Do you have an emergency preparedness plan in place to protect your
business and employees from the disruptions that may occur due to a
large event? The upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte,
like all large events, will attract large gatherings of attendees and
increases the corresponding odds of a dangerous occurrence.
Communication may be difficult and transportation may be next to
impossible - therefore, having a well-constructed crisis management plan
is imperative to responding to and managing incidents that occur under
During the NATO Summit 2012, authorities and surrounding businesses
struggled to contend with the disruptions deriving from protests,
threats, transportation blockades and communication problems - are you
prepared to respond to these occurrences during an upcoming large event?
Below are several key steps to take into consideration when creating your crisis management plan.
Make a Crisis Management Plan: Use Your Crisis Team
Form a special event planning committee and try to use your established
crisis team as much as possible, as these individuals have worked
together before, so it should be easier to create a crisis management
plan for the large event. You may, however, need to bring in outside
personnel for help (e.g. head of security or property managers). The
team should have a leader, and you may want to use your emergency
preparedness team leader for this position, as they are already trained
in the event of crises.
Begin planning for the event immediately and stay on track. You may want
to create a timeline to ensure that planning and implementation is
unfolding as necessary to stay on time.
Local and State Involvement
Interact with local resources as soon as possible. Local resources will
be able to provide you with assistance that will help your office run
smoothly, as they know the lay of the land and are in a better position
to offer assistance with event planning and emergency preparedness.
These resources may include committees, local security, police officers,
firefighters and more.
Meet with these individuals and invite them to contribute input on your
crisis management plan. They may be able to offer advice that you would
otherwise not have known to plan for, such as rules that must be
enforced during the event, transportation blockades that might occur and
potential security problems. Working with local resources will only
serve to strengthen your event planning and emergency preparedness
strategies, ensuring that you will be on the same page during a crisis.
Probability and Impact
When you're planning for a large event, two types of occurrences may
happen: the event itself, with higher-probability but lower-potential
for risk, and smaller events spurred from the larger one, which are
lower-probability but have a higher-potential for risk (e.g. emergencies
and protests). Successful event and emergency preparedness plans will
prepare for both occurrences. Remember, your crisis management plan
should address both the event and your hard-working employees who must
still maintain business as usual during this time.
Large Event Planning
Your emergency preparedness plan should address the massive amount of
people that will disrupt the infrastructure of the city. These items
Smaller Events - Protests, Emergencies, Terrorism
These events, spurred by the larger event, are mostly uncontrollable by
you, but must still be addressed in your crisis management plan. A
comprehensive emergency preparedness plan includes strategies to tackle
these types of crises, including spontaneous protests (some of which may
occur in front of your office building), terrorism, emergencies, and
disasters, such as fires and flooding. Be sure to:
Practice Your Crisis Management Plan
As the large event draws nearer, you will want to practice your crisis
management plan. Either practice it internally or have an outside
company conduct an emergency preparedness tabletop drill to ensure that
all individuals involved know what to expect. During this drill, conduct
tests of your emergency messaging system. Make sure that the message
begins and ends with the phrase "This is a test," so that employees are
aware that it is not a real crisis. This is the time to test your
emergency messaging system, as you will need to know that it works - and
how it works - prior to the actual event.
During the tabletop drill of your crisis management plan, address all
event crises that may occur. Additionally, comprehensive emergency
preparedness plans should include recovery planning. Determine who makes
the decision about when business should return to normal and speak with
all members of the crisis team (e.g. executives, security, property
managers, etc.) to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regard to
crisis management plan execution and recovery.
Local authorities are generally very responsive and, if they have
personnel available, are usually willing to participate in the drill for
your crisis management plan to provide you with valuable emergency
preparedness input. They can tell you if they already have resources in
place and where, and they can also let you know if they are otherwise
occupied during this time.
About the Author
As the Emergency Management Consultant at Preparis, Inc., Bryan Hill helps companies utilize the industry's first comprehensive emergency preparedness
platform, designed to help businesses create a capable crisis team and
to improve communication in the event of a crisis. Hill, who has
extensive experience in conducting and evaluating various tabletops and
full-scale exercises for businesses, hospitals and other organizations,
has a master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in
Epidemiology from the University of Georgia. Hill was one of the first
to receive a Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management from the
University of Georgia's Institute of Health Management and Mass
Destruction Defense. He is also Advanced Disaster Life Support (ADLS)
certified by the AMA and holds multiple FEMA certifications. For more
information on Preparis, Inc., please call (877) 544-5845 or visit www.preparis.com.