Regular simulation exercises are necessary. The best plans are worthless if they exist only on paper. There need to be regular (at least biannual) exercises conducted by the crisis response team, and regular testing of channels, inventorying of resources, etc. These tests should be done regularly, but not scheduled to test the speed of response.
Rehearse the CM System
Numerous techniques from full-scale rehearsals through to simple drills will be explained as the best means to optimize the Crisis Management system. The debriefing process whereby improvements are documented and put into an annual plan should be thoroughly discussed.
The test may be necessary to ensure an organization’s crisis management team has the skilled members to respond effectively to a crisis. Typically, the need for training in the areas of crisis management, peer Crisis Simulation support, first aid training, evacuation planning and many other areas are identified.
Category of Tests and Exercises
There are several categories of tests, each introducing escalating amounts of pressure, real-time decision-making and resources. These include:
These are used to introduce the plan and enable managers to gain familiarity. These may also include several "what-if" scenarios to illustrate how the plan should work.
The crisis management team or sub-teams participate in roundtable discussions led by an external moderator. A scenario is developed in advance and introduced, with the moderator taking the participants through a chain of decisions and problems, and with an analysis of performance at the end of the exercise.
Incident Simulation (Event Simulations)
Crisis responders gather in the crisis command center established as part of the crisis plan to respond to a mock incident. (These kinds of simulations often make the evening news, when local police or airports conduct them.)
Observers are attached to each member of the crisis team to evaluate his or her team's activities and performance. The simulation often lasts for several hours, has multiple incidents arising from the main scenario and includes a detailed analysis immediately at the end.
Full Simulation (Full Deployment Drills)
These are most commonly conducted in the oil, chemical, energy, and airline industries. In full deployment drills, an incident is simulated at a designated site, requiring responders and equipment to be deployed as they would in the event of a real oil spill or airline crash. Realism dictates that these drills often go on for hours, or days, so that management teams get a true sense of fatigue and pressure as well as practicing shift changes and planning cycles.
Accordingly, these kinds of drills require months of planning, scrupulous attention to detail and realism, and a significant budget.
Goh, M. H. (2016). A Manager’s Guide to Implement Your Crisis Management Plan . Business Continuity Management Specialist Series (1st ed., p. 192). Singapore: GMH Pte Ltd.
Extracted from Testing and Exercising the CM Plan
Find out more about Blended Learning CM-300 [BL-CM-3] & CM-5000 [BL-CM-5]
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