Are you relying on an outdated emergency communication plan to protect your business? You must consider your crisis management plan as a living document.
This should be updated to reflect your business, its employees, and any threats that could impact normal operations. When a critical event occurs, you want to respond with confidence.
It only takes a few seconds for an emergency scenario to spin out of control. Without a solid emergency communication response in place, your people are at risk.
Here’s how to keep your emergency communication plan current.
Evaluate Your Current Plan
Once you have a crisis plan in place, it’s easy to leave it as is and move on. But it’s important to continually evaluate the effectiveness of your emergency response plan.
Some questions to ask include:
- Did all employees have the information they needed?
- Were the communication methods effective and timely?
- Were employees prepared for their role during the crisis?
- Were you able to follow the plan and control the message?
- How did the communication system perform?
If you’ve experienced a crisis, it’s a good time to reevaluate your emergency response system. If you haven’t needed to put your emergency response plan in action, you must still revisit and revise your plan as your business, your staff, and emerging technologies change.
Invest in Communication Technologies
To keep your employees and your business protected, you want to make sure the right message gets to the right people. You can do this by incorporating emergency notification software into your response strategy.
Your response system should support two-way messaging. This ensures your employees can receive and send messages.
This capability allows you to account for your staff during and after a crisis situation. An effective emergency notification plan is a key aspect of a thorough emergency communication system.
Keep It Simple
Remember to keep your emergency plans simple. People do not remember complicated messaging or details in the event of a crisis.
They need clear directions about what to do, and they need to know who’s in charge. Simple, direct instructions are more effective in emergency situations.
Having an organized communication system ready to go makes it easy to contact your people quickly and efficiently.
Coordinate Your Emergency Plan
Your emergency plan should be shared with everyone who has a role to play in the safety and continuity of your business. This includes your management team, employees, and anyone else who might be involved in the event of an emergency.
Everyone within your organization needs to know their role and what is expected of them. A plan on paper needs to be tested.
Your emergency response plan should be part of regular business operations. It should be shared, reviewed, updated, and tested regularly.
Regular drills can’t mimic the drama of a real emergency, but it’s the best way to test your plan and prepare everyone involved for the next real crisis.
Reach Your People
In today’s digitally-driven world, old methods of communication will not do. Your organization needs modern technology at the forefront of your emergency communications plan.
An emergency notification system helps keep your employees connected during a crisis. From any location and from any device, your people can access the system to get the information they need.
In the event of an emergency, some forms of communication may be unavailable. Make sure your employees know alternative ways to communicate.
Text, cell phones, email, Slack, landlines, and social media are all options for communicating. Your system should be flexible.
You want your team to be able to adapt and respond to events as the situation evolves. Your business is unique. Be sure to establish what type of events are emergencies for your organization and share this information with the entire staff.
Script Messages Before a Crisis
You can’t wait until a crisis occurs to consider your messaging. Crafting emergency messaging templates can help you prepare for emergency scenarios.
Think of various incidents that could occur and the general messaging that would be essential for your people. How will you get the message out? Will you send emails, texts, voice messages, etc.?
Consider your audience when putting together scripts for emergency communication. In a stressful situation, your employees need calm.
Keep your messaging short, clear, and to the point. Focus your message on the matter at hand and cater it to your specific audience.
Who, besides your staff, do you plan to update in the event of an emergency? Design and update your plan to consider the stakeholders you need to inform as well.
Think of who needs to be on this list. Depending on the industry you’re in and the business you run, the list could vary significantly.
It may include employees, management, customers, partners, investors, vendors, the government, the public, and more. Consider your social media followers and the people who are in close proximity to your business.
When a crisis occurs, you aren’t alone. There are resources already in place to offer whatever assistance you need.
Making sure your emergency communications plan is thorough and up-to-date may not be your specialty. There is help.
FEMA has a website devoted to helping individuals and businesses prepare for emergencies. More than likely, you have local help available to you as well.
Do some research into emergency preparedness in your area. From power to water to food to medical care, there are services ready and waiting.
Learn about the local and federal services that are available to assist your organization when an emergency strikes.
Your Emergency Communication Plan
If your organization has an emergency communication plan in place, that’s a good start. Too many businesses fail to update these plans, and this can cause confusion and even chaos during an actual emergency.
As your company, your staff, and today’s technology change, so must your emergency plans. When so much is at stake, make sure you’re doing all you can to protect your people and your business.
At Comprehensive Communication Services (CCS), we understand the communication challenges that can occur when disaster strikes. Our goal is to provide CCS customers with the ability to communicate across multiple platforms with each other and first responders.
Contact us to learn more about our disaster response packages, designed to ensure your business is ready to communicate in any crisis.