Complete Crisis Management can only succeed with the participation of senior managementEssentially, Findlay All Hazards provides new skills to its clients, and in many cases, those skills are hands-on actions that EHS managers and techs will call upon to prevent or respond to incidents. Many such incidents are minor events, such as small, containable spills. But another set of skills is crucial to EHS administrators, and those may rely more on planning and quick implementation of those plans across the entire organization in the event of a disaster that is beyond your control. This is the concept of Crisis Management (CM).
It’s possible that no other modern-time event brought the idea of CM to the fore like 9/11. That dark day made organizations large and small take stock of how they might cope with a disaster of that scale, be it man-made or natural. Other 21st century wake-up calls came in the guise of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. You can be sure that the art of Crisis Management has been refined in recent years across the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Think about how many civic and business leaders in those areas wish they had planned more completely before disaster struck.
One benchmark article for EHS, security, and corporate risk planners is Christine Ivey’s 2002 piece, “A Blueprint For Crisis Management”, found in the Ivey Business Journal. Ivey lays out a nice ‘1, 2, 3…’ for crisis planners, that starts by creating a mindset that a crisis CAN happen here. 9/11, the gulf coast disasters, and the ongoing threat of city-block scale terrorism should be enough to keep everyone alert and ready, but the human nature component of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ often takes a sad precedence. And sometimes, we don’t prepare effectively for a crisis just because the range of threats is so vast, and we don’t know where to start.
In any case, before an EHS manager can consider the nature of threats they might face, or develop a CM plan, they need the full support of top-level management. That’s because reaction to a civic disaster will include almost certainly every person at the company. Corporate leadership must buy-in to the idea that a serious calamity can occur at any time and that calamity will hinder the operations of the enterprise and could endanger lives. So, not only is Crisis Management a business balance against the unknown, it is humane and essential.
Ivey lists three things that leadership must do for CM to be installed and effective:
- Believe that their organization will face crises – That trouble is likely, not a long-shot
- Have faith that they can be ready to avert or manage extraordinary incidents
- Take the time needed to think collectively about the unexpected and the unthinkable
Ivey continues, “Executives who have experienced organizational crises are more willing to support and champion crisis management efforts than those who have not had such experiences.” Which leaves the EHS manager wondering how they might effectively make their case to those senior managers who have not seen darker days in the past.
Findlay All Hazards offers a starting point for EHS managers through Gap Analysis. Findlay can conduct a thorough review of your Crisis Response Plan searching for any gaps – parts of the plan that would not be effective in the event of incidents you might not have considered. And if no real plan exists, Findlay can show you where to start, by introducing the concept to your organization’s leaders. The perspective we offer comes from 30 years of working with an array of different companies, many of which have dealt with the unexpected. Findlay shares that experience with senior administration and explains how they can plan for the worst, with improved connections between your EHS team, first responders and emergency services, and the rank-and-file associates at all your locations.