Developing and maintaining an Emergency Response Program makes sense from an intellectual standpoint. It’s their intellect that drives safety managers and others to engage in emergency response planning.
However, despite the program owner’s best efforts, an emergency response program often gets no more than a lukewarm response from the organization as a whole. Some employees view emergency response planning and the resulting program simply as completing a task in order to meet audit requirements, and consequently don’t invest any emotional energy in it.
That lack of “investment” is a serious issue you should address. Employees need to buy into the program at an emotional level in order for it to be successful. You need to develop not just a response program, but a response culture.
Steps for Launching a Successful Emergency Response Program
Despite the tremendous value that comes from having an emergency response culture, it’s fairly easy to develop one by taking the five steps below:
- Document the goals of your Emergency Response Program.
Passing an audit or getting a lower insurance premium should not be your main objective. Your program exists to ensure that people affected by a serious event are properly and thoughtfully cared for.
- Teach team members that executing on your program is the best way to support people affected by a tragedy.
Everyone in your organization has an obligation to thoroughly understand the program, as it includes educational, practical, documentation and support components that ensure your organization’s humanitarian intentions are met.
- Educate leadership and all internal stakeholders about the program.
You can do this by conducting tabletop exercises, practical demonstrations and live/virtual learning where real life scenarios can be played out.
- Design your program to address a variety of situations.
While most companies prepare for potential high-profile accidents that occur infrequently, many fall short in preparing for day-to-day events affecting their office complex, manufacturing plant or other locations.
- Collaborate with a company that specializes in crafting, executing and supporting Emergency Response Programs.
Even the largest organizations have relatively small teams to respond to a crisis. Many of these team members are tasked with executing their business continuity plan simultaneously with other responsibilities. Partnering with an external provider can be the key to turning a lifeless response initiative into an evolving Emergency Response Program.
Follow the emergency response planning steps above to develop an effective Emergency Response Program that gets emotional buy-in from your team and ensures that crises—large and small—are handled consistently, thoroughly and effectively.