Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Crisis and Incident Procedures

A key question arises in crisis management: Do your plans really work, and how do you know? This is more than just an academic question; it’s something I’ve faced myself. I’ve been through crises like market crashes and economic troubles, learning lessons from them. Organizations need to practice their plans regularly. But real tests happen during actual crises. I’ve been on the front lines, helping Crisis and Incident Management teams, and I’ve learned some things that can be overlooked.

Here are a few points from my experience:

  1. Go/No-Go Decision: Deciding to proceed or not is crucial. Having a clear way to assess readiness is essential.
  2. Team Decision-Making: Teamwork is important, but decision-making processes must be clear. Roles, responsibilities, and communication channels should be established.
  3. Hydration Matters: Even basic needs like staying hydrated can be forgotten in crises. This can affect thinking. Keeping the team hydrated is vital.
  4. Using Command Center: The command centre isn’t just a space; it’s a way to display important information. Use it effectively.
  5. Detailed Logging: Logs might sound boring, but they’re important. They document actions and decisions, helping analyze what happened later.
  6. Team Rotation: High-stress situations can lead to fatigue. A planned rotation keeps things fresh and effective.
  7. Unified Communication: Amid the chaos, having one version of the truth is crucial. It prevents confusion and keeps everyone working together.

Crisis procedures are more than paper; they’re the foundation of resilience. Regular practice is important, but real tests teach us valuable lessons. Addressing details like decision-making, hydration, space use, logging, rotation, and clear communication improves crisis response and allows continuous improvement.

Real-World Example

BP Oil Rig Water Horizon

For instance, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 is an example of evaluating crisis plans. After the disaster, BP looked at what went wrong and how to fix it.

  1. Learning from Mistakes: BP admitted their response wasn’t good enough and aimed to learn from their errors.
  2. Independent Investigations: BP worked with experts to identify the problems and gathered insights from various sources.
  3. Transparency: BP shared its findings openly, showing its commitment to improving things.
  4. Making Changes: BP improved its procedures, safety measures, and communication plans.
  5. Training and Practice: BP stressed training and practice to prepare better for the future.

The evaluation and changes helped BP handle crises better. While the disaster was severe, their efforts showed they were ready to improve. This example shows how evaluating and changing plans is essential for rebuilding trust after a crisis.

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