September 2, 2011
What To Do In A Crisis: A First Hour Response Checklist
Step One: Senior Person On-Site
___ Contact emergency services by dialing 9-1-1.
___ Call the Company emergency hotline (as appropriate)/Corporate Office and Team Leader.
___ Contact the Corporate Safety Director.
___ Determine who the witnesses are and debrief as quickly as possible.
___ Initiate site control and determine if the site should be shut down.
___ Conduct a head count to make certain that all employees are accounted for.
___ Do not move anything that could be classified as evidence. Keep intact until Safety Representatives (or other appropriate company official) is onsite.
___ Ensure telephone coverage at the site. Restrict use of two way radios.
___ Inform site personnel to direct requests from outside groups to you.
___ Post workers to restrict entry to the site. Only those authorized will be permitted entry and identification must be shown.
___ Keep selected individuals on-site to help with the incident. Be aware of possible second entry attempts.
___ Notify the crisis management Team Leader.
___ Establish a command center.
___ Select a temporary spokesperson to issue a buy-time statement if the media arrives (see below).
___ If the site will be shut down, tell workers when they are to report back to work and that critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) will be available (if applicable). Also, to direct information requests from outside groups to you and to contact their families to let them know they are OK.
What To Say If The Media Calls
“My name is ( ) and I am (title) with (Company name). The incident has just happened and I am not prepared to answer any questions at this time. Please stay in this safety area so we can do our job and take care of the situation. I need to return to the site, but either (spokesperson) or I will be back at (time) with an update. Thank you.
Important: Do not take any questions at this time. If badgered, simply state that you need to get back to the site and you will return at stated time.
Step Two: Team Leader
___ Determine what happened, when/where it happened, and who is involved.
___ Verify the current status of the site (shut down?).
___ Determine whether you and/or spokesperson are needed on site.
___ Notify corporate management.
___ Advise the receptionist on how to route calls.
___ Identify potential spin-off crises.
___ Notify Corporate Human Resources and/or Corporate Industrial Relations.
___ Initiate conference call number and have time/number available for crisis management team for status updates.
Step Three: Safety Representative
___ Contact the Corporate Safety Director.
___ Call the Corporate emergency number.
___ Coordinate with team leader for critical incident stress debriefing (CISD).
___ Gather number/names of injured and/or fatalities and obtain phone number(s) of the spouse(s)/family(ies). Contact the team leader to determine who should notify the spouse(s)/family(ies).
___ Debrief workers who witnessed the incident.
___ Begin incident investigation.
___ If necessary, initiate a post-incident drug/alcohol test (call Industrial Relations).
___ Designate someone to stay with the injured worker(s) at the hospital until family members arrive.
___ Document the incident in writing and on film.
Step Four: Team Leader
___ If there is an employee injury/fatality, determine who will notify spouse(s)/family(ies). A fatality may require a personal visit.
___ If the injury/fatality is a subcontractor’s employee, it is the subs responsibility to notify the spouse/family.
___ If a non-employee is hurt/killed, allow the authorities to make the notification. Call the Corporate emergency number.
___ Inform any surrounding areas that may be affected by the incident.
___ Instruct employees at the incident site to contact their families to let them know they are okay.
Step Five: Spokesperson
___ Write, and get clearance for, all statements and releases.
___ Designate someone to screen your calls from the news media.
___ Complete the media log sheets.
___ Anticipate media questions. If possible, role play a media interview with a colleague before going live.
___ Assemble necessary background information and literature.
___ If you elect to give the media a tour, make certain that the area is safe and that they are escorted by a company representative. Issue safety equipment and require a hold-harmless agreement be signed, if necessary.
___ Instruct reporters on your safety procedures before going on-site. If they violate any of the procedures, you have the right to ask them to leave.
___ Advise reporters of a time and place for future updates.
___ Follow-up on additional media inquiries.
Step Six: Team Leader Coordination With Corporate
___ Identify the audiences that need to be contacted for update purposes.
___ Gather details on past negative issues which the media may refer to.
___ Fax/e-mail/voice mail all employees and job sites to notify them of the incident and tell them to whom they should direct media/general information calls. Provide on-going updates.
___ Establish an emergency message mailbox for employees to access if office operations have been impacted.
___ Track all media coverage via a monitoring service and the Internet.
___ Secure and offer critical-incident stress counseling for employees who witnessed the incident or were nearby.
Step Seven: Executive Management
___ Maintain close contact with the team leader to determine involvement.
___ Approve all statements/communications to the outside world.
___ Work closely with legal counsel.
___ In the event of injury/fatality be prepared to make the visit/call to the family.
___ In the event of a highly visible crisis be prepared to make the initial statement to the news media…with no Q & A.
___ Establish and maintain communication with employee base and other audiences.
It is important to remember, this is the list of action items just within the first two hours of a crisis. This does not solve the whole crisis. This is one part of a comprehensive crisis communications plan. Training, education and practice are keys to success in this process.
Your front-line folks will do a marvelous job for you, yet need to know how this fits into the overall success of a company’s crisis communications plan. A crisis can go on for days, be prepared and be crisis plan smart!