EOC’s, Exercises and DRILLS
With all due respect…
It seems to me companies often focus their emergency response exercises on the activation of their Emergency Operations Center(EOC)? Don’t get me wrong, the EOC is a necessary part of any emergency response but it is not the only part. As any good emergency response planner knows there are many moving parts to a response and careful consideration should be given to which ones are exercised. After all, most of us do not have unlimited funds to exercise as much as we would like.
First let me say, there is not a newspaper or media outlet in town that is ever going to do a story about how well you executed the activation of your EOC. It just isn’t going to happen. The media story will, as usual focus on where the organization failed to respond quickly enough, typically with the meeting the needs of the customer or client.
For example, in the event of airline disaster if you believed your loved one was on board the aircraft where would you go for information? Naturally, media may be the first to alert you to the event but then where would you go for information? I have asked hundreds of people this question (I know, morbid right?) and the answer is always the same. I hear two responses; I would go to the airport where I dropped off my family member, or I would call the airline emergency response number provided. I would do the same thing. Seems logical to me.
Knowing the family members are going to go to the airport or call the airline reservation center tells me that is where I should initially focus my attention. Yes, airlines drill their stations and yes they drill their call centers but I bet you, they drill their EOC more. Yes, the EOC is important, yes it needs to be exercised but the front line employees should be well exercised to field questions and provide answers to the families anxiously awaiting news about what happened to their loved one. The front line employees facing the family member or taking their call is just as anxious and scared to deliver the information they have as the family member may be to receive it.
Regardless of your business, take a look at your emergency response plan. Are your priorities company focused or customer focused? Where are you most vulnerable? Answer that question and you have the template for your next drill!
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