Incident Response

1. Critical incident management

Resources & Tools

Security and safety incidents are an constant risk wherever NGOs operate. Most incidents will be handled routinely through your organisation’s line management, but exceptional situations can arise which, due to their nature and severity, require exceptional resources to resolve, and therefore fall outside of normal management arrangements.

A Critical Incident is any incident that significantly disrupts activities and operations; results in severe consequences for staff or others (serious injury or illness); or threatens the reputation of the organisation.

Examples of critical incidents include, but are not limited to:

  • abduction, kidnapping, arrest or detention involving staff.
  • physical assault or sexual violence against a staff member.
  • Mass-casualty incident (for example, a natural disaster, bombing or attack) affecting staff.
  • Death of or life-threating injury to a staff member.

The successful resolution of critical incidents depends on your organisation’s ability to take appropriate decisions quickly. This requires preparation, a good flow of information, and clear channels of communication that all staff understand. 

While each critical incident is unique and therefore difficult to prepare for fully, there are essential mechanisms and plans that, if prepared in advance, can assist a coordinated and effective response. Incident management plans should be established to assist senior management at the country level in responding to critical incidents involving staff. 

Incident management plans should outline the structure for managing critical incidents, when and how it is activated and the key stakeholders involved, as well as clarifying specific roles and responsibilities, and immediate actions in response to critical incidents. 

Resources & Tools