Prepare Your Crisis Management Team for Long-Term Worst-Case Scenarios Because Some Situations May Last Hours or Even Days
Although many active shooter and other violent intruder situations might be over in a matter of seconds or minutes, the Crisis Management Team (CMT) still has responsibilities throughout the event and in the aftermath. Preparing your organization for a “keep you awake at night” scenario, must be seriously considered. What will each team member contribute during an attack on one of your locations or anywhere your employees are located? How might team members react if it’s their friends who are caught up in the incident? Is your team efficient enough to be able to react quickly, make decisions and manage the relevant stakeholders, including those who are starting to ask questions?
Communication is critical in the early stages
It’s 0330hrs and you get a call from the corporate security office stating there’s an ongoing attack in Paris in the hotel and conference center where you have several senior leaders attending a leadership seminar. What’s your initial thought? As the CMT leader, how will you pull the team together? What are your immediate actions? If you’re not prepared, the situation will quickly overwhelm you.
Responding resources need to be ready at all times
What other resources support your organization’s crisis response requirements? Did you have a plan before the senior leaders went to Paris? Was the plan validated through a tabletop exercise? What would be the contingency planning if something in Plan A were to go wrong? These are all questions you now wish you had answers for in advance. Prudence dictates that you have to take the time before something happens to walk through such scenarios that could have significant impact on your organization. Conduct quarterly horizon scanning to assess those potential threats and plan for how the crisis team would handle them.
Ongoing coordination and communications
The 2008 Mumbai attacks lasted four days. Much of it televised live. 164 people were killed with over 300 injured. Clearly, some of these kinds of violent events can last a long time. The response from your crisis team in support of your employees or assets needs to be well coordinated with regular communications with the relevant stakeholders, most notably local first responders. Consider how you would coordinate and support your other in-country resources (employees, security teams, etc.)
Prepare the team to deal with the ugliest aspects of such an attack
Several people missing; employees unaccounted for; everyone in the room killed. As a Crisis Management Team, are you ready to have those tough conversations? If you don’t have them now, when will you? There needs to be forethought on how an organization would process such events. Especially those organizations that operate in high risk environments and those that have traveling workers.