There are many ways in which an organisation can find itself caught up in an emergency situation and without planning (Emergency Management) for the most common threats, then an organisation can react in a non effective way, as opposed to being prepared and thus being able to respond and recover more effectively.
It does not mean that an organisation is going to be susceptible to every type of emergency or disaster as this is not the case, although through planning and preparedness then an organisation can identify common and realistic events that they may in fact face. These could include (but not limited to):
– Power failure
– IT failure
– Terrorist incident
– Building collapse
– Severe weather
– Civil disorder and protests
For any organisation to effectively deal with emergencies then Emergency Management should be a key area and should synchronise with the business continuity of that organisation. Across the globe there are disasters and emergencies that are completely unforseen, such as massive bridge collapses, severe floods, huge fires and terrorist shootings/bombings. It is not professional for any organisation these days to state “This will never happen to us!”, of course there will be more prevalent risks specific to different organisations/industries that may not affect all organisations but it is evident that some incidents/emergencies are becoming more widespread.
Emergency Management Processes
There are a number of ways in which an organisation can better prepare themselves although the four main processes that every organisation should consider are:
By following these four stages/processes then an organisation can dramatically increase their effectiveness in the face of an emergency or disaster.
This can be achieved by reducing the exposure or probability in terms of loss and by doing so reducing the severity of the incident. Mitigation can also take form as informing, training and increasing awareness of mitigation strategies.
This is the action of preparing an organisation at every level, including planning, training, identifying key personnel, increasing physical defences and so on. This would be for those incidents/disaster events that can’t be completely mitigated or avoided, especially natural disasters and accidental emergencies.
This is the stage where an organisation puts their preparedness to the test and where all the planning, training and procedures come into effect. Key personnel are vital at this stage to ensure that the response is positive and effective, hence why emergency management culture within an organisation must be positive. It is safe to say that even though planning has taken place in terms of emergency management, we will never quite know the outcome, direction or impact that a specific emergency or disaster may have so there needs to be a dynamic approach to any form of response. This level of dynamicity relies heavily on the management behind the response and whether those persons responsible for the response are they themselves dynamic in their nature and approach.
The recovery stage is where an organisation can measure its effectiveness in terms of delivery of services/products in comparison to before the emergency, this also includes recovery whilst an incident is ongoing as an organisation will need to recover in order to ensure business continuity and reconstitution of services and this recovery may need to be immediate to allow that to occur. Regardless of the type of emergency/disaster, it is doubtful that the organisation will be able to recover fully for a period of time although the recovery effort should attempt to ensure that critical functions are at least recovered in good time so that the organisation can continue to operate albeit in a restricted manner.
Emergency Management can be implemented into an organisation by an experienced and knowledgeable person or team and can literally be the difference between success and failure for any size of organisation. There are many factors involved including type of organisation, industry operated in, size of organisation, identifying key personnel including department heads, identifying critical areas of operation and much more.
The importance of Emergency Management focuses on trying to remove an organisations exposure to most risks, the next step would be to prepare the organisation and it’s staff. This preparation will then assist in the response and recovery of any organisation that is exposed to an emergency or disaster of any kind.