The threats confronting aid workers are rising significantly. The environments in which NGO staff travel and work delivering programs around the world present considerable risks to their security, safety, health, and wellbeing. In the face of such threats, organisations have a duty to ensure an effective and timely response to critical incidents and emergency situations involving their staff, wherever they occur.
[toolbox-standout-box]CMEs enable organisations to test existing plans and structures, practice of roles and responsibilities, and develop appropriate response actions, in an immersive and realistic environment.[/toolbox-standout-box]
Whilst each incident is unique and requires a tailored response, it is paramount that before an incident occurs, measures and capacities are in place that will enable an organisation to effectively manage potential crisis situations. Preparation, through a combination of detailed plans, trained staff, and specialist support, is vital for the successful management of any incident, especially where a coordinated, effective response involving different locations and stakeholders is required.
Crisis Management Exercises (CMEs) are an integral component of an organisation’s preparedness strategy. Having a plan is not merely enough; organisations also need to ‘learn by doing’. Crisis Management Teams (CMTs) and Incident Management Teams (IMTs) need the opportunity to practice potential responses and test various assumptions to ensure they can coordinate and respond effectively to critical incidents. Learning from exercises, and identifying gaps in plans prior to a real incident, can significantly strengthen an organisation’s crisis management capabilities, and ultimately help ensure a more positive outcome.