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Crisis management plans are strategies created to protect a business from any type of unforeseen danger or problem. There are many different types of crisis management plans that cover every aspect of crisis readiness, from economic concerns like recalls and crashes to safety concerns such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Businesses use crisis management plans as a contingency to help continue operations and protect employees regardless of a serious problem. Some experts suggest that good crisis strategies may be the deciding factor in whether a business in sudden trouble sinks or swims.
Some crisis management plans are geared toward physical dangers to a workplace or factory. These include natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods. Disaster plans often train employees on safety protocol during a natural disaster and provide supplies for fighting or surviving a natural disaster, such as fire extinguishers, hurricane and tornado shelters, and survival gear.
Physical danger strategies can also refer to violent attacks, such as robberies, terrorist activity, or workplace violence. Training employees to react in a safe manner and follow a clear policy can not only save lives, but may also reflect well on a company's reputation. In the wake of terrorist attacks such as those on 11 September, 2001, where it became evident that some lives may have lost due to insufficient emergency planning among businesses within the World Trade Center, many companies have chosen to create comprehensive escape and safety plans that cover dozens of possible disasters.
Public relations crises occur when information is exposed that damages a company's reputation. These crises include product recalls, publication of safety violations, evidence of fraud or other illegal activity, or high-profile disasters such as an oil spill or a product-related death. Companies that do not have good crisis management plans for these situations may find themselves in serious risk of a reputation disaster.
Experts suggest that good crisis management plans may actually be able to positively affect a company's image. Taking charge of the situation, being honest with the public, and taking definitive action to solve the crisis are seen as three of the most important keys to good crisis management. Waiting too long before admitting responsibility or enacting contingency plans is often seen as lazy or irresponsible, while starting a misinformation campaign may appear to the public as disingenuous and shady. Being unable to solve the crisis in a timely manner can be a devastating failure, as the company will quickly appear incompetent and reckless if they are unable to clean up their own messes, however unexpected the crisis.
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