HayWired Scenario Exercise Toolkit Released

HayWired Scenario Exercise Toolkit Now Available


April 6, 2023

The HayWired Scenario Exercise Toolkit is designed for use by businesses, government agencies, non-profits, community groups, and other organizations to plan, lead, and learn from discussion-based exercises. While it is based around the USGS HayWired Earthquake Scenario, its content can also support exercises for other earthquake faults.

As the opening paragraph in the Toolkit states, “Exercises are an important tool for improving resilience, whether they involve actual practicing of actions or a group discussion of what might be done before, during, or after a disaster or other emergency. They allow us to explore different scenarios, test ideas for addressing disruptions and challenges, and help us identify vulnerabilities.”


The Toolkit is designed for use by a diverse audience: 

Experience Levels: While its exercise guidance sections are more geared towards those with little to no exercise development and facilitation experience, the Toolkit’s overall content has relevance even for experienced exercise designers.

Geographical Locations: The exercise ideas, sample discussion questions, and additional consideration presented in the Toolkit are also relevant for exercises using earthquake scenarios other than the HayWired one. They can even be starting points for exercises on other hazards.


Tapping into the HayWired Earthquake Scenario

The Toolkit makes it easy to tap into the wealth of information provided by the HayWired Earthquake Scenario, development of which was led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Scenario explores a hypothetical, but plausible, magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault and the physical, technological, and societal impacts it will cause throughout the densely urbanized and interconnected Bay Area region. The comprehensive three-volume Scenario Report provides information spanning many infrastructures and topics.

The Toolkit and its accompanying Facilitator Tools tap into the wealth of information from the HayWired Earthquake Scenario and make it approachable. It blends information from the Scenario Report with plan-language guidance on developing, facilitating, and learning from discussion-based exercises. Add to this the collection of visuals available via the Facilitator Tools, some of which have been created from the scenario data specifically for the toolkit and are not part of the Scenario Report. For example the supply chain and fuel hazard impact maps for oil infrastructure (refineries, terminals, and pipelines), air and sea port infrastructure, and rail infrastructure.


Quick overview of the Toolkit’s sections:

Section 2 provides summary highlights from the HayWired Earthquake Scenario.

Sections 3 and 4 focus on developing and facilitating an exercise.

Section 5 is on implementing lessons from the exercise to foster continuous improvement.

Appendix I provides a list of 40+ exercise ideas spanning 30 different themes.

Appendices II and III provide worksheets to accompany the text in sections 3 and 5.

Each of the accompanying Facilitator Tool has two documents:

Discussion Guide that provides discussion objective and base scenario for the idea, data from the HayWired Scenario Report, sample discussion questions, and additional considerations.

Imagery Slideset that provides maps, charts, and figures related to that exercise idea. The Imagery Slidesets are available as both a pdf and a powerpoint to make it easier for organizations to integrate the visuals into their exercises.

The content of the different Facilitator Tools can be mixed and matched to suit your exercise needs.


All exercises, including informal ones, can be informative and help drive resilience. This Toolkit can help generate scenario ideas to be incorporated into any exercise type and/or used for informal discussions leading up to a more formal exercise.

The Toolkit and accompanying Facilitator Tools were created through the collaborative efforts of the California Resiliency Alliance, Earthquake Country Alliance, and USGS, with input from other partners.

As of this release, 17 Facilitator Tools have been created to supplement the 40+ exercise ideas presented in the Toolkit. They span exercise ideas from the following themes:

    • Access to Data & Information (Mitigation)
    • Aftershocks & Fault Afterslips (Recovery)
    • Building Content (Mitigation)
    • Communications & Internet (Planning & Preparedness)
    • Communications & Internet (Response)
    • Employee Commutes & Residences (Planning & Preparedness)
    • Employee Retention & Staffing Shortages (Recovery)
    • Fire After the Earthquake (Mitigation)
    • Fuel (Planning & Preparedness)
    • Mail & Package Delivery (Response)
    • Mental Wellbeing (Recovery)
    • Natural Gas (Response)
    • Power (Recovery)
    • Supply Chin & Movement of Goods (Mitigation)
    • Supply Chain & Movement of Goods (Planning & Preparedness)
    • Wastewater & Sewers (Response)
    • Water (Planning & Preparedness)