Crisis management is a situation-based management system that includes clear roles and responsibilities and process related organisational requirements company-wide. Crisis management involves the prevention of emergencies, preparedness for them, responding to emergencies and mitigation of consequences as well as ensuring an uninterrupted supply of vital services and critical infrastructure. Emergency situations are events or a series of events that threaten lives or health of many people, cause major material damage, serious environmental damage and large-scale disruption of vital services. The aim of crisis management is to be well prepared for crisis, ensure a rapid and adequate response to the crisis, maintaining clear lines of reporting and communication in the event of crisis and agreeing rules for crisis termination.
Natural disaster related crises, typically natural disasters, are such environmental phenomena as earthquakes, volcanic eraptions, tornadoes and hurricanes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, storms, and droughts that threaten life, property, and the environment itself. Technological crises are caused by human application of science and technology. Technological accidents inevitably occur when technology becomes complex and coupled and something goes wrong in the system as a whole (Technological breakdowns). Some technological crises occur when human error causes disruptions (Human breakdowns). When an accident creates significant environmental damage, the crisis is categorized as megadamage. Samples include software failures, industrial accidents, and oil spills.
Prevention of emergencies:
Emergency mitigation measures are those that eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs. It focuses on preventing the human hazard, primarily from potential natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Preventive measures are taken on both the domestic and international levels, designed to provide permanent protection from emergencies or disasters. Also by doing this the risk of loss of life and injury can be mitigated with good evacuation plans, environmental planning and design standards.
Preventing or reducing the impacts of emergencies on our communities is a key focus for crisis management efforts today. Prevention and mitigation also help reduce the financial costs of disaster response and recovery. Preventive or mitigation measures take different forms for different types of disasters. For example, in flood prone areas, houses can be built on poles/stilts. In areas prone to prolonged electricity black-outs installation of a generator ensures continuation of electrical service.
Preparedness for an emergency:
Preparedness focuses on preparing equipment and procedures for use when an emergency occurs. The aim is to reduce vulnerability to disaster, to mitigate the impacts of a disaster or to respond more efficiently in an emergency.
Natural disasters, pandemics, cyber incidents and terrorism can all cause emergencies. Emergencies can quickly escalate in scope and severity, cross jurisdictional lines and take on international dimensions. Effective Emergency Management Planning includes the integration of mandate-specific all-hazards risk assessment as the planning premise. Risk Assessment will help identify, analyze and prioritize the full range of potential non-malicious and malicious threats. The process takes into account vulnerabilities associated with specific threats, identifies potential consequences should a threat be realized, and considers means to mitigate the risks.
A coordinated approach to emergency management planning will strengthen the capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from major disasters and other emergencies. An emergency plan must be regularly maintained, in a structured and methodical manner, to ensure it is up-to-date in the event of an emergency.
Emergency management plans and procedures should include the identification of appropriately trained staff members responsible for decision-making when an emergency occurs. Testing of a plan’s effectiveness should occur regularly. Drills and exercises in preparation for foreseeable hazards are often held, with the participation of the services that will be involved in handling the emergency, and people who will be affected.
Communication is one of the key issues during any emergency, pre-planning of communications is critical. Miscommunication can easily result in emergency events escalating unnecessarily. Whether emergencies are handled locally under the authority of one jurisdiction, or large in scale involving several levels of jurisdiction, communications is a critical need for first responders whether in response to a major incident, routine operations or providing a coordinated response to daily events. The Communication policy must be well known and rehearsed and all targeted audiences or publics and individuals must be alert. All Communication infrastructure must be as prepared as possible with all information on groupings clearly identified.
Response to an emergency:
Emergencies are managed first at the local level: hospitals, fire departments, police and municipalities. If they need assistance at the local level, they request it from the provinces or territories. If the emergency escalates beyond their capabilities, the provinces or territories seek assistance from the government.
The response phase of an emergency may commence with Search and Rescue but in all cases the focus will quickly turn to fulfilling the basic humanitarian needs of the affected population. This assistance may be provided by national or international agencies and organizations. Effective coordination of disaster assistance is often crucial, particularly when many organizations respond and local emergency management capacity has been exceeded by the demand or diminished by the disaster itself.
Recovery from an emergency:
The recovery phase starts after the immediate threat to human life has subsided. The immediate goal of the recovery phase is to bring the affected area back to normalcy as quickly as possible.