If you’ve studied Emergency Management, no doubt you have encountered a life cycle diagram. That’s because they work. Kenyon’s would look something like this:
But what does that diagram mean for your team today or tomorrow? How is it reflected in your budget and in your staffing? We want to make it more practical for you. The following calendar offers concrete actions for each month of the year to ensure that your plan is useful and tested, to ensure that your staff is confident and prepared, and to ensure that your organization is resilient in the face of crisis.
Audit your Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to include designated staff and their deputies, facilities, equipment and checklists.
Review your crisis communications plan. Are your designated spokespeople trained and ready? Have you pre-written a few template statements and had them approved by legal? Include your IT staff if they are responsible for your website/emergency site in the case of an incident. What is your social media response to an incident?
Train new and existing staff with designated functions in your ERP.
Exercise your ERP. Conduct a half-day, pre-notified tabletop exercise to run through roles and gauge understanding.
Review your emergency partners. Review the capabilities you’ve contracted them for. Audit their facilities and equipment. Meet with them and define how the partnership will work during an incident. Test call centers and activation procedures.
If you operate internationally, review current family assistance laws to ensure compliance. For airlines, if you fly into the US, review your filing with the US Department of Transportation.
Review your insurance coverage. Meet with your broker and legal team to understand your liabilities and to discuss how you’ll all work together during an incident.
Check that the ERP is compatible with other contingency plans: business continuity, safety, security, environmental and financial.
Hold a full-day, pre-notified input-response exercise, testing all aspects of crisis management and crisis communications. Conduct an after action review following the exercise and schedule follow up training immediately after to solve problems while they’re top of mind.
Include next year’s ERP audit and crisis communications training and exercises in budget calculations.
Hold training sessions to follow-up on lessons identified in the input-response exercise.
Exercise your ERP with a no-notice activation during off-hours to test systems, facilities, and equipment.