Crisis management planning is an organized way of mulling over the misfortunes that may affect an organization or individuals. In crisis management, flexibility is highly essential as opposed to a step-by-step process to accommodate possible dynamics. Flexibility helps in the diagnosis and addressing of specific issues. Although a crisis is, most of the time, seen as a negative situation, it can help an organization to learn and change depending on the elements of an incident. In other words, a crisis pushes an organization out of its comfort zone. New points of view can be developed for making an organization withstand and successfully overcome possible future crises (Crandall, Parnell, & Spillan, 2013).
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Organizations that do not learn from past crises are likely to experience a replica of such or more severe incidences in the future. Organizations, individuals, and government institutions should undertake role and value evaluation through a learning process in which they detect and correct errors observed while resolving past negative events.
Organizations and institutions can identify and rectify errors noted in their past crises management in various ways, including single-loop and double-loop learning methods. In single-loop learning, individuals, organization, or groups change their actions depending on the way they achieved results from a past negative incidence and the anticipated outcomes (Crandall et al., 2013). Based on observations regarding their present situations, people, groups, and organizations adapt new behaviors and actions to alleviate and improve circumstances. In double-loop learning, apart from changing their behaviors and actions, organizations, individuals, or groups also alter the factors responsible for the problematic actions.
The crisis management team should help in the improvement of communication in an organization, system, or individuals. Miscommunication can lead to confusion, which may, in turn, cause conflicts and delay in finding a solution to a crisis (Astramovich & Coker, 2007). When an organization realizes, from a past incident, that its crisis management team does not offer clear guidance on effective communication, it can use that as an insight of developing a more robust and confusion-free information network (Crandall et al., 2013).
For instance, in 2009, dirt accumulation just beside a railway track with electrical wires started to smolder as a result of a passing trains’ braking wheel spark in Amsterdam (Steenbruggen, Nijkamp, Smits, & Mohabir, 2013). Alarm calls were made to the Schiphol Coordination Centre, which responded by sending airport fire and medical services.
The Railway Traffic Controller (RTC), who was working remotely, was also informed about the train conductor’s smoke but was hesitant to declare it an emergency case. The trains that were in the tunnel tube adjacent to the fire during the incidence stopped for 30 minutes due to the breakdown of the signals and switches (Steenbruggen et al., 2013). RTC then declared the incidence of an emergency issue, but the ultimate solution was to arise from the communication between Emergency Operations Coordinator (EOC) of the railway and the Airport Fire Officer (AFO).
The AFO requested Emergency Operations Director (EOD) to drive the trains out so that the fire brigade could have a safe space for extinguishing the fire. However, EOD requested EOC to ensure that the trains do not get out of the tunnel since he thought the firefighters were inside it. The firefighters could not establish the cause of the fire as they surprisingly found the trains in the tunnel, compelling them to request their immediate drive out.
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Although no injuries or fatalities were reported, the details from Temporal Trace Language (TTL), a crisis management analysis tool, indicated that passengers whose trains were in one of the tunnels could have lost lives due to the delay arising from the miscommunication between the responsible personnel. After the incident, all the authorities involved in the safety and security of the Netherland’s railway transport system came together to establish an information network supporting quick, clear, and effective decision making.
Crisis management analysis helps to bring on board all vital players in the handling of the impacts of disasters (James & Gilliland, 2012). Most countries leave the responsibility of disaster management to their governments only, excluding other possibly important organizations and individuals. An analysis of poor disaster management as a result of limited resources provided by a few disaster management providers can be a lesson of encouraging broader collaboration.
For instance, after Hurricane Sandy stroke the United States, hundreds of lives were lost. Besides, many survivors could not access medical services due to the destruction of health facilities and congestion in the existing ones. The government seemed to be unprepared for such a disaster as it took longer to give an evacuation order for the survivors. To make the matter worse, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, religious leaders, as well as businesspersons, did not participate in the disaster recovery process as expected. As a result of the reluctance, Redlener and Reilly (2012) recommend that such individuals and organizations should be included in disaster management planning so that they can voluntarily promise on what they can offer when such crises recur. The incorporation of such organizations and individuals can be very helpful since they act as first responders who can later offer longstanding relief and other recovery services to the victims.
Role and value analysis is essential in crisis management for the successful handling of future negative situations since it offers an opportunity to identify and correct the existing flaws and weaknesses. It is paramount to assess the effectiveness of crisis management strategies regularly, especially after each crisis. With such an evaluation, the negative impacts of disasters will become minimal.
Astramovich, R. L., & Coker, J. K. (2007). Program evaluation: The accountability bridge model for counselors. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85(2), 162-172.
Crandall, W. R., Parnell, J. A., & Spillan, J. E. (2013). Crisis management: Leading in the new strategy landscape. New York, NY: Sage Publications.
James, R., & Gilliland, B. (2012). Crisis intervention strategies. Toronto, Canada: Nelson Education.
Redlener, I., & Reilly, M. J. (2012). Lessons from Sandy—Preparing health systems for future disasters. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(24), 2269-2271.
Steenbruggen, J., Nijkamp, P., Smits, J. M., & Mohabir, G. (2013). Traffic incident and disaster management in the Netherlands: Challenges and obstacles in information sharing. Research Memorandum, 2(24), 1-45.