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How Often Do You Test Your Crisis Plan?

19 Oct. 2012 Posted by ameulendyke

Our question for you this week is: How often and in what ways does your organization test the effectiveness of your crisis management plan?

Though it is crucial for every organization to implement a crisis management plan, the strength of the plan is reliant upon the individuals who carry it out. It can be difficult to discover the functionality and effectiveness of a plan if it is not put into action and tested often.

Your organization’s crisis management plan should be a living document. Rehearsal of the crisis plan allows an organization to discover weaknesses within the plan and make proper adjustments. In addition, crisis management trainings and exercises are critical to a successful post-incident recovery.

Possible methods for rehearsing your plan include:
• Table top exercises or simulation activity in which key personnel sit down and discuss, step by step, each phase of response within a crisis event for your organization. The key feature to the table top exercise is engaging your team in problems-solving methodology to explore group dynamics and solutions that may or may not be part of the organizational plan.
• Functional drills that test one specific aspect of a crisis management plan in real time. These drills are successful in discovering process efficiencies and opportunities for improvement.
• Full scale drill exercises that require all personnel involved to test full crisis plan in a simulated environment. This type of exercise requires stakeholders in many areas of the organizations to collaborate. It also may include identifying private/public partnerships in a way that may not have been tested before.

In addition, your organization should consider incorporating a timetable for when to facilitate each exercise and an after-action report that outlines the key lessons learned from the drill when initiating these types of drills.
 

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