Another year of Emergency Preparedness Week kicked off on Sunday. The importance of emergency preparation is highlighted in many ways throughout the week by many organizations who stress the need for creating, maintaining, and promoting emergency plans and strategies. Proper emergency preparedness is vital as it has the potential to save lives and minimize the damage that can be caused by certain types of situations.
So, what does emergency preparedness mean exactly? There are many facets to consider when preparing for a sudden crisis or threat. The mere fact that emergencies often present themselves suddenly and without much (if any) warning means you must try to think ahead and predict what may be needed. This can be difficult; however, we can look back to past situations and learn from them what may be required and use them to gauge all possible outcomes and scenarios that may come up.
Emergency operation plan
First and foremost, your organization should have an emergency operation plan in place that outlines each person's role and the tasks they are responsible for during an emergency. This emergency operation plan may include a list of safe locations where your staff and members of the public can retreat for safety in a life-threatening scenario; a list of all assets and resources available to the emergency management team; and a plan for communicating with stakeholders efficiently to provide status updates and other information. For more information about creating an emergency operation plan for your organization, check out this blog about how to optimize emergency operation plans for an educational institution.
Crisis communication strategy
While including a communication strategy in your emergency operation plan is important, it is equally important that this plan be well-thought out and prepared well in advance before an emergency occurs. Developing a crisis communication plan is necessary to ensure all stakeholders are properly informed and updated during the entire course of the emergency incident, not only in an effort to ensure their safety but also to aid emergency managers in making crucial and timely decisions when mitigating the situation. For more information on how to begin developing your organization's own crisis communication strategy, check out this blog.
Emergency notification system
Emergency preparedness isn't just about plans and strategies. Your organization also needs a way to put these strategies into motion with only a moment's notice. An emergency notification system is a useful and potentially life-saving tool that can be used to deploy your emergency management and communication plans with the click of a button, both saving you time to focus on other aspects of the incident and also ensuring that all the right people get notified as efficiently as possible to the communication method you know they will respond to. An automated notification system lets you deploy all your notifications simultaneously without having to manually select your contacts and send one at a time. Preparation here is key though. It is extremely beneficial to set up your emergency alerts in advance with the appropriate contact lists in place so there's no need to worry whether you're forgetting to notify someone. Check out this blog about the top three benefits of an automated emergency notification system for more information about why your organization should invest in such a system if you haven't already.
Making sure your system is ready
Once you have your automated emergency communication system in place, you need to be sure your organization knows how to use it whenever it is needed and that they are confident it will work as expected. So, how can you do this? The most important thing you can do with your system is to run regular tests with your staff, being sure to nail down specific roles your staff will be responsible for during a certain incident and making sure there are backups in place in case of absences. With regular tests, you can be sure your staff members become comfortable enough with the system that they will not hesitate when a real emergency occurs. For more tips on how to ensure your emergency communication platform is ready for anything, check out this blog.
What kinds of emergencies?
Unfortunately, you never know what kind or emergency your organization may be faced with. Whether it's a major weather event, a threat to safety caused by an individual or group of individuals, an online attack, or any other unimaginable horror, your organization must try and be as prepared as possible in order to deal with anything that comes up. This is why it is vital to have an overall emergency operation plan and crisis communication strategy in place to help guide your emergency management team in the right direction even if the incident is not something you may already have a plan in place for. Check out these blogs for how to prepare for some possible scenarios your organization could face:
SimplyCast can help with emergency preparedness
SimplyCast has developed some tools to help organizations with their emergency preparedness. If you would like to learn more about the EmergHub emergency communication platform, contact our Sales Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and they would be happy to answer any questions you may have.