Emergency management plans have one basic goal: to keep the business operating and the customers satisfied, in spite of disruptive crises. In other words, to keep emergencies from becoming disasters.
For most companies, emergency management plans consist of two phases – Preparation and Response.
Preparation consists of assessment, planning, training, and practice. Assessment researches an organization’s current state of preparedness, as well as the nature of its most likely threats and their potential impacts. Planning documents the processes and resources that may be needed to deal with various levels of damage. Training gives those who may be called on to respond to an emergency the essential knowledge they need, the roles they must fulfill and the processes they must follow.
Practice pressure-tests emergency personnel’s knowledge of the plan, as well as the effectiveness and adequacy of the plan itself. The knowledge gained through the “practice” phase, in the form of emergency drills or exercises, starts a feedback loop for further assessment, planning, training and continuous improvement.
The Response phase is the actual implementation of the procedures, systems and logistics prescribed by the plan. This may include mobilization of an “Incident Command” team, as well as extraordinary activation of Operations, Customer Care, Public Information and other functions. In severe emergencies “Second Role” personnel, contractors, or even an organization’s retirees, may be called upon to supplement the existing staff on hand.