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  • July 2016 Client Newsletter banner

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Just like that, the 4th and final quarter of the Crisis Management Planning Calendar is upon us. Similar to the previous quarters, we have taken the final three months, broken them down and expanded on best practices for each month. We’ve also created a useful checklist for each month to ensure you stay on track in your crisis management planning. Visit our Year of Checklists page to download October’s checklist and the checklists you may have missed in the earlier months.

Here’s a look at October, November and December in more detail:



Include next year’s ERP audit and crisis communications training and exercises in budget calculations.

If you’ve been following our checklists all year, you know that a lot of resources are required to be fully prepared for an emergency. These resources include time for writing plans, conducting training and exercises, staff taken from their regular duties for planning and training and procurement of equipment.

In a perfect world, you already have executive support and a dedicated budget for crisis management. In the real world, you’ll make do with what you have, but putting together a thoughtful wish list can help. By planning ahead and dedicating a budget to crisis management, you may also be able to include partners in your preparation. Outside partners such as expert crisis management planners, trainers and crisis-experienced responders add real-world relevancy to your plans and training scenarios.

Take a look at the October checklist for our minimum recommendations for preparation, planning, training and exercises that should take place throughout the year for optimum staff confidence and crisis readiness.



Hold training sessions to follow-up on lessons identified in the input-response exercise.

As you hold training and exercises throughout the year, it’s inevitable that gaps in the different functional areas will emerge. That’s where the magic happens: the opportunity to improve! To get the most out of these learning moments, approach your exercise with this simple framework:

Before an exercise: Map out what you hope to accomplish. Plan your strategy to reach your goals. Take a look at this issue’s Training Session Spotlight for real-world examples of exercise objectives.

During the exercise: Track what you actually do – how you execute the plan including what went well and what did not go so well. Did your execution match your strategy? Why or why not? This is where an outside observer can really be helpful.

After the exercise: Take a look at your outcomes. Was there a difference between your original strategy and final execution? If all went really well, how can you repeat your success? If it didn’t go as well as you hoped, how can you adjust your strategy and execution to improve your outcome?

To make sure you get the most out of your exercises and the resulting learning opportunities, November’s checklist will expand on these concepts and walk you through how to conduct an effective hot wash-up or after action review, and then follow up that review with effective training.



Exercise your Emergency Response Plan (ERP) with a no notice activation during off-hours to test systems, facilities and equipment. Like in April’s breakdown, plan the exercise around less obvious but inevitable scenarios.

Many companies tend to hold exercises that plan for the first days of an incident, or they set them during normal working hours. Incidents will not wait until you are in the office to occur. Put your ERP to the test by conducting an exercise off regular working hours. Wake up your emergency response teams, catch them off guard and see how they respond. Set the scenario of your exercise a few days into the incident. What does your crisis management look like at Day 7 of the incident? What about Day 14?

Don’t forget to plan for time after the exercise to run through the results with your team. Which aspects of your ERP performed outstandingly? Which needed work? Ensure you take time with your team to discuss how they handled their responsibilities during the exercise. Clarify and re-clarify until each person has complete understanding of his or her role and responsibilities in the event of an incident.

Remember to download October’s Checklist if you haven’t already and let it help you stay on top of your crisis management plans.