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terrorism or another major incident? How are you locating them to see if they are safe? In this age of digital technology, you should be able to communicate almost instantly with them to check on their welfare and offer them advice.


What follows are my own simple steps any company, large or small, can use as a general guideline to help ensure they’ve done what they can to keep their own employees safe. This isn’t the sum total of all incident preparedness but it is a good starting point.


PREPARE To begin with it is vital that you have a good, dependable mass notification system with multiple redundancies in terms of messaging your employees (SMS, E-Mail etc.)


This is among the most basic pieces of preparation required of a medium to large sized company dealing with hundreds to thousands of employees who could be potentially at risk.


INFORM & ALERT Probably the most important element is to inform staff and alert them of any impending dangers via some sort of one-way communication channel with multiple-redundancies. This direct communication helps to minimize the sort of rumour-filled misinformation that naturally arises as a result of terror incidents and more importantly, to reassure your employees that the company is indeed aware of current events and is monitoring them closely.


RESPOND & COMMUNICATE This is where the concept of upper management’s duty of care really comes to the fore. Ensure that you have some sort of system that employs a two-way communication channel running alongside the one-way channel mentioned above.


This allows you to ping out a request for a response across multiple messaging methods with a simple question like “are you currently at the muster point?” or “are you safe?” Mass notification and response systems that afford this sort of functionality are invaluable and mean you don’t have to deal with more chaotic response plans that tend to involve individually locating each person at a muster point (note that the muster point approach to crisis management is fraught with its own dangers in this modern age of terrorism). This also gives the incident manager a clear view of who is safe and who potentially isn’t.


After the incident manager has issued a call for status response, the most


important task is the identification of who hasn’t responded and why.


Most modern mass notification systems allow you to sort responders by their status, which then allows the incident manager to contact each one, or each one’s point of contact (for example, their spouse).


This appraisal of the status of non-responders is important as it allows the incident manager to confirm those people who have been listed as at-risk but who are, say, working from home instead. In essence, this whole process is designed to prioritise those who may be at risk by putting them to the top of the incident manager’s list, quite literally.


INSTRUCT & REASSURE One thing you learn quickly while working in the anti-terror sector of law enforcement is that the panic that will undoubtedly set in must be accounted for in contingency planning. It is human nature, especially in our uncertain climate, to fear for one’s safety when one knows there is an unfolding terror attack taking place nearby.


As a result, the incident manager’s role should not solely be to broadcast for the sake of alerting and accounting for people. He or she should also be prepared to reassure staff that the situation is being dealt with as quickly as possible and that the best response from staff is to remain calm and listen to his or her alerts and updates.


KEEP INFORMATION FLOWING & ASSIST PEOPLE DIRECTLY WHERE POSSIBLE This is more of a supplementary point to the above, but it’s important enough to deserve its own sub-title. Misinformation as already stated naturally arises as a result of any terror incident, but it becomes more damaging when the institutions people usually look to for advice and answers are silent.


The city of Munich’s recent use of mass notification technology to keep city residents advised of news and information on their search for a gunman meant dubious reports on Twitter weren’t allowed to carry as much currency. The same rules apply to a business’s incident manager, especially if the business is at the forefront of an attack. He has to keep information flowing to the staff as soon as he or she receives it, and not to be playing catch-up to someone else’s account of what is actually transpiring.


This direct duty of care to staff is something mobile technology can now assist with, and we should all make the most of it.


Crisis Communications Apps can help you make sure employees are safe during an incident, ensuring a clear duty of care to your employees.


Find out more at


www.yudu.com/crisis Telephone: +44 (0)20 430 6616 Email: enquiries@yudu.com


A Digital Island


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