Winter seems to have suddenly arrived with minus temperatures this morning. For some reason even though it is December next week I have still been ill-prepared. I hadn’t got the right clothes to face freezing temperatures at the stables this morning and I really needed to have thought about the right equipment, basically gloves.
I am heading to London to talk about the importance of communicators being prepared and ready to face a crisis. So it seems ironic that I haven’t prepared for the journey.
We never know when a crisis may hit either our organisation or one we are working with, or that we might be affected by. It is why it is vital to have done enough preparation in readiness for that one critical event that we may face in our careers.
It starts with having and testing a plan but not just doing this in isolation. Communication needs to be a part of the organisations report and communication needs to be tested across agencies. Your crisis is not really yours because so many other agencies or businesses will be affected or involved.
Part of the planning has to be ensuring there is an understanding of the most likely crises that you may face. Considering scenarios is really important as you can tailor some of the planning process. I am always surprised by how many organisations and communicators haven’t already done it.
Ensuring you have a plan is important but the single most critical element is the staffing that you may require. Who will work with you? How will you expand the team to meet the demands? What support is in place for those caught up in the response? How will you run 24 hours a day or for seven days a week?
It is often the smallest elements that can be the most frustrating. When I first came into police communication we had ‘grab bags’ they contained all the basics of what you would need in the event of an incident and you kept it with you particularly if you were on call. The right IT, contact details, and equipment are what you need to have at hand so you can focus on the job that needs to be done. One of the issues that can be most challenging is ensuring people eat. During the response to the Manchester Arena attack one of the things the team were most grateful for was our colleague who did a big shop to keep us going with food.
I know we are all busy and the demands of the daily business are huge but I hope we can spare some time to get our house in order.