A 7-point checklist for crisis preparedness and management

Do you carry a laminated card with the key contacts at your organization? You should, in case a crisis strikes.

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Nevertheless, businesses and organizations can be prepared for unfortunate events, including attacks from consumers, product defects, and other crises that can damage a bottom line and personal reputations.

Crisis planning is one way to mitigate damage during controversy and heavy media scrutiny. Embedded practices, however, are also crucial. This means regular behaviors within organizations that can help mitigate damage and aid the flow of information during a controversy or crisis. Absent regular communications practices, crisis damage may be deepened by poor communication.

Here are seven tips that can benefit any organization when controversy or crisis erupts.

Have an established chain of command, and follow it.

Police, fire, and other emergency responders know the chain-of-command concept well—or they should. It tends to be less-familiar territory for communicators and CEOs.

During emergency exercises, it is crucial to know who is in charge and who has what role and responsibility. In some instances, the CEO or organizational leader may have to take a back seat to emergency responders. Know who are second and third in command, and follow that chain.

Maintain key contact information in both physical and electronic forms.

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