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Crisis? Yikes! What Do I Do?

What is a Crisis?

A crisis is a situation that often develops unexpectedly and which may affect the safety of people or property within the company, and which also may have a negative impact on the organization.

Crisis Plan Overview

A crisis plan is designed to coordinate communication in the event of a crisis that affects staff safety and/or interferes with normal organizational operations. During times of crisis, the possibility for misinformation and rumors increases when accurate, timely information is not available. The plan defines the role of staff members in coordinating efforts and communicating information to those affected by the crisis, with the primary goal of assuring safety and well being to all concerned.

Reasons you need to have a crisis plan:

  • Accidents resulting in injuries to staff members, but which are not fatal

  • Civic disorders such as riots, unlawful protests, break-ins, violence, sabotage

  • Crimes committed against staff which are fatal, for example, as the result of shootings or detonation of explosive devices

  • Crimes committed against staff which are not fatal, such as robbery or assault

  • Deaths of staff members

  • Financial scandals including embezzlement or misuse of funds, layoffs, or financially induced shutdown of all or part of the organization

  • Health related issues such as outbreaks of infectious disease

  • Legal issues including sexual harassment, lawsuits or injunctions against the organization

  • Major accidents such as airplane or vehicle crashes which endanger staff and destroy company property

  • Natural disasters including tornadoes, floods, blizzards

Following are a sample and template for a company crisis plan detailing action steps for establishment of a crisis team, suggested emergency procedures and tips on working with media during a crisis including do's and don'ts. If you need immediate emergency assistance contact the American Red Cross.

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