What is incident management and why is it important for businesses and organisations of all sizes?
Critical incidents are unplanned events that pose potential harm to members of crowded places – when these crowds are associated to your own business or organisation, these incidents can also inflict harm on your operations, reputation, and public perception.
Incident management is a set of procedures that help you manage the outcomes by accommodating all possible scenarios of potential harm. Effective programs of incident management are sure to integrate with preparations from local authorities, regulators, combat agencies, and should be aligned with best practice guidelines established by the department of Home Affairs or similar.
Incident management is extremely important to organisations and businesses of any size because without it, any number of potentially harmful scenarios can occur without any recovery strategies in place. In this day and age, where public perception plays such an important role to business success, ensuring that you can mitigate any effects these unplanned events have on your business are vital to your success.
For example, visitor harm from over-congestion in a venue is a very likely scenario that can occur despite your best effects to the contrary. By having an incident management plan in place to deal with such a scenario, you maintain your reputation whilst also saving time and money through effective and efficient planning.
The fundamental steps of incident management
Strong incident management planning consists of the following 4 stages:
The foundation for your incident management procedures is in analysing and reviewing your existing resilience programs to assess your level of preparedness and compliance for an incident. These reviews must be done with legislation, best practice standard or benchmarks in mind.
Once a review has been completed which would include documentation reviews, workshops, interviews and physical site visits, a final report containing the gaps in your incident management planning would be produced. This report would not only highlight gaps in your incident management, but also provide recommendations for how to improve your preparedness.
The review of your current situation is only the start through – next you need to prepare yourself for the future. Incident planning activities in this stage include activating your incident team to be ready to respond effectively, developing assessment tools you can use yourself, developing action plans & setting in place communications procedures to mitigate the effects of incidents whenever they occur.
Once your initial review and planning are complete, its imperative that your incident response team members are trained to respond effectively and efficiently. Typically, incident management training will consist of the following units:
- Incident fundamentals
- Incident assessments
- Communications training
- Organisational toolsets
At RiskLogic, our incident management training is tailored to all team members in your organisation and can be completed in-person or online depending on your organisations needs. Our course content is developed in house by resilience experts and is unique to your own organisation whilst keeping relevant to current world events. It’s world class training.
Training is only part of the overall puzzle to incident management planning. Once your team members feel they are ready to put their training to the test, it’s time to begin scenario exercising their skillsets.
Rehearsing your incident management plans via realistic, hands-on scenario exercises is critical in preparing your team members for any potential real-world scenarios. Scenario exercises help build familiarisation with staff roles, responsibilities, processes, tools available, tension levels and will help you identify gaps in your planning.
The best scenario exercises focus on the following aspects:
Now that your plans are in your place, your incident response team has been trained, and you have identified any gaps in your planning through scenario exercises, it is time to maintain your readiness & continue to improve it.
The first step to achieving this is developing a final version of the incident management plan for your organisation, containing all the improvements that have been made since step one of this process. This final plan will also include some extra elements including:
- Incident assessments
- Command centre establishment checklist & control structures
- Role cards for reach role & communication plans
- Incident escalation and response checklists
- Impact assessment tools
- People management plans
- Integration with resilience plans and other agency plans
Once your final plan is ready, your organisation will have reached new levels of confidence, readiness & resilience in the face of unprecedented incident events.
The different types of incidents that can occur at any time
There are an almost immeasurable number of types of incidents that can occur, due to the nature of them being any unprecedented event that can cause harm in a crowded setting. Some better-known examples of these incidents include:
- Slipping and tripping due to inadequately lit areas or poorly maintained surfaces
- Collapse of a structure, such as a fence or a barrier
- People being pushed against objects or any other sort of crushing between people
- Crowd movements being obstructed due to mass movements of groups of people
- Stampedes and trampling underfoot occurring due to panic
- Aggressive behaviour between two members of the crowd
Not only are there multiple types of incidents to account for, but the type of crowd which you are dealing with also plays a large factor in what kinds of incidents to prepare for. The types of crowds to look out for include:
- Panicked crowds
- Activist crowds
- Expressive or motivated crowds
- Commuter crowds
- Tourist crowds
Crowds can also change their type dynamically and without warning – so maintaining a constant level of attention on the situation is paramount in maintaining your preparedness.
How to get started with Incident Management Planning
Incident management planning can certainly seem overwhelming at first. However, at its core it is the practice of planning, training, exercising & continuously improving toward resilience & preparedness in the event of unforeseen harmful events.
At RiskLogic, our team of experts have been delivering world-class incident management services for over 15 years. We’ve worked across multiple industries including education, governments, transportation & more – helping any organisation ensure they are ready when an incident strikes.
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more, be sure to click the contact button below to speak with one of our team members about your organisation today.