Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What is critical incident management?

What is critical incident management?

Critical incident management is a crucial part of any organization's business continuity and emergency operations plan. Today having a communication tool that allows you to contact all the members of your organization, as well as monitor the on-going situation or incident, is critical to being able to deal with unforeseen circumstances such as a natural disaster or any other emergency.

When a sudden event occurs, you need to be able to deal with it and respond to it without delay - whether the organization is a university, multinational corporation, small business, or government agency. What matter the most are the members of your organization. With effective incident management tools, you can rest assured that if an unexpected catastrophe occurs, you will have the tools to handle it swiftly and professionally.

Key Aspects of Critical Incident Management

The key to critical incident management is being able to communicate effectively with the important decision-makers and responders during a crisis, as well as the general population in your organization. A software-based critical incident management system can allow you to do just that.

A leader needs to be able to:

1. Alert all members, including managers as well as the general population, that an incident has occurred or is taking place.

2. Communicate to these individuals what they should do, how they should react, where they should go, etc.

3. Get word back from individuals so as to ensure their safety and see if they are OK or if they need some type of assistance. They can also add valuable clarity to the situation if they can provide new details from their location.

4. Provide follow-up instructions as the incident continues to play out, such as updating them of the situation status or pointing them to an additional source, such as a website, that has more information, pictures, maps, or detailed contact information for those who need assistance.

5. Inform individuals of the resolution of the event, and what to do. If a building is secured and back to normal, people can be informed that they can report to work or school as usual the following day.
Successful critical incident management also depends on being able to get in touch with people no matter where they are located.

 That means that the incident management system cannot rely only on one communication modality, such as email. When a crisis happens, there is no way to know whether a person will be sitting in front of their computer. Critical incident management depends upon sending out messages across multiple modalities-i.e. email, as well as voice and text messages to cell phones, home phone, work phone, pager, text message, instant message, BlackBerry PIN message-so that they can receive information about an event no matter where they are at the time. Emergency notification is essential to critical incident management.

Another important factor in critical incident management is the ability for the message sender (a manager or president, for example) to get word back from their members after sending out their first message. In an emergency, an administrator needs to be able to send a communication saying, "There is a power outage on the 12th floor. Please respond to this message by pressing 1 if you are OK, by pressing 2 if you need assistance, and by pressing 3 if you are OK but you are with someone else who needs assistance." That way, you guarantee your capability to have an exact head count right away after a sudden event, and you are capable of responding to people who need help.

The ability to have a central dashboard where multiple administrators or incident responders can chat, post files such as pictures, send out messages and create tasks for one another is another very crucial to responding to a crisis in an organized manner. Incident management tools must allow administrators to respond quickly and efficiently to any event that may arise.

Author: Michael Smithsonian
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  1. Hi,
    I want to know the difference between major incident and critical incident. Are both the same? can you mail me at

    1. They are both pretty much the same. The way you report the incident will not change.