Communication is "the imparting or exchanging of information or news," and "a connection between people or places," according to the New Oxford American Dictionary.
Miscommunication can happen in scenario, whether it's between a romantic relationship, a partnership with co-workers for a group project or where to go when there is an emergency evacuation. Excellent and effective communication is vital.
In reality, crises occur daily. In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported 1,247,321 violent crimes in the United States. This statistic ranges from murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Additionally, the same year, nearly 11,000 deaths were reported as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm.
Don't risk poor communication following a life-threatening situation. Read below to learn how you can improve post-incident communication and let Active Threat Solutions (ATS) be your guide to safety.
WHAT IS POST-INCIDENT COMMUNICATION?
Post-incident communication is the response you choose to communicate following a dangerous event. This response can go one of two ways - being helpful or putting yourself and others in more harm.
How you choose to respond to an emergency will dictate your fate, amongst others. We want you to keep in mind that these incidents can happen anywhere at any time. The question is if you are prepared to handle what catastrophe can potentially come your way?
Accumulating leadership and crisis management communication from trainings, workplace protocols, or self-guided research can significantly impact your chances of positively responding when emergencies strike.
Workplace violence is one example of an incident that can happen anywhere at any time. The National Safety Council proves that millions of Americans have been victims of workplace violence, with 18,400 injuries and 458 fatalities reported in 2017.
Developing an emergency action plan can provide additional support, guidance and proper emergency response with hazardous situations arise. For example, your team can create a social media policy and train workers to reduce communication gaps or ambiguities between employers and workers, according to Safety and Health Magazine's article, "After the incident: Crisis communication in the digital age."
10 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE POST-INCIDENT COMMUNICATION
Our team wants you to be prepared to the best of your ability. Let us help you:
- Inform your leaders. Senior leadership should be notified if a serious incident has occurred and people are in danger. The executives of the company should be informed of any crisis for multiple reasons, but especially the safety of their employees.
- Develop strong internal communications. When communication is effectively executed internally throughout the organization, it can become easier to navigate a crisis as a team in a more cohesive manner. Without proper notification internally, protocols, rules and actions for how to respond accordingly can all vary from department to department - making a situation more complicated than necessary.
- Instill a company-wide emergency action plan. An emergency action plan (EAP) is designed to organize and facilitate employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. You will be able to discuss and work through an active shooter profile, internal assignments, critical responsibilities for employees and executives to handle during and immediately following an event and much more. The shooter will have a plan, and we believe you and your company should too.
- Establish a direct chain of command. When disaster strikes, your team needs to know who exactly to contact within the department. It is crucial, especially in times of high-stress and crisis scenarios, to know who to go to and what to say. This group of people will spearhead the staff member's instruction during and after an incident.
- Do not react out of emotion. Use logic as much as you can. Focus on the factors that you can control during a stressful situation. When emotions get the best of us, it tends to fog our ability to think logically and rationally. It can make the problem worse or endanger more lives. Primarily when your life or the lives of others depend on it, narrow your focus on the plan established, who to turn to, and carry out the prepared and predetermined action plan to reach safety.
- Identify a company spokesperson. For damage control after the incident, it is beneficial to protect the company's reputation. Identify a small handful of people to speak on behalf of the company in a calm, controlled and delicate manner. They will need to execute concern for any victims of the incident and who can cooperate well with officials involved in the event. This will place the company in a better position to provide adequate responses to media and investigator inquiries.
- Seek medical attention immediately. If you are injured and can walk, seek the nearest medic to provide help and assistance to you or those who are wounded. If necessary, create a tourniquet from a piece of clean cloth or clothing to wrap around the wound and help stop the bleeding.
- Provide care and support. When lives are lost, or people are going through traumatic situations, it is essential to remember that providing care and support for victims and their families can aid in helping them through the situation.
- Be prepared through active threat training. Training allows for preparedness with potential threats, communication protocols, media interactions, implementation of a plan, crisis preparedness and more. Learn more about the training we provide here.
- And of course, dial 9-1-1. In dangerous, life-threatening situations calling 911 is the best option to receive immediate attention. Designate one person in the business and/or group to be the spokesperson to tell the operator:
- The number of attackers involved
- Where the attackers are located
- A description of the attackers (gender, clothing, height, hair color, etc.)
- Weapons being used
- How many victims, if any
POST-INCIDENT COMMUNICATION | ACTIVE THREAT SOLUTIONS BY DEFENSE IN DEPTH
Our experts provide the best techniques and practices for your organization as it works through the incident and to recoup after it happens to begin to move forward.
For our post-incident communication course, you can expect to learn about the following:
- Next of kin set-up
- Media press releases
- Administrative law enforcement interaction
- What info is released to media
- When to release info to the press
- Clean-up of your business
- Timeframe for getting your business back up and running
Our team can help with the following, but is not limited to:
- What to expect following a severe incident
- How to establish remote operations for your business and media communication without slandering a criminal investigation
- How to communicate with law enforcement
- How to obtain the most suitable post-incident resources
Are you interested in more information? Contact our team at ATS to craft your post-incident communication skills and answer additional questions, comments, or concerns.