17 March 2004

Scare Tactics

Scare Tactics - CSO Magazine - March 2004:

How will employees at your company react if a real crisis hits? Here's what to do to keep panic at bay.


IN THE PRESSURIZED cabin of a commercial jet, 30,000 feet in the air, 125 people are clamoring to get out.

Five minutes earlier, they looked just like any other group of passengers sitting back in their seats, some resting with eyes closed, others quietly reading, still others making small talk with the person next to them. The plane had a sudden drop in altitude during a turbulent ride, and panic ensued. That's all it took—one anxious passenger to stand up and announce he couldn't take it any more. He wants off the plane now. Before the crew can respond, everyone is out of their seats.

When rational thought is gone, all we have to fall back on is emotion. Whether it's on a flight to Chicago or in an elevator in your office building, emotion can be a dangerous thing in a high-stakes security emergency.

Panic. It's what causes us to run instead of evacuating in a calm, orderly manner. And you can't imagine the speed with which it spreads. You probably like to think that your employees would be calm during a crisis. But unless you've trained them to work through the stress of a security emergency, you might be surprised at that too.

You're not alone. Many security executives put extensive time and effort into developing contingency plans, but they fail to take the steps—training and practice—that enable employees to calmly follow those procedures during a crisis.
In fact, most CSOs are far less prepared to handle crises than they would like to think—or have led their bosses to believe.

You can be a proud CxO if you can confidently say that in the event of a "Crisis" your employees are trained and ready to handle it. As this article so clearly explains, you can never predict human behavior in the face of a sudden and shocking incident. If your company doesn't have "Corporate Emergency Response Teams" (CERT) exercising test scenarios monthly or quarterly, you face the consequences of poor operational risk management; losses that could have been prevented. We are amazed at how many Executive Rows we visit that still doesn’t have an AED within arms reach in the event of a heart attack. Protecting corporate assets first begins with common sense and then expands exponentially from there.

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