What is Critical Event Management?

Posted: 23 Jan, 2024.

Critical event management (CEM) refers to a comprehensive approach and set of strategies implemented by organisations to identify, assess, respond to, and mitigate the impact of critical events that could affect their organisation, its stakeholders or business operations.

Critical event management is a crucial part of emergency planning and is closely connected to how organisations already respond to different situations. The goal of CEM is to improve organisational resilience and minimise disruption to critical functions in an emergency.

In business operations, critical events like severe weather, technological failures or significant supply chain disruptions, are often unavoidable. The aftermath of these events can be daunting, with potential repercussions including lost productivity, damaged reputation, reduced revenue, and employee safety challenges.

However, the key to mitigating these impacts lies in preparation. Without suitable measures in place, the consequences of these events can drastically increase, the costs associated with resolving the damage can skyrocket, and recovery can be prolonged. But, by centralising data, automating workflows, and fostering real-time collaboration, businesses can enhance their resilience, ensure business continuity and navigate through critical events more efficiently.

How do You Execute Critical Event Management (CEM)?

No matter what it is, navigating critical events requires a proactive, coordinated approach. Failure to do so can cause serious risk to your operations, negatively impacting stakeholders and your reputation. These 6 key steps outline the essential components of critical event management:

  1. Risk Identification and Assessment: Proactively identifying potential critical events and assessing their potential impact on the organisation. By understanding your organisation’s risk profile you’ll be best able to develop tailored response plans.
  2. Preparedness and Planning: Developing plans, protocols, and procedures to ensure the organisation is well-prepared to respond effectively to critical events. This includes evacuation procedures, backup infrastructure and security measures for safeguarding assets.
  3. Communication Strategies: Getting the right information to the right people is critical during serious events. This involves establishing clear communication channels and protocols to disseminate timely and accurate information to stakeholders, both internal and external. This should involve alternative communication methods for if your usual systems (Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Skype) are experiencing downtime.
  4. Technological Integration: Leveraging advanced technologies, such as Peoplesafe Alert, to enhance situational awareness, facilitate communication, and coordinate response efforts.
  5. Response and Recovery: Implementing organised and coordinated responses to critical events, with an emphasis on minimising damage, ensuring the safety of personnel, and facilitating a swift recovery.
  6. Continuous Improvement: Conducting post-event evaluations to learn from experiences, identify areas for improvement, and refine strategies for future critical events.

What is Critical Event Management Software?

Critical event management software is a specialised technology designed to help organisations proactively identify, assess, and respond to critical events that could potentially impact their operations, assets, or personnel. The primary goal of critical event management software is to enhance an organisation’s ability to manage and mitigate the consequences of these events.

Who Should Use Critical Event Management Software?

Critical event management software isn’t just for large organisations or those operating in dangerous areas; every organisation can benefit from its structured approach to navigating disruptions. Whether facing natural disasters, IT outages, or even active threats, CEM software allows for speedy and effective communications, limiting disruptions. It’s an essential shield against the unpredictable, ensuring your organisation can handle emergencies and remain operational.

When is Critical Event Management Software Used?

Businesses can use critical event management software under various circumstances that could significantly impact their operations. Some common scenarios where CEM software proves valuable include:

  • Natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, floods)
  • Technological failures (e.g., service downtime, system outages)
  • Health and safety emergencies (e.g., pandemics, workplace accidents)
  • Security incidents (e.g., unauthorised access, criminal activities)
  • Supply chain disruptions (e.g., geopolitical events, transportation challenges)
  • Operational risks (e.g., regulatory changes, market shifts)
  • Critical infrastructure failures (e.g., power outages, facility incidents)
  • Social or political unrest affecting business operations
  • Cyber security incidents (e.g., cyber-attacks, data breaches)

Benefits of Critical Event Management

A critical event management platform utilises advanced technology to automate previously manual processes. This not only expedites response times but also ensures a more thorough and comprehensive understanding of the situation.

  • Automated Incident Response: Streamline and automate incident response activities, allowing for a reduced response time during critical events.
  • Operational Recovery: Speed up the recovery of operations, ensuring minimal downtime and disruption.
  • Proactive Crisis Prevention: Enhance risk profile assessment to shift from reactive crisis response to proactive crisis prevention.
  • Continuous Improvement: Enable continuous improvement through event monitoring, post-event analysis, and refined response strategies.
  • Strategic Decision-making: Facilitate better strategic, data-driven decisions to navigate critical events effectively.
  • Duty of Care: Fulfil your duty of care by keeping people safe and operations running efficiently.
  • Brand and Reputation: Bolster brand and reputation by demonstrating a proactive and efficient response to critical events, keeping stakeholders informed and safeguarding business operations.
  • Real-time Communication: Facilitate real-time communication and information sharing to keep stakeholders updated and enable prompt responses.
  • Data-driven Insights: Analyse historical event data to identify trends and patterns, enhancing risk assessment and refining response strategies.

How Mass Notification Supports Critical Event Management

In emergencies, time is of the essence and it’s vital to get the right information to key stakeholders as quickly as possible. Mass notification tools, such as Peoplesafe Alert, have the ability to send up to 2,000 messages per second, allowing information to be delivered to entire workforces in mere moments. This ensures that stakeholders stay safe, up-to-date and informed.

Peoplesafe Alert has the ability to override a device’s silent or do not disturb settings, guaranteeing that users receive critical messages 24/7. Additionally, if needed, messages can be sent with repeat reminders until the recipient has acknowledged that they have read it or completed the required response, allowing employers to ensure that essential notifications have been read. Additionally, all messages – opens and responses – are fully auditable, both in real-time and through historical data reports; a vital step in emergency recovery planning.

Peoplesafe Alert also allows for message templates to be predefined, prior to incidents occurring.  This means that organisations can create clear and concise messaging for potential incidents ahead of time, rather than having to create the messaging while under the stress of an ongoing incident. This helps to ensure that messages are effective and avoids the confusion of unclear communications.

These tools are fully compliant with ISO 22301, which guarantees that an organisation is meeting the HSE’s regulatory standards for business continuity and also aids compliance with the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) legislation.

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