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FORMULATION OF CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLANS

If your business or organization already has a solid collection of Emergency Action Plans in-place, good for you! Should an emergency suddenly occur at your site, your thoughtful preparation and planning will likely result in a safe outcome for your employees, with accompanying property-damage being held to a minimum. Unfortunately, life goes on after the initial emergency has been dealt with, and in the aftermath of a significant event such as a fire, flood, etc., you may be facing a period of prolonged difficulty and uncertainties. Will you be displaced from your current facility? For how long? Will you have to suspend business operations? Realign supply-chains? Make drastic changes to your business model? As was the case with emergency-response planning, those that fail to plan are ultimately planning to fail. At Hoffman Consulting, we set a distinction between initial emergency response efforts, versus the follow-up and potentially sustained actions that need to be implemented following an initial event. These sustained actions constitute the long-term crisis management response. Having developed detailed Crisis Management Plans for both public agencies and private businesses, we have the knowledge and expertise necessary to assist you in the development of a robust framework for crisis management response.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

All of the crisis management plans and manuals developed and implemented by Hoffman Consulting are structured to align with today’s best practices in the utilization of National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) protocols. * Why? Three important reasons:

1.) NIMS/ICS systems reflect fundamental management principles of controllable chain-of-command and maintenance of accountability. 95% + of current businesses already adhere to these basic principles, even if they’re unaware that there was an “official name” for it!

2.) The NIMS/ICS structure is designed to be highly scalable, allowing you to field a temporary team structure that’s no larger than necessary to serve your immediate organizational objectives.

3.) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, any major regional emergency event with which you’re involved (e.g. major flood, large hazardous materials spill, etc.) will likely have you dealing with local, state, or federal government agencies at some point. Response or regulatory agencies will likely include one or more of your organizational representatives within their unified-command structure, and all of these government agencies utilize NIMS/ICS management protocols. If you have all been trained and prepared to “speak the same language,” such unified efforts are likely to proceed far more smoothly.

With that being said, at Hoffman Consulting we also believe that any structural frameworks and associated crisis-management plans being developed for your business should once again be specifically tailored to the industry and site for which they’re being prepared, and that strict adherence to every facet of NIMS/ICS terminology and structure should not become a “tail wagging the dog” for your business or organization.

Utilizing basic management principles and the aforementioned NIMS/ICS protocols, Hoffman consulting will assist your company in developing a framework and seamless process for activating a pre-determined Crisis Management Team (CMT) when necessary, utilizing the local knowledge and expertise of your existing management staff to quickly come together and implement your Crisis Management Plan.

DEVELOPMENT OF SCENARIO-SPECIFIC, CRISIS MANAGEMENT RESPONSE PLANS

Similar to the methodology utilized in the formulation of initial Emergency Action Plans, Hoffman Consulting will work with your mid-level managers and senior administrative officials to identify and prioritize those categories of major events that are most likely to lead to long-term periods of significant operational disruption in your organization. Once identified and ranked, we will then work to formulate scenario-specific Crisis Management Plans (CMP’s) designed to address the immediate and long-term effects on your operations. Hallmarks of our approach in crafting these plans includes:
  • A structure and mechanism which provides for the timely activation of a scalable Crisis Management Team (CMT), comprised of members within your own organization to effectively manage the evolving situation;
  • Within each scenario-specific plan, an emphasis is placed on the formulation and implementation of sequential and formalized Incident Action Plans (IAP’s), as developed by your assembled team, establishing clear objectives for the time-interval addressed under that specific plan. (i.e. An initial IAP might address the first 24-48 hours following an event, followed by subsequent IAP’s addressing ongoing incident management on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.)
  • Following the listed objectives, the IAP delineates assigned responsibilities and definitive response actions for all CMT members, as well as providing critical prompts & reminders to ensure that key issues aren’t forgotten or “fall through the cracks.”
  • A company-specific IAP TEMPLATE will be developed for your organization by Hoffman Consulting, and will be included as an appendix to your overall Crisis Management Manual. The IAP Template will include all of the specific identifiers necessary for a plan in your region, (Unique business identifiers, location & GPS coordinates, notable onsite hazards, etc.) and will serve as an invaluable organizational tool for your assembled CMT to quickly formulate and implement such a plan.
  • As referenced earlier, all such plans adhere to basic NIMS/ICS management protocols, allowing for ease of scalability, as well as facilitating enhanced interaction with governmental response and/or regulatory agencies.

TRAINING

With NIMS and ICS protocols in particular, many businesses and organizations tend to shy-away from developing adequate crisis-management protocols for their operations, simply because they are wary of (or intimidated by) what they incorrectly perceive to be “a whole new way of doing things.” DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE! As stated earlier, NIMS/ICS simply puts very common, standard management principles of command-and-control into a very “uniform terminology box,” merely applying common terms and position-titles that will be understood across a wide range of organizations.

It has been my experience that, once an organization becomes comfortable with the process of rapidly activating its Crisis Management Team, working to quickly formulate and implement a coherent Incident Action Plan, and then allows its team to manage the plan’s objectives through the framework of their scenario-specific Crisis Management Plan, they very quickly realize the value of this proactive and highly organized approach.

Please keep in mind that utilization of these principles will require some training and familiarization on the part of your organization’s mid-level and senior managers and administrators. However, a significant portion of this training and orientation can be completed online, for free, using existing governmental resources. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers an excellent training-platform in NIMS/ICS practices, and can be found at: https://training.fema.gov/nims/

For those who wish to receive more personalized training, Hoffman Consulting can structure half-day, full-day, and multi-day training sessions designed to:

  • Orient managers in NIMS/ICS protocols;
  • Familiarize management and staff with newly-constructed Crisis Management Materials and systems;
  • Facilitate table-top and/or “real-world” training exercises in the implementation of Crisis-Response procedures.

If you feel that your organization could benefit by moving beyond your initial emergency-response preparation, and you want to take your management team to the “next-level” of crisis preparedness and response, please contact us!

Does your business meet the current OSHA Emergency Plan Standard?