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Workplace violence mitigated by emergency communications plan

With a well-organized, comprehensive emergency communications plan, mid-market companies can significantly reduce the risk of long-term physical, emotional and financial fallout resulting from a violent incident in the workplace, security and risk management experts say.

Conversely, failing to develop communication protocols can inflict additional damage on a company.

To bolster a company's emergency communications plan, experts recommend:

• Establishing an internal chain of command for crisis management directives and information, including designated group leaders for employees in segmented locations. Consider factors such as physical health and temperament when selecting emergency leaders.

• Appointing media and community relations specialists to field inquiries from local officials, community groups, news organizations and other civilians. Make certain the specialists are trained to handle interactions with live media and are given clear directives on appropriate messaging.

• Reaching out early with public communications that express concern for the victims of an incident, emphasize the company's cooperation with investigators and outline any internal measures being taken to prevent future incidents.

• Starting external communications with media and other stakeholders as soon as possible to head off misleading or incorrect information. Instruct employees to allow designated managers and representatives to handle such external communications.

• Providing emergency numbers for quick telephone contact with local officials, as well as ample details on emergency response planning, security programs, facility layouts and other relevant information.

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