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June 6, 2006

Making a crisis management plan

Having a crisis management plan in place is essential to ensure the safety and happiness of staff and delegates. If you’re not sure how to go ahead with this, our two experts set out step-by-step guides to help you become fully prepared.

Three general rules
By Jacky Selway, business tourism manager at Aberdeen Convention Bureau:

  1. Expect the unexpected – While planning an event consider the pitfalls that might arise. This will not only mean you are better prepared but it will help you prevent avoidable problems as you spot them well in advance.
  2. Talk the talk – Should the unexpected happen it is vital that those involved with the event are kept informed. Communication is imperative when dealing with any sort of crisis.
  3. Prevention is better than cure – Planning can help avoid any unforeseen problems. Seemingly obvious things like ensuring your venue is accessible to all and testing any audio visual equipment that is to be used should not be overlooked. Carrying out such simple check in advance gives you the opportunity to rectify any problems and prevent them from turning into a major problem once the event is under way.

10-point emergency check list
By Lesley Scorgie, head of crisis management at docleaf

  1. Assess potential risks. Check the health and safety status of venues and hotels you plan to use. Find out about their evacuation and emergency procedures.
  2. Create a crisis team, identifying roles and clear lines of responsibility in the event of a crisis.
  3. Liaise with other stakeholders as to who will do what in a crisis.
  4. Be prepared to fly in reinforcements at short notice.
  5. Ensure that you have access to cash quickly.
  6. Keep a full set of all contact details for your venues and party with you and one back at the office. When abroad, compile local contact details, including consulate, police and hospitals.
  7. Have a fluent language speaker on standby.
  8. Put in place procedures to log all information, particularly where injuries and fatalities are concerned.
  9. Agree a communication plan, which determines who is responsible for giving out what information and to whom.
  10. Consider how you will look after relatives and next of kin. Nominate a team responsible for this, making sure that they are senior and mature enough to deal with some very challenging issues.

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