Responding to emergencies should be a predictable element of corporate, government, and education operations. Disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, pandemics and foodborne illness, and employee or student rage incidents are widely familiar to us. They have indelibly changed common assumptions and expectations—and demonstrated that the ability of many organizations to manage around catastrophes is grossly inadequate.
Government officials, executives, board members, and educators are now expected to anticipate emergency disruptions—natural, man-made, and terrorist related. Markets, public opinion, and the courts punish companies that do not adequately protect their people, property and physical assets. Standards of informed planning are beginning to affect the insurance and legal liability risks to which organizations are exposed. Washington has elevated emergency planning to a national security priority.
Risk Solutions International’s Emergency Management practice helps companies, government entities, universities, colleges and school districts understand and manage threats from a holistic perspective. We use a standards-based approach to help them address all-hazards exposures across all phases of emergency management – prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) approach, process, nomenclature and organization provide the basis of the plans we develop for our clients. The challenge for most of our clients as they become more emergency prepared is to understand that their normal organization and reporting must give way during significant emergencies to their incident command team structure and to those staff members who have formal training and responsibility for executing their incident response plans.
Our strategies, advice and deliverables employ a proactive, all-inclusive approach that coordinates planning among all of the relevant private entities and public agencies, since the emergencies they face cross jurisdictional boundaries. Our objective in this practice is to help clients develop a sustainable internal capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies of all kinds.
K-12 and Higher Education
K-12 schools and college administrators, campus police, and safety officials share responsibility for ensuring a safe and secure learning and work environment. Risk Solutions International provides our education clients with unparalleled emergency preparedness expertise. We are a leading provider of comprehensive emergency management plan websites for many universities, colleges and community colleges nationwide – Ivy league schools, prominent private and state-supported institutions, and leading community colleges.
We have been prominent consultants to U.S. Department of Education's Readiness & Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) and Safe Schools Grant awardees, assisting thousands of schools in over 95 public school districts nationwide. We also help police departments and cities that win Department of Justice COPS “Secure Our Schools” grants. Our combined references, qualifications and experience in K-12 districts are unmatched. The web-based emergency management plans that we have developed and host for numerous universities, community colleges and school districts represent a sustainable, state-of-the-art approach to emergency management. They have become standard platforms for school districts across entire states.
Corporate Emergency Programs
As part of their security, risk management, environmental health and safety, and employee support efforts, companies are concerned for the safety and security of their employees, customers, tenants, and visitors. They are also charged with the protection of their companies’ physical assets and infrastructure. Our Emergency Management practice focuses on the emergencies faced by companies in all types of industry sectors – from financial services and real estate, to hospitality and consumer products. We are experts in all-hazards, standards-based solutions that look at the region and surrounding community and its first responders, in developing plans that help limit damage and liability for our clients. Our senior emergency management consultants bring a rich set of experience in community police, federal law enforcement and extensive private sector security, safety and emergency management assignments. So we are equipped to see both the “big picture” and the details. Our plans are comprehensive, practical and actionable.
Governmental Emergency Preparedness
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants billions of dollars annually to state emergency management agencies. Metropolitan areas, coastal and port cities, and those in proximity to unique natural or made-made threats must now use this funding to aggressively plan for emergencies so they minimize loss of life and recover quickly from disasters. They must conform to federal standards in order to optimize inter-agency coordination. Our emergency management professionals help local governments with plans, exercises, evacuation, school district impact, and response and recovery, as part of their emergency management and continuity of operations (COOP) plans. We specialize in inter-jurisdictional coordination with affected stakeholders.
An organization’s strength and character can be defined by its ability to respond to critical incidents. Crises occur for most organizations, on average, every four or five years. Prompt and effective response will not only limit the damage to the company and its reputation, but will reduce the effects on staff and their families.
A crisis is any event or series of events that threaten a severe negative impact to an organization’s financial performance, brand, reputation, or to its relationships with employees, customers, or suppliers. The impact of crises can be serious for companies, largely because of their unpredictability. They can be amplified by poor management preparation, “silo” culture, misreading the perspectives and resolve of key constituencies, or inadequate communication.
Crises are driven by internal or external events or a collision of the two. Examples include:
Severe weather/natural disasters
Terrorism, executive kidnapping, extortion
Reorganizations, mergers or acquisitions gone bad
Accounting, pricing, insider or rogue trading scandals
Racial discrimination, class action lawsuits
Strikes and employee sabotage
IT security breaches
Global labor violations
Environmental, WMD or CBRNE emergencies
Death of a leader
Our deliverables address the four phases of emergency management: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Our crisis management works centers around the “Four Cs” of crisis management -Coordinate with emergency responders, business continuity planners, and authorities to execute an integrated response and an expedient and orchestrated reaction to the situation. Collaborate with constituents and stakeholders whose ubiquitous access to social media often virally defines the crisis before the organizational machinery even becomes aware of it. Control official information flow and resource allocation to ensure efficient responses and reduce duplication and conflict of effort. Communicate credibly with employees, stakeholders, vendors, the media, and corporate neighbors.
Effective crisis response includes many types of skill sets and well constructed action plans for reducing the likelihood of crises, establishing a culture that can identify them and evaluate them quickly and openly, and installing an internal structure for diffusing them and addressing their causes. Perhaps the single greatest area of opportunity for improvement is in crisis communications and media management during crisis situations. Lessons abound that demonstrate how poorly most public facing executives and officials are at handling “spokesperson” duties during crises.
Services and Solutions
Risk Solutions International provides a comprehensive suite of solutions and services that help clients assess the sufficiency of their emergency and crisis management capacity, design better plans that comply with standards/regulations, and exercise and test those plans. We provide companies, municipalities, and educational institutions with a complete portfolio of safety, emergency, and crisis management services. Our services include:
Emergency Management Assessments
Crisis Capacity Assessments
Security, Risk, Threat & Vulnerability Assessments
Emergency Management Plan Website Platforms
Mass Casualty and Fatality Plans
Crisis Communications and Media Management Training
Emergency Procedures Guides
Training and Exercises
Our experts include professionals trained and certified in emergency management, law enforcement, fire safety, mass fatality management, healthcare emergency management, aviation safety and security, food safety and defense, psychological crisis recovery, targeted violence and human threat assessment, crisis negotiation, training, and crisis communication and media management. They have years of field experience, and bring to our engagements a sense of reality about how plans and training can be effective and useful for our clients.
For More Information
For information about Risk Solutions International’s Emergency Management Practice, please contact Scott Corzine at SCorzine@rsi-llc.com.