Crisis Management Planning
Preparation brings success in almost all situations, but especially in emergencies. The steps taken in advance of the “off chance” that something disastrous will occur are often the difference between success and failure–even life and death.
While it is impossible to predict emergency situations and their potential effects, it is imperative that all businesses and organizations have emergency response plans and systems in place to equip them not only to survive the emergency, but to bring about the best possible outcome given the situation.
In the same way that a prudent car owner keeps an emergency road kit in his trunk with items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, a screwdriver, roadside flares, etc, to aid in the event of a breakdown, so too can businesses have emergency response “kits”. And while each business or organization must develop response structures specific to their field, clients, and employees, one aspect is critical to them all: communication.
Because emergency situations require immediate responses, communication is critical. The faster a message can be sent to people–whether clients or employees–the better. The means by which a message is sent must have several qualities:
- Simplicity. Sending a message must be easy. Complexity in a high-stress situation leads to error and the risk of a message not getting out to its intended recipients.
- Speed. Due to the nature of emergency situations, there is never a moment to spare. In fact, a second or two could very well be the difference between life and death. Thus, the faster a message can reach recipients, the better for all involved.
- Reliability. The means by which a message is sent must be reliable–meaning it needs to work without error or failure. It must be dependable and always “on-call” for any emergency situation.
Emergency Notification Systems
Since communication during an emergency is so important, many organizations utilize emergency notification systems. Such a system is one of the pieces of an emergency preparedness plan for dealing with unforeseen situations. Instead of calling individuals one by one or by enacting a “phone-chain” system, emergency notification systems allow one person to create a message and then send it out to large groups of people all at once. These messages can be sent via phone, SMS, email, and fax.
Due to technological innovations, emergency managers can now alert specific geographic areas through map-based calling. Phone numbers are geo-coded and placed on a map. These can then be pulled and aggregated to communicate immediately with people in a specific location. For example, if a wildfire is spotted in a certain location, an emergency call can be sent to registered numbers in the projected path of the flames to warn of imminent danger.
Types of Emergencies
Emergencies come in various forms from extreme weather-related events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and blizzards to other environmental issues and natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, and chemical spills. In all of these situations, human safety is of utmost concern. Having the capability to communicate quickly and effectively with clients, constituents, or employees is crucial.
Extreme weather and natural disasters are not the only causes of emergency situations. School violence, traffic accidents, and road closures can affect nearby businesses as well as power outages, burst water pipes, and gas leaks. As is the case with all emergencies, it is impossible to predict when they will occur, but being prepared can ensure success when they do.
Testing and Training
Simply having an emergency plan is not the only aspect of preparedness; testing and training exercises are also key. It’s not enough to have only a plan on paper; that plan must be exercised regularly in order to make sure it works as expected and is familiar to the individuals for whom it will affect. Regular testing ensures that all aspects of an emergency system are in working order and should the need arise, it is ready to perform its purpose.
Regular drills are important in that they allow an emergency plan to not only be practiced, but also evaluated. A drill provides an opportunity to walk through an emergency scenario and view which aspects work well and which are falling short or failing altogether. To get the most benefit out of practice runs, schedule both announced and unannounced drills. Afterwards, take the time to discuss and evaluate the process and make appropriate adjustments, consulting with community professionals if necessary.
Message911™ is a phone, web and cloud-accessible emergency notification system that allows large and small organizations to communicate to groups of people during emergency situations through pre-recorded and original messages, while providing real-time tracking of communication. Messages are provided through phone, email, SMS and fax. In addition, Message911 provides 24-hour client service support and is simple to use during real-world emergency situations.
Accounts can be tailored to meet each client’s specific needs and optimized to reflect their organizational structure. Simple, quick and reliable, Message911 offers emergency notification capabilities for an affordable low cost and can scale to meet client demands and requirements seamlessly.
Message911’s system is designed for intuitive use and can be learned in minutes. It is interoperable with multiple systems and has an abundant capacity, capable of easily fulfilling all of communication needs. Automatic daily backups with redundant systems from power to processors ensure reliability–meaning our system works when you need it. By providing a central point of communication that is up to 60% more affordable than the average yearly desktop system, Message911 is a proven service for outsourcing all of your emergency communication needs.