2023 Florida Statewide Communications Exercise

This page will serve as a home for all information related to our Florida SET (Simulated Emergency Test) for 2023.  Be sure to check back for additional updates as they become available.  The exercise is planned for the morning of April 22, 2023 beginning at 0900 EDT/0800 CDT and will last around 2.5-~ hours.

This communications exercise is designed to assess the skills and preparedness of volunteers as well as those affiliated with other organizations involved in emergency and disaster response. Exercises give us the opportunity to test our skills and equipment in a “real world” type scenario.

Regardless of your team’s affiliation with ARES, RACES, AUXCOMM, etc.; your team is welcome to participate! Be sure to check out the bottom of this page for our current frequently asked questions. You can also email arc.thames@srcares.org for additional information.

If your Florida based ARES, volunteer organization, or agency team would like to participate, please signup no later than March 31 using this Google Form

Service DENIED

This year’s SET in Florida is titled “Service DENIED” and will be based around the concept of a statewide cyber-attack that impacts our communications infrastructure. While communications teams based in Florida are accustomed to activations from a hurricane, a cyber-attack has just as much chance of occurring in today’s times with even less notice (if any) than a hurricane. The slogan we all see, “When all else fails, ham radio”, would truly pickup its real meaning with a full communications infrastructure outage.

We have begun working with our served agencies and other partner organizations to get engagement for participation. Communicators from the Florida Division of Emergency Management will be participating in this exercise from the State EOC so this provides an excellent opportunity for your county, volunteer organization, or served agency to test their communications ability with the State and other agencies throughout Florida. Additionally, we have reached out to our neighbors in the Southern and West Central Florida ARRL sections in hopes of making this a true statewide exercise.

If your Florida based ARES, volunteer organization, or agency team would like to participate, please signup no later than March 31 using this Google Form. Registration has now closed for county team participation to ensure we can get injects and other resources to the counties signed up. If your team would like to participate and hadn’t already signed up, please email arc.thames@srcares.org and we will try to accommodate you if time allows. We still need volunteers for net control and traffic handlers. Please email arc.thames@srcares.org. There will be opportunities for individual participation, but signup is not required for individuals. The exercise is scheduled to begin April 22, 2023 at 0900 EDT/0800 CDT and will last approximately 2.5 hours. Please only one form per organization.


Please be sure to keep a local copy, whether downloaded or printed, of relevant exercise documentation as the “internet” technically isn’t available during this exercise.

  • HSEEP Exercise PlanDRAFT Revision 2.0.1 03/03/2023
  • State IAP – Coming soon!
  • Participant Information Handout – Coming soon!
  • Sample IAP – Please click here to download a sample IAP you can use as a starter for your county
  • Press Release – Coming soon!

Important Dates

We want to ensure that you are well informed and trained prior to the SET/exercise. Below are several overview and training sessions that we encourage you and your team to attend prior to the SET. Each session has a separate registration link. You must use the registration link for that particular meeting to receive the meeting join invitation. Please continue to check back as additional sessions may be added.

As of 9/16, all team leader packets (which include your injects) have been shipped. If you don’t receive them by 9/23, please contact Arc via arc.thames@srcares.org

Agencies or Organizations Currently Committed to Participate (Updated 03/03/23)

  • Florida Division of Emergency Management
    • Santa Rosa County
  • Municipality Emergency Management
  • Traffic Nets

Pre-requisite activities for participants

Below are some suggested activities to help your team prep for the exercise. Please remember, you can participate on whatever level your team can.

  • Signup to participate (one signup per organization)
  • Engage your local team and encourage them to participate in this excellent training opportunity
    • Ask your team members to prepare Radiograms to friends or family that can be used as sample health and welfare traffic. Be sure to have them include “For exercise” as part of any transmitted text.
  • Ensure your local team’s activation documentation and procedures are up to date
  • Install and configure Winlink for your organization’s callsign
    • Ensure you can utilize Winlink on HF via your radio
    • Ensure you have configured your Winlink callsign for “Radio Only Messaging
  • Test your gear
    • Ensure at minimum you can communicate on 75 & 40 meters on HF
    • Test simplex communications with your team members in the event of a repeater failure
    • Ensure you have working backup antennas, batteries, and radios should your primary fail
  • Test your skills
  • Find alternate paths for communication
    • If your county doesn’t have HF capability, do you have a team member at home that could relay information or traffic over the air for you?
      • This is a great use of amateur radio operators that can’t participate from an EOC due to health or other reasons
    • Locate a neighboring county that has HF capability that could relay your information or traffic over the air for you
  • Develop your local IAP
    • While we will have an overall Incident Action Plan (IAP) for our statewide response, you should develop a plan to respond to the scenario in the exercise locally as well. We will have a sample IAP available soon.
  • Use the exercise to complete your taskbooks
    • The Florida Tri-Section Taskbook is available via this link. Any EC or AEC that has completed a task themselves can sign off on an individual task. Overall taskbook levels must be signed off by one of our evaluators.
    • The AUXCOMM Taskbook is available via this link. Tasks in this should be initiated and signed off by a subject matter expert such as COM-L, COM-T, Logistics Section Chief, EM Director, etc. It is “preferred” that it be someone with official responsibility. The overall taskbook must be signed off by Roger Lord, the State of Florida SWIC.

Frequently asked questions

  • Will we have the exercise if there is a threat of a hurricane, or we have recently been impacted by hurricanes?
    • The planning team will closely monitor the tropical situation. If a tropical storm or hurricane is scheduled to impact Florida in the time leading up to or immediately after the planned date, we will reschedule as necessary.
  • We don’t have HF capability, can we still participate?
    • Absolutely! A portion of this exercise will take place using SARNET and you can also practice locally with your own team for what you would do in this scenario. If you’re close enough to a neighboring county that has HF capability, you could always request them to relay you in to any needed HF net.
  • We don’t have a lot of resources or volunteers, is this exercise going to be too much for us to handle?
    • No. We are writing this exercise in a manner that you can participate on a small or a large scale. For example, if you don’t have the resources or availability of operating from a shelter, you don’t have to attempt that portion of the exercise. This exercise provides your team the ability to practice on whatever level you would like to for your team.
  • We don’t have enough volunteers or don’t have access to activate shelters, hospitals, and PODS. Do we have to activate those to participate?
    • Absolutely not. This exercise is designed to participate at whatever level you can locally. There is no “requirement” that you do more than you have people or resources available to do. It is 100% up to you as a team leader to decide locally how big or small you want your participation to be. Some counties are simulating a shelter, hospital, or POD by having someone simulate it at their home. Some are setting up in a parking lot. Some are just using their EOC. Some are simulating their EOC because they don’t have access to it on the weekend or at all. Start small, and do what you can do. This is not a “pass or fail” exercise. This is to provide you with the opportunity to practice, test your skills, discover what you’re good at and where you might have opportunities to grow.
  • Can individuals participate?
    • Yes, you can participate as an individual. Registration is not required to participate as an individual. More information will be available on individual participation.
  • What if we can’t access our shelters or hospitals during the exercise?
    • If you can’t, for whatever reason, access your shelters, hospitals, or other deployment locations during the exercise you may setup at an alternative location such as a park (with local permission) to simulate a shelter.
  • Our team has never participated in an exercise, and we aren’t sure what to do, help!
    • We’d be glad to! Throughout the state we have many team members that would be more than happy to walk you through how to prepare and help you succeed. Additionally, there are several training and Q&A sessions scheduled to help you prepare. Check out the schedule listed above. If you need additional assistance, feel free to email our Exercise Director arc.thames@srcares.org.