Test Driving Your Emergency Response

Does your emergency plan cut the mustard at 9pm on a Friday?

It’s 4.45pm on a Friday prior to a Trades Fortnight holiday and you receive a call about a child being airlifted to hospital. It appears that she had been seriously injured falling from scaffolding at one of your remote properties.

It’s not long before the phone is ringing off the hook requesting more information and media comment.

Your builder has gone abroad for the holiday and you are in the dark about what has happened. Your closest team member is an hour away from the incident and they’re unable to get a mobile signal once they reach the scene.

A weekend of frantic media calls ensues. The press can’t find details of your builder at Companies House, he has no website; did you do your due diligence on him?

Social media activity increases – the child’s life hangs in the balance. H&S ‘experts’ are commenting on media websites that this was ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

Images of the building site emerge and it appears that there may have been health and safety breaches – but you still can’t reach your builder who’s living it up in Torremolinos with his phone off, fulfilling a promise to the family not to work on this holiday.

The child’s mother holds a press conference and for the first time you see the human side to this tragedy. They are a family of faith and they ask for everyone to pray for the seven-year old.

Tragically, the child dies the next day.

Fortunately, you have a well-developed emergency response plan which you’ve refined on paper over a period of years. But does it work in practice? Does it cut the mustard at 9pm on a Friday?

We recently put our client in Edinburgh through a full day simulation of this crisis.

Expecting to begin at a specific time, we caught them off guard by beginning the exercise early which meant the senior people expected to lead the exercise weren’t immediately available. So, the first stage of executing their plan was to draft in other senior team members who were unaware of the planned exercise. Afterall, real life doesn’t wait for the end of the meeting agenda to strike.

We provided real time copies of news stories written in different styles – producing these throughout the day to include the client’s comments. Calls from the media, videos of the family, photos of a shrine to the child at the site and a harrowing call from the ‘girl’s mother’ which had the hairs standing up on the necks of even the most experienced managers all added up to a memorable day with learning points throughout for the client.

If you want us to put your team in the hot seat and test out your emergency plans get in touch.