Exercising emergency communications plans is a critical task as it enables organisations to simulate a communications response and it also measures their effective level of preparedness in case of an actual event
CAVERSHAM, UK – This report aims to provide guidelines on how to build an effective emergency communications plan and raise awareness on best practice. The requirements for communication are considerably higher than ever before. Technology plays a crucial role in influencing emergency communications and crisis management through systems and connected devices, which needs to be carefully considered when planning and implementing solutions.
Emergency communications plans are vital as it helps organisations to simulate events but also to measure their level of preparedness in case of an actual event. Figure 10 shows that 47% of respondents exercise their plans at least once a year; this shows a 5% increase from last year (42% to 47%). This is really encouraging, given the fact that, last year a contraction of 7% was recorded. On the other hand, this year we witnessed one of the sharpest declines in the number of organisations that claim to have regularly scheduled exercise by 19% (30% to 11%). Moreover, 14% of the organisations either never exercised their plans or do so on an ad-hoc basis.
To effectively build a robust communication plan, organisations need to consider; communicating with staff on mass, gathering, validating and sharing accurate information and locating staff on their whereabouts. During a crisis it is vital to ensure constant exchange of information, alerting experts in the first instance and then the constant exchange of information and two-way communication with employees and key stake holders.
The findings of the report, in collaboration with F24, highlight that adverse weather is the main trigger of emergency communications plans and Business Continuity is the main function that manages the emergency communications processes. Six out of ten companies are now using software for emergency notification purposes. This is an improvement compared with 2017 (from 49% to 59%), however there is still more that can be done, especially within critical situations where technology can be used very profitably: the numbers within the report show that organisations, who employ Internet of Things (IoT) technology, have significantly faster response times when informing their target groups than those who don’t.
The Emergency Communications Report key findings:
- Business Continuity is the main function that manages the emergency communications processes (42%), followed by corporate communications (24%), security management (11%) and risk management (8%).
- Adverse weather (62%) is the number one trigger of emergency communications plans. This shows an increase of 8% from the previous year (54% to 62%).
- For a successful plan, 66% activate their plans within one hour, 67% would escalate communications to top management within an hour and 80% achieved their ideal response levels.
- The ideal emergency communications team includes BC Manager, Corporate Communications and Risk Manager. It is crucial to gather accurate information during a crisis. Most practitioners rely on up-to-date contact details, checking weather alerts, collaborating with local authorities, reviewing official social media accounts and other traditional media channels.
- IoT solutions can help response and escalate communications to top management rapidly. This has great influence on day-to-day work within Emergency Communications and Crisis Management and therefore this needs to be considered carefully when planning and implementing solutions.
Tim Janes, Chair of the BCI, commented: “Emergency alert and communications software can help to address these challenges. A well-designed solution can provide structured, time-saving support to gather incident updates and efficiently distribute communications to diverse stakeholder groups. Of course, they are not a cure-all and still rely on good quality data combined with proficient users.”
About the Business Continuity Institute
Founded in 1994 with the aim of promoting a more resilient world, the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has established itself as the world’s leading Institute for business continuity and resilience. The BCI has become the membership and certifying organization of choice for business continuity and resilience professionals globally with over 8,000 members in more than 100 countries, working in an estimated 3,000 organizations in the private, public and third sectors.
The vast experience of the Institute’s broad membership and partner network is built into its world class education, continuing professional development and networking activities. Every year, more than 1,500 people choose BCI training, with options ranging from short awareness raising tools to a full academic qualification, available online and in a classroom. The Institute stands for excellence in the business continuity and resilience profession and its globally recognised certified grades provide assurance of technical and professional competency. The BCI offers a wide range of resources for professionals seeking to raise their organization’s level of resilience, and its extensive thought leadership and research programme helps drive the industry forward. With approximately 120 Partners worldwide, the BCI Partnership offers organizations the opportunity to work with the BCI in promoting best practice in business continuity and resilience.