As disasters or any type of disruptive events are unavoidable, it is needed to manage them. In this function, a crisis management plan is required. First, it is necessary to be aware of what a crisis is, what a crisis management plan is, what is to consider in crisis management planning, what to consider in declaring a disaster to activate a crisis management plan and why an organisation needs a crisis management plan.
A crisis is, in fact, a significant unexpected disruptive event that has impact upon an organisation’s personnel, facilities, information systems or critical records which in turn creates uncertainty and is likely to have a substantial impact upon profitability, reputation, or ability to operate normally if not handled in an appropriate manner(Rebecca Folk, MBA).The event could be large or small in nature, internal or external to the organization and could be a natural disaster or human in origin.
A crisis management plan is the communications and decision-making component of an overall Business Continuity Plan (BCP). A thorough crisis management plan makes easy rapid communication to ensure overall safety to both internal and external stakeholders. And what is more, it incorporates policies and procedures to perform an impact assessment, and a plan to control media interaction during an event or crisis (Paradigm Solution International).
It is quite obvious that the requirements on the part of the organisations in management of crises will vary. The key to crisis management planning is to have a set of processes and procedures to be used as a guideline for crisis management. It is worth noting here in this juncture that only when the organisations have the predeveloped crisis management plans, will the executives be able to address effectively a worst scenario or long lasting crisis.
When it comes to when to declare a disaster, the comparative importance of a crisis may vary based on the situation encountered and importance to the organization. In fact, a disaster declaration ought to be based on the anticipated length of the disruption and the projected impact of the crisis upon the organisation concerned. It is suggested when declaring an event a disaster that the following factors be taken into account: causalities; damages; loss of revenue; inability to perform important functions; tendency to lose customers, loss of security etc.
To sum up, it should be remembered that not all incidents and issues escalate to crisis level. And while a crisis preparedness programme should scale across all types of issues and crises, a crisis plan is meant to be activated only when an issue escalates or has the tendency to escalate to crisis level (Melissa Agnes).