From time to time, organizations can face unforeseen critical events. It can be an event like a fire, an injury, a cyberattack, etc.; in most cases, responding and communicating with others is challenging. Despite the plans an organization has in place to manage a crisis, it often underestimates the importance of crisis communication and damaging effects, such as facility damage and brand damage.

Throughout our years of experience with event management, we've gathered advice we can share with you.

1. Take advantage of an automated platform for managing critical events!

A critical event management platform automates manual processes using recent technologies. Integrating critical event management with ad hoc data feeds will give you unparalleled technology intelligence, enabling you to combine crisis information with people and asset locations. Using such platforms would allow your team to connect with external stakeholders in real-time, regardless of their location, enabling more efficient and faster critical event handling.

2. Predefine your Emergency Response Teams

It is vital to pre-define the parties involved in crisis handling on both the internal and external level, then identify their roles. Ask yourself these questions: Who should I include on my emergency response team? What are the responsibilities of my emergency response team? Who is responsible for making sure the right people receive communication? What external stakeholders should I involve and whom should I contact first, and why?

Actions taken within the initial minutes of a crisis can diminish the severity of consequences and losses. Preparedness and planning for actions are the keys to reducing damages!

3. Automate your Emergency Response Plans to save time

Crises and critical events often occur with little or no warning.  In uncertain times, emergency response templates offer a clear-headed, step-by-step approach for dealing with the situation. Having a plan, and following it, can save lives, prevent and reduce injuries, and protect property and business operations. Taking these steps will effectively minimize the stress of making tough decisions quickly and help you maintain some degree of control during potentially chaotic times. By creating predefined critical event scenarios, you will be able to more easily reach your team and get the message and notification out without spending a lot of time describing the critical event and formulating it.

4. During an ongoing critical event keep messages simple and direct

When responding to critical events, make sure to let your stakeholders know what's happening fast. Simplicity is crucial when you send notifications to avoid information overload, so keep your communication limited to critical points.

5. Maintain transparency with your stakeholders during and after a critical event

Remember to keep your stakeholders in the loop and update them with the latest happenings. However, if you are unaware of the issue, let the person know that you are looking into it. Don’t hesitate to engage your key stakeholders if you don’t have enough resources to handle the crisis independently. Notifying and involving stakeholders in every detail from the early stage of the crisis will build trust during a crisis and lead to better decisions when collaborating.

 6. Documentation is crucial, so make sure you have accurate records

Having an automated tool that documents the actions taken during a critical event is vital for recovery. It enables participants in the event handling process to unlock self-reflection without complications. For example, automated documentation allows teams to review crisis handling reports without raising a ticket to the service desk. It will enable them to identify areas that worked well and those that need improvement.

Automated documentation of a critical event provides organizations with the needed data to analyze crisis handling. It alerts you of existing gaps and allows you to execute corrective actions to prevent future critical events of a similar nature.

7. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your Emergency Response Plan 

After the crisis or the critical event, make sure that you check your process; how many users respond to crisis notification? Did you update users when you said you would do it? Take the time to evaluate what went well and what could be improved.

As we mentioned in our previous article, there should always be room for post-incident management after dealing with a critical event. The use of hot wash, lessons learned, and group debriefing can help you extract the necessary information to improve response to incidents.

8. Update your incident response plan based on lessons learned from a previous critical event

Using the information gained from reviewing the incident report, you must update the ERP to reflect the lessons learned. Whenever you modify a plan, you should also test it out again by stimulating an actual critical event in a training session.

Takeaway message

Be proactive in your critical event management; construct an Emergency Plan with clear lines of communication, responses, and reactions when a critical event encounters you. Communication during the golden hour will create a positive experience for your organization's personnel and stakeholders outside the organization, ultimately strengthening brand image with clear leadership and responsibilities.

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