Companies in the chemical industry and other large organizations do safety drills to train people to respond to local emergencies. It’s more difficult to carry out a crisis drill in which all levels of an organization simulate their response to events damaging core activities so that future existence is threatened. Some necessary parts of such a major crisis drill are:
- Planning: Initially an organization must have thoroughly trained its workers for response to a crisis. The team planning the scenario for a drill must set it up to engage all departments and levels in the internal response as well as interaction with outside communities and agencies.
- To fairly assess the ability of an organization to respond to a crisis, the drill must be based on a scenario that is an existential threat. It may include serious injuries or loss of life, interference with production and delivery, major reduction in the value of a publicly held company, and projected external effects on the public or the environment that would draw critical attention to the situation. The scenario may be based on an internal catastrophe or on a situation outside the organization with similar impact.
- Full-scale reaction to a crisis should include both operational details and interaction with legal, regulatory and public relations teams of the organization. Outside resources may be needed to replace damaged resources or to support departments involved with a response.
- The top level of an organization must be involved in a crisis response drill to coordinate multiple departments and to show that the exercise is vital.
- A crisis drill should be analyzed with both immediate debrief and later with a study of all levels of the response, its effectiveness and necessary changes to the crisis plan.
The point of drilling for a major crisis is to prepare for unforeseen situations. The exercise can help build a culture of safety so that daily actions also guard the viability of the enterprise. The large investment of time and resources in a major crisis drill can be leveraged to make routine activities more efficient.
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