Using Crisis Management Apps to Handle Workplace Emergencies
Disasters of all kinds can occur to any company at any given time – from environmental emergencies such as fires and floods to technical crises such as viruses and cyber-attacks, companies need to be prepared at all times for when disaster strikes.
Traditional crisis management systems have been based on sheets of paper that employees must carry around with a list of all relevant emergency contacts and their details. Incidents then have to be reported either by phone or text message.
Unsurprisingly, this is not foolproof. Carrying a sheet of paper, which can be easily lost or misplaced, is not at all efficient and it is virtually impossible to ensure that all employees are doing so at all times.
At the same time, emergency contact information must be regularly updated and can vary from day to day, so ensuring that employees are not only carrying their contact sheet around but that they are in fact carrying the correct one is an additional challenge.
Ultimately, this system is simply not practical.
Crisis management is an area where the use of mobile apps has great potential. Not only do they resolve the issue of relying on paper sheets as a source of information, but they can also help ensure that emergency contact information is always up to date.
At the same time, crisis management apps can allow users to report incidents directly via the app, eliminating the need to find other means of communication.
Overall a crisis management app can help a business not only deal with emergency situations but also maximise business continuity and minimise danger under such circumstances by ensuring all employees are safe.
Read on to find out the key features your crisis management app should include.
Features of crisis management apps
Emergency contacts directory
A directory with all relevant emergency contact information means that users will know exactly who they should get in touch with depending on the crisis or emergency situation.
This directory can be based on a central database containing the contact information of all relevant employees.
If the emergency contact varies between shifts or location, managers can easily select the appropriate contacts for each particular shift or location, so that only these will appear on the app.
The could also keep a separate database that contains the shift information so that the app is updated automatically.
This can make it a lot easier for users to find the relevant contacts as quickly as possible.
The app can also allow users to simply tap on the relevant contact to call them or message them saving time in a potential stressful or dangerous situation.
Emergency response plans
A crisis management app can also help users appropriately deal with the situation at hand, ensuring that they are responding according to regulations and emergency procedure guidelines.
The app can contain detailed emergency checklists according to incident, giving users the appropriate steps they need to follow in any given scenario. This could include maps of the office site with meeting locations clearly marked.
Another element that can be helpful is information on how to stay safe for training purposes.
For example, training materials such as first aid information, including clear instructions and videos, could prove essential if such situations ever arise.
Emergency situation management
Apps offer great opportunities to support managers in handling emergency situations, helping ensure everyone stays safe and that risk is minimised.
A useful feature that mobile provides is the ability to notify everyone in the company about emergencies via push notifications from the app. This ensures that everyone is aware of the emergency regardless of where they are located.
An internal communications channel within the app can also be used to share important information with employees and ensure everyone is kept informed or new developments and updates.
Managers can use the app to monitor team status; for instance by coordinating with team leaders to ensure that they have accounted for all staff.
Finally, an app can enable employees to access important documents and other files away from their desk in the event that they need to access them urgently.
Mobile apps can be great substitutes for traditional paper-based crisis management systems, which have proved to be quite unreliable and ineffective.
Not only can an app make it much easier for employees to contact the relevant people during emergencies, but it can also bring a wide range of additional benefits that make emergency situations much easier to manage and that minimise their impact.
Ultimately, apps are simply the most convenient ways to deal with emergency situations because they can be used anywhere via a mobile device, which can be crucial in cases when it is impossible to access a computer.
For this and other reasons, it is important to ensure that the app has offline availability, as many emergency situations are likely to make access to the internet impossible.
Another important consideration is for managers to ensure that they are keeping the emergency contact directory updated, whether it is manually at the beginning of each shift or in advance using an HR database sorted according to dates and shifts.
Do you use a crisis management app at your company? Can you think of any other useful features that we have forgotten to mention?