The Top 5 Crisis Management Plan Questions You Need To Ask

Whether you're in charge of domestic oil and gas operations or an extensive international network of offices and facilities, designing a comprehensive and effective Crisis Management Program (CMP) is essential to the continued success of your enterprise.

Without a strong CMP in place, your business or organization is at risk. Emergency and crisis situations, by their very nature, can strike in an instant. When they do, your level of preparedness may mean the difference between a crisis averted and complete disaster.

As part of our commitment to helping businesses like yours improve the readiness of your team and your CMP, the Crisis Planning Specialists at TRP have compiled the following five key crisis planning questions every program manager should ask:

  1. How vulnerable is your operation to a natural disaster? Depending on the geographic location(s) of your operation, you may be subject to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis or ice storms. Take a look at geological and meteorological patterns over the past few decades and, ideally, the past century. Based on these patterns, start developing emergency response plans for the most likely disaster scenarios. Once those plans are in place, consider updating and adding plans to cover the less likely possibilities.
  2. Could you maintain business continuity in a pandemic situation? Pandemic flus and other virulent outbreaks don't just happen in the movies or remote places. The risk of pandemic is very real and if your organization isn't prepared to handle a potential outbreak, the results may be disastrous. That's why it's important to develop a plan for dealing with pandemic scenarios both in the workplace and in the surrounding environment. Make sure your employees have the crisis management resources, procedures and safeguards in place to manage a pandemic scenario and successfully mitigate its effects.
  3. What types of hazards are inherent to your operation? If your facilities deal with potentially hazardous materials such as petroleum or other chemicals, it's essential that you have comprehensive emergency response and cleanup procedures in place. In the case of a fire, explosion, oil spill or release of other hazardous materials, what areas of your operation and the nearby community and environment would be affected? It's important to ensure that operations personnel have the training and resources necessary to respond in the event of an emergency. When developing your crisis management plans, consider case histories involving similar operations and industries in order to be prepared for every possible eventuality.
  4. If one of your facilities or offices were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, could your company continue operations? An effective Crisis Management Program must also contain comprehensive business continuity plans. In order to ensure business continuity across your entire operation, it's important to identify critical business processes and ensure that these can be managed at other companies or dedicated recovery sites. This means putting the necessary resources, equipment and contracts in place and maintaining information across all critical company locations. In the event that a fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, power failure or other event disables one or more primary offices or facilities, be certain your organization is prepared to implement the appropriate plan and continue business operations.
  5. What are your company's security vulnerabilities? In addition to planning for potential natural disasters and operational hazards, recognizing your company's security vulnerabilities is one key element to a successful crisis management program. When assessing your operation, be sure to take both physical site security and electronic security into consideration. In today's world a breach in security is just as likely to come from a remote location in the form of a computer hacker or virus, as it is from an actual break-in or physical attack. A good security plan should take all of these factors into account and prepare your employees with the knowledge, procedures and resources necessary to respond appropriately.

When it comes to developing a comprehensive CMP for your unique organization or enterprise, there are hundreds if not thousands of details and eventualities that must be taken into consideration. The questions above should help you get started but, in order to ensure that you're prepared to handle every emergency scenario, the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable professionals may be necessary.

For more helpful CMP tips, suggestions and best practice recommendations, visit www.emergency-response-planning.com or call 281-955-9600 to speak with the Crisis Planning Specialists at TRP.