In late September, Kenyon hosted its second Client Open Day of the year. Following many requests for taking the learning beyond the classroom and webinars and into live exercises, this Open Day was fashioned around a full-day input response exercise (Exercise Whirlwind 1). As such, space was limited to ensure the participants got the most from the complex scenario. With all places taken, clients came from a diverse background including representation from the aviation world, tour group operators, hotels, rail operators, a university and a local government authority. The goal was to demonstrate the natural confusion that happens in a crisis and how lack of communication and engagement amongst each affected party can hinder the effectiveness of a response.
After an introduction of the exercise scenario (a complex aviation accident where two planes collide on a runway at Heathrow, and also strike an airport building that houses a construction company) and instructions for the day provided by Robert A. Jensen, attendees were separated into seven working groups, each facilitated by Kenyon staff members, covering, amongst others, the affected airlines, the airport, senior incident management groups, accident investigators and journalists.
Each group was tasked with creating media releases at specific intervals and participating in a full press conference at the end of the day. Exercise injects were made throughout the six hours to keep attendees thinking and acting on their feet as they would have to in a real accident. Each group was highly engaged. At various intervals, participants were running from group to group to coordinate information, some groups chose to move their tables and work alongside other groups, etc. As all the groups came together for the first and second media releases, there were a few clear changes in action and direction based on what was revealed in the various media statements.
This was an intellectually demanding day for the Exercise attendees where they needed to work hard to think through, and then develop, the appropriate responses to the various facets of managing such a complex incident. We were particularly impressed by the can-do spirit that prevailed across all syndicates; they all contributed and immersed themselves into making sense out of the detail and the deliberate confusion that would characterise a similar, real world, incident.
Thank you to those who were able to attend. We also look forward to offering more Open Days at different locations in 2019.
Kenyon developed this full exercise scenario, Exercise Whirlwind 1, based not on any specific real-world event, but combining many attributes of actual disasters the Company has responded to. This includes the many nationalities and multiple parties affected (but not necessarily in charge such as airlines, airport, construction company, foreign embassies, investigators, etc.), the fact that one of the affected airlines is headquartered in a different country than where the accident occurred and where injured survivors are taken to multiple hospitals, etc. The full scenario description and all related data is available to all Kenyon clients in the Client Only section under Planning and Training Tools. This fully realised scenario is an excellent tool to supplement your own internal training and exercises.