Assess What You Have
A strong emergency communication plan utilizes tools that help spread information quickly and get it into the hands of people who need it. If a plan like this is not already in place in your organization (and even if one is) a good first step is to assess the tools and resources already in place and understand how to best maximize their effectiveness. This assessment can help identify weaknesses in plans and procedures already in place to correct them before an emergency occurs.
Learn from Others
When developing an emergency communication plan, it’s important to look at what has worked, and what hasn’t, at other organizations.
For example, following tornadoes in Tuscaloosa Alabama in 2011, it was discovered that the Alabama Trauma System, a system designed to prevent hospital overload by helping reroute patients to other facilities, was underutilized. The system is supposed to help prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients that need trauma care. However, during the aftermath of the tornado, hospitals were finding either too many or too few trauma patients being routed to their facilities.
This was a result of communication taking place directly between ambulances and hospitals. Since they did not go through the Alabama Trauma System, patients were not routed in the most efficient manner.