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Series Intro: Unprecedented Crisis Management Does Not Exist

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Crisis management often has two very different meanings.

The FIRST is focused on containing or preventing a worse crisis from occurring. It is focused on containing or controlling an event. For example, it might be firefighting – trying to control a hotel fire before it traps hundreds of guests, trying to land a damaged aircraft or damage control following a hull breach to prevent a ship sinking.

The SECOND is managing the consequences when the crisis could not be contained and it becomes the worst-case scenario. For example, it is the fire that could not be controlled and kills several hundred-hotel guests or the loss of an aircraft or ship.

My definition of crisis management is the second one and the one I most often write about.

Introducing a new series: Unprecedented Crisis Management Does Not Exist In my last blog post, I described in very broad terms the consequences of a typical large-scale loss of life incident. In the next 12 posts, following the framework of the 12 principles of Crisis Management, I will describe in detail these consequences and offer best practice solutions for each consequence. These solutions are based on experience at multiple crisis events, including multiple aircraft accidents, maritime losses, rail and road accidents, and those with a loss of life of over 250,000 human beings.

Not every crisis results in the need to address all areas. However, if you can respond and manage the range of consequences then you can manage the response, regardless of the size or type of event that caused the crisis.

A final note: In many of the events I have been involved in, the anger the survivors and families had was not that the event occurred, but at the way the response was managed. Their expectation was that since such things (large loss of life events) could and do occur, there should have been a system in place to manage them.

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