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Even Heroes Need to Be Prepared

7 Jun. 2017 Posted by aadams

Ted Uczen, FEI President and CEO

The Portland stabbings, the Mississippi shootings, the Manchester bombing and now this past weekend’s tragedy on the London Bridge—the past couple of weeks have been filled with terrible events that have had a traumatic impact on thousands of individuals and families worldwide.

While each event is different, with its own tragic story, there is a common thread that resonates with me. In every situation, and many others like them, “ordinary” people are placed in extraordinary circumstances. People who are not trained as first responders or in psychological first aid, asked to take on roles and do things they have never even considered. The courage exhibited, the sacrifice made and the work done by many of these folks is nothing short of heroic, and I am grateful for their ability to step up in the face of such huge challenges.
Thank you.

But putting people into roles they are unfamiliar with and often haven’t been trained for
doesn’t only happen in large-scale crisis events: It happens every day in many of our offices
and businesses.

Managers, supervisors and many employees are often called upon in the heat of a crisis to play new roles or do things they are not used to doing, or have never done before. As with the people who responded in Mississippi or Manchester, many of these folks perform in an outstanding manner—but why put them in that position in the first place?

We have the opportunity, as part of our crisis management plans and testing, to prepare the whole workforce for the challenges they may face in a crisis situation. All employees should be aware of, and knowledgeable about, a company’s crisis management plan and their expected role during an event.

Employees should also practice their crisis roles during company drills and other testing initiatives. Practice and preparation go a long way to helping people think more clearly and act more definitively if faced with a crisis.

Even with preparation and planning, people still need support during and after a traumatic event; make sure support is available as part of your plan—critical incident debriefings and/or employee assistance programs, for instance—and that the team knows how to access
such services.

Let’s not wait for something to happen before preparing our teams to react. Give your workforce the tools and training they need to respond, and help them prepare for what might be a very different role during a very challenging time.

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