance
Employees concerns/impacts

What do you tell staff/parish/Archdiocese

Supplies needed

Evacuate or shelter in place

Confirm evacuation routes

Water may be contaminated…do we have enough bottled water for everyone

Activate Call Tree
A test designed to teach who to call first and to validate the currency of contact lists and the processes by which they are maintained

Activate Facilities Support
Evaluate facilities Impacts
Monitor news via TV and radio

Server room impacts

Activate Finance Department Process
Ensure funds are available for recovery

Ensure that all recovery expenditures are properly documented

Authorize placement of orders and invocation of emergency procurement agreements for equipment

CMT Coordinator
Performs post event review, writes lessons learned and assigns issue resolution

What have you learned from this exercise?

Name three strengths to handle a disaster recovery.

Name three organizational gaps we have for handling an event?

What should be the next steps in planning and preparing for an event?

List three short- and long-term actions to this exercise for follow up (in order or importance).