Crisis awareness rides a wave
With each high profile incident in a school, the wave of public awareness and call-to-action is easy to predict. And “wave” is a pretty good analogy. The peak hits almost instantly, and then it is followed by a somewhat quickly receding level of interest.
Crisis Preparedness is prone to lip service
Chief decision makers would never say, “no, we really do not need to consider which crises we might be prone to, and how we should be prepared for them”. Yet, in the calm between the waves, there is typically low effort and leadership extended toward crisis preparedness.
Crisis Preparedness is Daunting
The possibilities are nearly limitless. It is remarkable how many articles and even training sessions tell stories of crises and provide anecdotal remedies. There are scores of types of crises, and each type of crisis can manifest in scores of possibilities. Yet articles or training often provide insight into very limited circumstances
The road to successful crisis planning:
The head of the organization must be committed. What is, commitment?
• Articulate the message and set the tone
• Commit resources. Set a budget. And that should include some level of stipend toward a crisis manager.
• Commit the organization. Time should be allocated from the organizational program for everyone to align around preparedness.
Get Started on the foundation. Don’t plan to remedy every possible crisis.
• Identify a structure to follow.
• Identify some types of crises.
• Repeat step b. and c. in a disciplined and metered fashion.
• Before roles and tasks are assigned, seek input. Get buy-in first.
• If your constituents are apathetic, see 1.a above.
Avoid the wave
• Crisis preparedness is about discipline.
• The high profile incidents might be the easiest to entertain a crowd with, but they are also often the least likely incidents that might occur.
• Encourage methodical and calm rehearsal. Use drama sparingly to heighten the awareness of chaos in a real situation.