Traditionally, emergency preparedness rooms were ideally unused areas, and the fact that these type of facilities cannot be put to other uses, has posed a challenge. As a result, such a room may seem like an expensive luxury, but if we just call it a meeting room that may also be used for crisis management, every company could have one.
A Shielded Area
There is such pressure and a great amount of information circulating during a crisis, that the team managing the crisis needs to work undisturbed and in an organized fashion if they are to take control. An ordinary office space is unsuited for many reasons:
- It is difficult for those involved to look at several screens at once
- Many people have access to the areas, causing a major distraction It is impossible to observe the necessary discretion and protect sensitive information
- The technical infrastructure is not designed with this type of work in mind.
- The crisis management team must be shielded from the rest of the organisation and all external actors, although they might have legitimate questions and needs.
A shielded area furnished with this in mind is neither extravagant nor something that only large organisations need. With some planning, much can be made out of ordinary areas and offices.
You don’t need lots of experience with emergency preparedness before appreciating the importance of efficient preparedness facilities. Firstly, it is important to separate second line (operational) and third line (strategic) levels. The crisis management software system handles both the sharing of information and communication between these two levels.
Secondly, it is crucial that the handling of next of kin is located in a suitable area and in any case separated from the crisis management team.
Thirdly, communication to external actors must at all times be based upon what the crisis management team has verified and made available. Press releases and responses to the press should never occur in the space occupied by the crisis management team.
Two for the Price of One
Just rarely is building the preparedness facilities from the ground up an option, and in most cases, it is not necessary. Work with the space you already have and think simplicity and functionality. Make use of simple, well-functioning technical solutions that will work both during normal operations and in a crisis.
An emergency preparedness room is defined as a mission- critical resource that just needs to be available when the need arises. Thus, the room may be put to other uses on a day-to-day basis, as long as functions and furnishings critical to emergency preparedness are in place and are routinely checked and updated.
Daily Use of the Room
A management that hesitates to allocate the necessary resources for such a room should be challenged with the following:
- By skilled planning, clear definitions of needs and involvement of the different professions in the organisation, it is possible to establish a flexible and attractive meeting room and at the same time meeting the legal obligation to facilitate emergency preparedness.
- A room dedicated to crisis management demonstrates to the organisation that this is an important matter taken seriously by the management. This will lay the foundations for a sound emergency preparedness culture.
- A meeting room that makes use of audio-visual equipment for crisis management, such as multiple screens, is attractive to customers and shows the company is thorough and trustworthy.
- The crisis management software system will be available for use in customer meetings. It will be simpler to arrange exercises involving the system, including checking the emergency room monthly as a separate exercise.
Give Yourself a Chance
Much of what we discuss on the Prepareorfail blog has to do with enabling you and your enterprise to solve a crisis quickly, efficiently and minimize the consequences. Most lack experience until something goes wrong, and luckily, many of us never experiences that day.
Everyone who has emergency preparedness responsibilities must make sure they have the necessary resources to do a good job. A functional emergency room is a decisive factor to succeed in handling a crisis.