Kenyon's 12 Principles: Quarter 3
The second half of the year is here and with it comes the third set of consequences we are focusing on from Kenyon’s 12 Principles of Crisis Management. If you aren’t familiar with the previous sets of consequences you can read them in our Quarter One and Quarter Two breakdowns.
Let’s take a closer look at principles seven, eight and nine.
Principle Seven: Data Management
The amount of important information that is generated as soon as an incident occurs is overwhelming. Managing that data is integral to the success of your crisis response. Information will stream from various sources and will include incident facts, victim identification information, details provided by the families of those directly affected, employee information and much more. The data you receive must be collected, organized and shared, sometimes across multiple teams of people (organizations, government entities, first responders, etc.). How do you do this?
A centralized data management program is necessary to manage this consequence. It should be easily accessible to the many groups involved in the incident, user-friendly and above all, secure.
Incident information is the “who, what and how” of the event. Now that the incident has occurred, who is responsible for what in your response and how do you plan on contacting them? The data you collect can typically be organized into three functional categories: incident information, information regarding those directly affected and information regarding their families.
The data collected on those directly affected will include their whereabouts (e.g., hospital details, hotel addresses, etc.), familial details, and if they are deceased, ante-mortem information such as DNA profiles from family members. Data on the family of those affected will revolve around who has been identified as the Next of Kin, their preferences on receiving information regarding the incident, status of their loved one, if deceased, their wish to be notified with each human remains identification made, their choices for disposition of their loved ones remains, and their wish to have their loved ones’ personal effects returned.
While handheld tablets and digital apps are commonly used in the field to collect information, not every location will have the connectivity you need to access the apps or have the ability to use an app that may function in an offline mode. It would be wise to consider creating hardcopy forms, which can be completed on site, that you can upload to a database at the end of the day. This is especially important when working with families, so you ensure they remain the main focal point. When choosing a data management program, don’t forget to confirm that it will be compatible and can interact with your current company’s technology, as well as complies with the various domestic and international data protection laws.
Don’t forget to download our latest Year of 12 Principles checklist to learn more about what you can do to manage principle seven.
Principle Eight: Government and Community Affairs
The immediate demands for incident information will come from more than just those directly affected by the incident and their families. Multiple government agencies will likely be involved with the incident, followed by community and advocacy groups. Affected local industries and, of course, your employees will also expect updates on what is occurring.
You will need to activate your government and community liaison teams to successfully manage this consequence. The teams should have been selected in the early stages of your consequence management planning and those on the team should be fully aware of their responsibilities. Prior to an incident, your government and community liaison should work to establish relationships with any organizations that you believe will be involved in an incident. Because every incident is different, it won’t be possible to foresee every organization that your team should build relationships with, but based on your industry, there will be some obvious choices such as regulatory bodies, local and national law enforcement, and industry groups, to name a few.
Remember, these liaisons are the face of your organization and provide direct access to your organization’s leadership for government and community staff. This team should also work closely with your insurance and risk management team to expedite the provision of funds as needed. During their activation, ensure your Crisis Management Center is conducting the necessary research to provide the government and community liaison team with the current political and cultural situations in the area the incident took place.
Have those on the team responsible for the governmental aspects of the crisis establish contact with all government entities involved through the Crisis Management Center or Call Center, potentially having to prioritize which entities to send a liaison to according to number of victims from each country. Those managing community affairs should do the same with consular and/or citizen services (e.g., tour groups, schools, local industries, your employees, etc.). These organizations will expect information regarding how many of their citizens are affected and your response plans. Sharing that information in a transparent manner builds trust and ensures a smoother transition through the crisis.
This is a pivotal time for your CEO, as well. After speaking with those directly affected by the incident and their families, your CEO should make time to visit the community groups affected. This includes meeting with your organization’s staff and keeping them updated on the current situation. Establishing realistic expectations is key and if done properly, a visit from your CEO could greatly boost morale.
Principle Nine: Fatality Operations
In a loss-of-life incident, the deceased will need to be recovered, examined, and once identified, released or repatriated. Mass fatalities, particularly transport related, affect people from many nationalities, requiring international coordination with government and non-government agencies.
Families must be put at the forefront of everything that is done and kept informed throughout. Because the recovery, identification and repatriation process can take up to several months, it is vitally important that you take the time to fully understand it, so that you can then set realistic expectations for those directly affected and their family and friends. It is your responsibility to ensure they do not suffer more than they already are. Respecting families wishes and differences, religious or cultural, is paramount.
Managing the consequences of a mass fatality requires a coordinated emergency response – likely to be carried out by a combination of government where the mass fatality occurs, representatives of the missing, private companies and NGOs. Even if most functions are carried out by a government, activate your trained fatality support team immediately.
You may need to provide missing capabilities (buildings, people, equipment) or capacity in any of the specialist functions, as well as fund, support, or share information with response agencies. Focus on providing trained staff to missing persons/survivor reporting, ante mortem data collection, morgue arrangements (body holding and viewing) and repatriation.
The functions that must be carried out, whether by your company or others, include:
Search and recovery of the deceased, preserving forensic and identification evidence.
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