THINKING BEYOND THE PLAN…
A finely-tuned execution makes a good plan great!
The midst of a crisis is not the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. People will be caught off guard. Some will panic. In most instances, there will be chaos and confusion.
Dealing effectively with crises, demands leadership, planned responses and efficient communications. You’ve got to think fast, work smart and make informed decisions. You’ve got to protect your staff, your organization, and potentially the public.
When first responders aren’t dealing with a crisis, they’re preparing for one. A crisis at your workplace could suddenly thrust you into the position of first responder. It will be up to you to quickly gather information, assess the situation and make critical decisions.
Imagine for a moment that you and your co-workers suddenly find yourselves in a disastrous situation…
What does it look like?
Continuous training and practice keep first responders sharp and ready. Although they know to expect the unexpected, practice drills prepare them for the lay of the land.
Many cities periodically conduct area-wide disaster drills. First responders from across the region converge in one location. They all understand that an actual event will vary greatly from the drill. The drill helps responders—and leaders—become familiar with the logistics and the look of a large-scale disaster and response. In these cases, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it breeds confidence and competence.
Why mention this? Because you may have a plan, but do you put it in motion regularly? Have you ever put it in motion? Practice drills keep your plan and your responses fresh and familiar. They may not need to happen often, but they do need to happen.
How will you assess the situation?
The onset of a disaster can be sudden or it can slowly emerge. The duration and aftermath are generally longer than expected. Getting the word out is important. Lives may depend on it. Getting information in is important, too.
Reliable details from different perspectives help you fully understand the magnitude of the event. They equip you for informed decision making and reduce misdirected response efforts.
You may have an emergency disaster communication plan, but does it include two-way communications? Your employees should be ready and able to provide crisis leaders with information. And you should be able to retrieve it.
Mobile technology and social networks are proving to be great assets for emergency response communications. By establishing a meeting site for all your employees, you’re setting up a hub for retrieving reliable details.
Which medium are you going to use?
Land lines, mobile devices, texts, email, social media. Although most people use multiple communication mediums, everyone has their own personal favorite. In a crisis, the one that works, quickly becomes the favorite.
Because some modes of communication may be down, it’s important that your plan include all channels. It’s also important that your employees know how to access messages with all channels. Using an automated messaging service is an efficient, low-cost way to communicate quickly across all channels.
A good emergency plan poorly executed can mean the loss of lives, property and business. Think beyond your plan to fine tune the details of its implementation. It will give you a big advantage at a time when you need all the advantages you can get.