PREPARING FOR A CRISIS
1. Prepare a system that will allow you to respond to the emergency- Although emergencies are unexpected by nature, you can make a list of the predicted problems and implement a plan to possibly deal with them. For example, a good idea is to hold a brainstorming session with influential members of the organization to identify events that might bring unfavorable publicity.
2. Develop policies: Each company or organization should have a set of policies or guidelines to deal with emergencies. When asked by the media what the company’s policies are about a certain situation, your spokesperson should be able to answer firmly. This assures the public that the company's employees are reliable and knowledgeable.
3. Create a crisis management team: Assign certain individuals to be fully knowledgeable about the company’s policies and who are efficient in problem-solving to deal with emergencies. Appoint a team leader, a spokesperson to deal with the media, team members to deal with the victims and emergency officials, and others to guide the staff and volunteers.
4. Assemble and Organize resources: Make sure you have up-to-date information to be able to react immediately without having to do extensive research. Resources include: lists of contacts for team members, volunteers, staff, as well as emergency officials such as police, hospitals and the fire department.
5. Distribute an emergency procedures guide: This is to ensure that volunteers, staff and team members know what to do in case of emergency. For example, how to talk to the press as well as how to deal with the safety of the people involved.