A crisis management plan (CMP) is a document that outlines the processes a firm will use to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect an organization's profitability, reputation or ability to operate. CMPs are used by business continuity teams, emergency management teams, crisis management teams and damage assessment teams to avoid or minimize damage.
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A crisis – a significant negative event – almost invariably requires that decisions be made quickly to limit damage to the organization. Potential crises include natural disasters, theft, fire, workplace violence, loss of power, or system failure. A crisis management plan provides a well-documented set of responses to potential critical situations. Planning allows the affected organization to act quickly should a serious incident occur.
An effective crisis management plan should:
- Identify members of the crisis management team
- Document what criteria will be used to determine a crisis
- Establish monitoring systems and practices to detect early warning signals of any potential crisis
- Specify who will be the spokesperson in the event of a crisis
- Provide a list of key emergency contacts
- Document who will need to be notified in the event of a crisis and how that notification will be made
- Identify a process for assessing the incident and its potential severity, and assessing the impact on the building and employees
- Identify procedures for responding to the crisis and emergency assembly points where employees can go
- Provide a process for testing the effectiveness of the crisis management plan and updating it on a regular basis
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