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Preparing for Your Organization's Event
By Michael Fagel

Let's first establish that an event will occur in your organization, jurisdiction, or facility that will require an effective response from all concerned.

In Emergency Planning, we often talk about the multi-phases of emergency management, planning, mitigation, response and recovery. We will cover two key phases today, that of response and the road to recovery.

Regardless of the type of precipitating event that occurs, it will require calm, measured response and recovery actions for the survivability of your organization, be it a city, a factory, a campus, or your own facility. Natural and man-made events can and will strike at any time, and they are unpredictable.

But, your team's own response is a key component of the path forward.

Incident Management (regardless of the type) will be a strong measure of your efforts.

Many cities have their own internal Incident Management Teams that consist of the planners, logisticians, administration staff, and others able to act on behalf of their organization in a crisis mode. Think about historic events that may have happened to organizations such as yours. Can it happen to you?

Yes, and we must be prepared with effective planning, preparation and practice to make your team provide the best response and recovery operations to the events and its aftermath.

First, identify who may be a part of your team, that is, who would be best suited to assist in the response and recovery?

What would they bring to the table, either as a named individual, or better yet, several people that share the same skill set so that you can function over a prolonged period of time.

Oh, many people say, "I'm in charge and I don't need anyone else to take care of this."

What happens if you are the first one injured, incapacitated, or stuck someplace else that cannot get there? Yes, we do have vacations and "life" events that may very well occur while this is happening.

Develop a plan that goes three people deep for every position to be covered. Make a list of the departments, agencies, and organizations that may be called into service to support you at any time.

Think outside the box and prepare for the inevitable.

Then, establish the team with specific planning guidance as to roles and responsibilities when something does happen.

Just think to the scorching hot summer of 2012 that caused hundreds of thousands of power outages.

Customers, clients, citizens all want something from your organization.

Prepare with staff teams that can effectively manage the incident and interface with appropriate external organization or agencies.

No one person can handle everything themselves and get it done correctly. It takes a concerted team effort to prepare for any eventuality.

It doesn't matter whether it's a weekend, holiday, vacation season, or just bad timing. The difference between planning well now versus when the emergency happens is crucial.

Remember, it's not the "plan" that helps you surviveā€¦ IT'S THE PLANNING process that gets everyone involved!

Make a plan, practice it, exercise it and change it. Then you can lead your team to take specific tasks or elements when something does happen.

Whether you create an internal incident management team, or have an external team from other organizations, the key element is team. Fill those slots on your organization chart with those that can be part of the solution.

Many minds working together to solve and resolve a situation can make a bad situation a bit more tenable.

Take the time now to begin the planning process, as it will pay huge dividends to the organization.

No matter what the nature of your operations, the more key staff that has the ability to support the incident will be a major factor in the recovery operations.

Work towards a team effort for resolving the situation. Be flexible and proactive, not reactive.

Your team will take on many shapes and sizes depending on the event itself.

Remember: Preparedness, Planning, and Practice. The three P's to success!

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