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Emergency Planning & Coaching
Write effective disaster recovery plans. Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Training

Effective Emergency Plans include accurate directions for quickly assessing damage, allocating resources, minimizing congestion and supporting emergency workers. Emergency Coordinators ensure that emergency plans are effective, current and available.

Emergency Coordinators have many duties. Competent coordinators ensure that

  • Employees are regularly trained
  • Contingency plans are regularly updated
  • Employee capabilities are regularly tested
  • Emergency drills closely depict real-life crises
  • The role of emergency operating centers are regularly re-defined
  • All aspects of emergency preparedness are regularly re-examined

The key word is regular. Once or twice is not enough. The world changes too fast for that. Good emergency planning requires that Emergency Coordinators ensure that:

  1. Contingency plans are organized
  2. Disaster plans are simple and available
  3. Contingency plans are accurate but and simple
  4. Alternate decision makers are accurately identified
  5. Emergency plans include planning the aftermath and recovery

1. Good Emergency Plans are Organized

Well documented disaster planning benefits many people. In a crisis, people save valuable time seeking critical information. Ensure your contingency plans provide essential information for each person involved in a crisis.

Avoid the common error of throwing together a folder of jumbled information copied from many sources. The time needed to organize such a mess - is valuable time wasted during a real emergency. And if the plans are kept on a computer network or in only one location ... you can imagine the consequences.

  • Organize information in a logical flow of what to do in a crisis
  • Keep information that is used only for planning in a separate binder
  • Assemble essential information for the right people in the right sequence

The size of your organization and the number of risks determine how many emergency documents are needed. A small organization in one location may need a single document that contains all emergency information. A large company in multiple locations needs an executive document, a company plan, sub-plans and many supportive documents.

  • Executive summary

An executive summary should be a concise guide that informs upper management what to do immediately during a potential disaster. Executive summaries can spell out who is responsible for what and should include removable copies of key information pages that show current telephone numbers and alternate contact information that may needed in a disaster.

  • Emergency plans

An emergency plan should provide key policies about generic disasters that executives can use to plan long-term recovery. A good emergency plan can create clear pictures of how the organization can respond to predictable disasters.

2. Good Emergency Plans are Simple & Available

Have paper copies and keep them up to at. Electronic emergency plans can become a massive problem in a real disaster.

  • What knowledge is required to access the emergency plans?
  • Will computers be accessible in a power and/or network failure?
  • Will the applications that access and view the plans be running?
  • Will current versions of the documents be readily available?
  • Will emergency staff know how to find what they need in documents?
  • Have key people rehearsed the plans? How many times?

Store paper copies of current emergency plans on-site and off-site,
in readily accessible locations.

3. Good Emergency Plans are accurate yet not too detailed

Plans based on accurate and current information can be of enormous benefit in a disaster but many crisis management plans only look good on paper. Although a generic plan may be a useful tool, have it carefully scrutinized by all stakeholders and test it regularly to ensure that it works.

  • Document critical functions in appropriate detail
  • Identify and plan for the real “worst case” scenarios
  • Overly detailed plans can cause delays during a disaster

A real disaster will rarely follow a disaster plan, and any plan will likely have serious gaps in a real emergency. Therefore, focus initially on "worst case" scenarios. For example, consider what you can do if police / fire department / ambulance services are unavailable and TV crews show up in force.

4. Good Emergency Plans identify Alternates

Disaster recovery plans can quickly become obsolete, with changes in personnel, plant, vendors and clients. Your crisis recovery plan should continually identify and check contact information for essential staff, and provide alternate means for reaching them should any of the primary contacts fail.

  • Be prepared for a media invasion
  • Expect networks to be jammed or unavailable
  • List alternate telephone numbers, and those of alternates
  • In a real crisis, many people will try to contact executives and managers

5. Good Emergency Plans plan for the Aftermath

Plan for the human consequences of stress. Emergency workers (including you!) and victims may later show inappropriate emotions, dissociation or psychosomatic symptoms. Such people often:

  • avoid finishing projects
  • cannot specify timed goals
  • distract themselves with obsessions
  • express strong and inappropriate emotions
  • offer endless justifications for their behavior
  • may be depressed - life does not make sense

"Wait and see" is not planning - it is reacting and crisis situations can be extremely stressful. Consider providing systemic coaching for emergency workers - before they need it. See Survival Coaching.

Nightmare Scenario

Imagine yourself managing a disaster - using an emergency plan with serious errors and deficiencies! Imagine yourself trying to cope with a crisis with inadequate resources and missing important people. Imagine trying to explain your actions to the media DURING a crisis and to a court AFTER that crisis.

Check that each contingency plan avoids these common errors and minimizes the risk to emergency workers - and your risk of not only losing your job but facing charges of criminal negligence.

Online Emergency Coaching & Training

Martyn Carruthers was a paramedic (Royal Navy) and served on nuclear submarines during the Cold War. He was a health physics and safety officer at nuclear power stations, and Radiation Protection Officer for the Canadian government, where he worked with emergency measures organizations. He founded Soulwork Systemic Coaching, a complete system of coaching, counseling and training.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email