Responding to a crisis – Making a case for improved resilience

Crisis management

Russ Timpson, CEO of Crisisboardroom & Tall Building Fire Safety, details how the Crisisboardroom kit can assist security leaders in managing and responding to crisis events. While business interruption and downtime have been relatively common occurrences over the last 12 months, businesses must always plan for the worst. Unfortunately, ‘the worst’ is often difficult, or impossible to predict.

According to International and British Standards, a crisis is defined as: “An abnormal and unstable situation that threatens the organisation’s strategic objectives, reputation or viability.”

What defines a crisis environment?

The challenge, of course, is how a business decides whether they are indeed in a crisis – some situations are, by their very nature, more difficult to define than others. There are some common traits to look for though, including:

  • You may not have a full picture of what has happened/is happening, or why it has happened
  • Stakeholders/customers will require immediate updates and reassurances
  • The situation may get worse before improving
  • Time and resource constraints which are beyond your control
  • You will be expected to act fast and visibly demonstrate that you have command of the situation

There are also many instances where it is – to borrow the terminology of football’s VAR system – clear and obvious as to what has happened. Fires in tall buildings, nearby natural disasters, or anything that is immediately likely to threaten the health of employees/customers are all potential examples.

Yet, it is still very difficult to simulate the genuine pressures decision makers will come under in a ‘real’ event.

Responding to a crisis – Making a case for improved resilience

Respond and command

The most challenging part of any crisis is the lack of time. During the 300 plus simulations that the team has undertaken around the world, this is the most obvious outcome clients have had to come to terms with. Under significant pressures, even the most experienced of managers may crack when there is no time to apply learned techniques such as a detailed analysis of the situation and prolonged consultation with trusted advisors.

The Crisisboardroom Kit is designed to generate a new thought process in the minds of managers, to ensure that a crisis command scenario can take root from minute one. Based on existing military and emergency services principles, it imposes a simple ‘flat’ command structure, with one primary commander. The chosen individual will need to set early objectives and drive action-orientated responses.

To support such a plan of action, the Kit provides a command platform for a crisis response team. It essentially seeks to answer three questions as quickly as possible:

  • Who is in charge?
  • What is the command structure?
  • What are the most important priorities?

The Kit leads responders through a process of command by using a series of checklists and visual boards to reduce any delays in starting the response. The Kit contains a full set of 52 colour coded wall boards, including Quick Start, Site Recovery, Business Recovery and Command.

Also included is everything necessary for Gold and Silver commanders to establish command and record their actions, such as Team IDs, press kits, finance kits, stationery and toolkits – all in separate, zipped bags. Responding to a crisis – Making a case for improved resilienceThe Crisisboardroom Kit has been developed during crisis simulations around the world and has been used in several ‘real’ crisis events, proving its worth in each case. A crisis is no situation any manager, security team, or organisation wants to face, but applying everyday management techniques will not be enough with the time and resource pressures individuals are often faced with in such scenarios.

Leadership and a straightforward, prioritised action plan is required, and this Kit has been developed to facilitate such a response. Find out more about the Crisisboardroom Kit.

Russ, who was also one of IFSEC Global’s top influencers in Fire for 2020, also runs training sessions through his Tall Building Fire Safety Network. Upcoming Tall Building Fire Safety Training  dates and details are provided below:

  • Tall Building Fire Safety Management, Business and Mixed Use (Skills for Justice Accredited) GBP1850 + VAT five days live online: 24-28 May, 11-15 Oct, 6-11 Dec
  • Fire Alarm Responder/Investigator (for high rise operating a grace/investigation period on alarms and said to be ideal for security team members – four hours live online: 17 May, 30 June, 28 July
  • Managing Fire Safety in HRRB’s (High Risk Residential Buildings) and the Role of the Building Safety Manager including overview of proposed Building Safety Bill, GBP1850 + vat – five days live online: 22-26 March, 21-25 June
  • Tall Building Construction Fire Safety Management GBP1850 + vat – five days live online: 19-23 April, 6-10 Sept
  • Building Safety Bill, Essential Understanding – detailed Insights and Impacts GBP1450 + vat – three days live online: 27-29 April, 18-20 May

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Responding to a crisis – Making a case for improved resilience

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