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  • July 2016 Client Newsletter banner

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In January’s newsletter we promised to break down your emergency planning by each quarter and elaborate on best practices for those three months. To facilitate that, we began sending out a monthly checklist to ensure you’re on the right stage of your crisis management planning. Visit our Year of Checklists page to download April’s checklist and the checklists you may have missed in the earlier months.

Let’s take a look at April, May and June in more detail:



Exercise your Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Conduct a half-day, no notice tabletop exercise, that focuses on day 7 or 14 of an incident to run through roles and gauge understanding. Accidents and incidents are not planned nor are they convenient and they do not end after one day.

Each year you should establish training objectives for your emergency response program. The objectives should be based upon the previous year’s training, exercises and any responses to real emergencies that occurred and required activation of your ERP.

Take a serious look at things that did not go well. If you designed the previous year’s exercise program correctly there should be plenty of areas to exercise this year. The old adage of “if the exercise went well, you exercised the wrong things” is a good theme to follow. In designing your exercise training objectives, also include the actions that did go according to your ERP but that you want reinforced. Do not forget to get input from your leadership.

Exercises do not have to be elaborate or time consuming in their design or conduct. If you want to really focus on a specific area, a tabletop exercise is appropriate. In the exercise announcement, detail what the exercise objectives are, require those involved to study their responsibilities in the ERP and the responsibilities of everyone else. This will broaden each individual’s understanding of the ERP and also reinforce that emergency response is a team effort. If each participant keeps their “blinders on,” focusing only on their own checklist responsibilities, the response is doomed from the beginning. You can issue the scenario with the exercise announcement but this may not be the right thing to do every time. Keeping some suspense adds a component of realism and will help your team think outside the box beyond their checklist.

Interested in more information about holding tabletop exercises or other training? Let Kenyon help. Click here to learn more about the various training programs we provide.


Review your emergency partners. Review the capabilities you have contracted them for. Audit their facilities and equipment. Meet with them and define how the partnership will work during an incident. Test call centers and activation procedures.

Be sure to look beyond their website. Reputable partners should welcome and encourage you to audit their equipment, facilities and training records.

If you are new in your position and many partners were already in place before your arrival, get to know them, it is important to reach out to them and learn more about what services they provide and how they provide them. It is also very important to establish mutual expectations.

Involving partners in your exercises is a great way for both parties to be more familiar with each other’s operations. It is much better to do that before an incident, not during.

Nowadays, “risk” takes many forms and there are numerous ways that companies can be affected. It could be an aviation incident, maritime disaster, oil and gas explosion, terrorism, natural disaster, etc. As a business that has staff and customers who could be affected, there is an element of corporate responsibility placed upon you to conduct due diligence into your service providers, ensuring that they have all the necessary resources to support you when responding to an incident.


If you operate internationally, review current family assistance laws to ensure compliance. For airlines, if you fly into the US, review your filing with the US Department of Transportation. New laws come into force every year, for example, this year we expect the UAE to issue a family assistance law.

Most countries, and most industries within those countries, have their own set of family assistance legislation. Now is the perfect time of year to reacquaint yourself with the laws of the countries you do business in to ensure you are in compliance.

The US Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 and the Foreign Air Carrier Act of 1997 were enacted following several major aviation incidents where the needs of family members and survivors were not handled effectively. The acts require air carriers (both domestic and foreign) to have plans detailing the notification to family members about an accident, the handling of manifests, the training of support personnel, the management of personal effects and the coordination of memorials. One cannot operate in the US until a Family Assistance Plan has been filed with the US Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Make sure you keep on top of your filing status. For more information, make sure to read the applicable Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters, or your industry. Kenyon has assisted many airlines with this filing – please let us know if we can help.

Following the passing of those laws and the issuance of ICAO Guidance, other countries/governments such as Australia, China, South Korea, Spain and the EU enacted similar legistation. Failure to meet your obilgations can lead to civil penatlies including significant fines and loss of routes.

Similar NTSB legislation was enacted for the US rail industry through the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008 and can be read here. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) also has an Approved Code of Practice that provides guidance on provision of support and assistance to those directly involved in a major passenger rail accident or incident in the United Kingdom.

Some industries that Kenyon supports do not have such clear guidelines regarding family assistance. After many responses to disaster, we operate under the belief that the way you treat affected families is critical to how the response is judged. Even if there is no law requiring it, Kenyon will always endeavor to take the best possible care of families – knowing that this is surest path for our clients to successful recovery from crisis.

Don’t forget to download April’s checklist to ensure you are on the road to properly organizing your crisis management plans.