National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Crisis Management as the Intensity of Natural Disasters Rises

I recently wrote two IdeaXchange blogs on disaster recovery: one on company preparedness and one on setting up a crisis management team. But what is the actual cost in dollars? 2018 has been horrifying in the number and intensity of natural disasters. And costs are still being assessed. The numbers from 2017 provide a window into the growing intensity of natural disasters.

In assessing the cumulative damage from floods, fires, tornadoes, drought, and other natural disasters in 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates the damage to be more than $300 billion in damages, setting an unfortunate record.  Based on the latest NOAA projections on the effects of climate change, things are only going to get worse. If you own or run a business, you can’t ignore this reality.

What has been occurring in the Southeast and in the West this year really makes discussions on disaster management more important than ever. My blog last month touched on all of the different disasters that may occur, like natural disasters, terrorism, legal and labor issues, major IT malfunctions and more. When disaster strikes, companies must be prepared to respond quickly and decisively. First, as I stated in my blog, companies need to ask these six questions:

  1. What are we committed to?
  2. How will we fulfill these commitments?
  3. Do we have an organization that serves our needs?
  4. How will we manage resources?
  5. What skills do we expect from our organization
  6. How will we optimize authority, decision-making, workflow and information sharing?

To answer these questions with confidence, you need to have a crisis management team in place. Responses need to be proactive rather than simply reactive. You need a plan and a crisis management team. Each person on the team needs a full understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and functions, and how these differ from their everyday roles. To answer the six questions listed above, companies should enact these six points in order to ensure the best results from their crisis management team:

  1. A common mindset among the team members
  2. Training
  3. Recognition of the strengths, weaknesses, hazards, opportunities, and threats, as well as the underlying plans
  4. Active analysis, including situational awareness and communication
  5. Focused efforts that build credibility
  6. Flexible structure that supports long-term functional needs

In a world that is increasingly at risk from so many areas, the capabilities of the crisis management team can either spell success or disaster. The goal of the team, and the company, is to get back in business as quickly as possible.

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