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What is involved in crisis planning?

by D. Power

Crisis planning is a bit of a misnomer. One is not planning to create a crisis, rather one is planning to take actions to avoid a crisis or if the crisis should occur to manage the crisis response.

Crisis anticipation leads to proactive crisis planning and risk mitigation. So how should managers plan the response to a crisis or disaster?

Carefully! It is important that crisis planning doesn't increase the likelihood that the anticipated crisis will occur. Rather the goal is to reduce the negative impacts of a crisis if and when it should occur.

The following steps should be a part of crisis contingency planning:

  • Assess the situation especially examine vulnerabilities and exposures
  • Assess crisis capabilities
  • Select a response team
  • Develop a detailed plan
  • Make sure appropriate personnel have read and understand the plan
  • Be prepared to act by holding drills and practice exercises
  • Prepare post crisis evaluation criteria

A crisis situation often involves making decisions quickly and predicting the consequences. In problem situations it is important to assess the pros, cons, and “what ifs”, but in a crisis situation, one often must perform analyses quickly and with limited information. With advance preparation and planning, one can better manage a crisis situation and respond and react more appropriately to such a situation if it occurs.

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Copyright © 2004-15 by D. J. Power (see his home page). PlanningSkills.COMsm is maintained by Alexander P. and Daniel J. Power. Please contact them at with questions. See disclaimer and privacy statement. This page was last modified on December 8, 2015.