1. The Master Events Log

The MEL (Master Events Log) is an essential document that can help the crisis team document the incident as soon as it starts to unfold. The MEL is a document that should be filled out by a scribe who usually is in close coordination with the crisis leader. The document can be projected onto a screen for everyone to see. The MEL can also be used to reflect on what happened earlier on in the incident as well as used for commutators that need information for their communications to the different stakeholders. The document can contain facts and assumptions as well as date, time (military time) as well as the status and ownership of various task.

2. The Briefing Cycle

The briefing cycle process should be disciplined to ensure the crisis team is organized and efficient. This process has been used throughout time by militaries and to great effect. The corporate crisis team should take the same disciplined approach when they come together to manage an incident. During the briefing cycle, the leader needs to set expectations as early as possible. Part of the briefing cycle includes a very short and factual discussion about the status of the incident. In the early stages of a incident, it is important to focus on the critical elements at that time, such as, have we accounted for everyone out of the burning building or have we notified our team of the active shooter situation.

3. An EOC (Emergency Operations Room)

An EOC is a safe and secure location where a team or several teams can coordinate a response to crises. This location, typically a room, should be equipped to manage the incident for a sustained period. There should also be a secondary “off-site” location that is equally as equipped and ready to receive the crisis, emergency, security, business continuity and other relevant incident management and potentially other leadership teams. The EOC, sometimes referred to as a “Situation Room or War Room” should be equipped with tools and resources that the team will need to support the management of an elevated incident. These tools and resources may include – backup power for the location, IT infrastructure, plans and maps of relevant assets such as facilities and other key locations, bathrooms, access to food and water, printers and other office supplies as well as anything else that you believe will be required to help the team manage the situation.

Related: eLearning – An Introduction to Emergency Operations Centers

4. Simulation Exercises

One of the best tools any organization can invest their time and money in is a crisis simulation exercise program. There are many benefits in conducting well-constructed crisis and other types of simulation exercises. Some of the benefits include:

  • Stimulates thought process
  • Focuses team on specific scenarios
  • Enhances team building (internal teams, critical vendors and other key stakeholders)
  • Strengthens the understanding of roles and responsibilities as well as plans and processes
  • Identifies issues, challenges and assumptions
  • Identifies resources necessary to overcome any issues, challenges and assumptions

What other essential tools do you use as part of your crisis management tool kit?

Rob Burton

Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.