Many organisations avoid the issue of crisis planning, as if anticipating a crisis is tempting fate. Establishing a set of basic crisis management procedures, which can be used in any organisation from a school to a major industrial centre can be done using four steps:
- Determine the major categories of crisis events that may occur in the organisation.
Crises can be divided into three types, people crises, natural disasters and physical plant / technology incidents. The organisation then needs to look at past experiences to consider the likely risk levels from each of these areas.
- Construct a comprehensive, multi-hazard crisis management plan.
Determine what needs to be done, the priorities for actions to be taken and any special needs or considerations the organisation has. This will change as the organisation changes in size, structure and function. This means the plan has to be reviewed at least annually, so that sections can be added and deleted.
- Train a team in response techniques and provide them with the resources specified in the crisis management plan.
Have key areas of the organisation represented on the team and ensure they are trained in essential crisis management procedures, as well as having a good understanding of people reactions and needs in the aftermath of a crisis. It’s important to have a common understanding and not just assume team members will know what to do when the time comes.
- Designate a team leader for the crisis plan.
This person does not have to be the manager, principal or CEO. In fact, it’s often more effective to use a staff member, who has received specific training in crisis or emergency management procedures. That person’s job is to implement the crisis plan and co-ordinate internal and external crisis management resources.