Inside Crisis

Flames engulf a CSX train that derailed in Painesville, OH Oct. 10As I watched two local disasters — a CSX train derailmentin my hometown of Painesville, OH and a school shooting at SuccessTech Academy
in Cleveland — break news Wed. Oct. 10, I thought about how organizations
and cities prepare for and react to crises.  There are procedures being followed amidst the chaos, but we don’t always get to see those internal chains of events that occur prior to, during and after an incident.

Emergency preparedness has become protocol in post-9/11 and -Katrina U.S.  Organizations and city administrations have diligently planned emergency exit strategies and methods of communication.

For example, in response to the 30 blazing freight cars in Painesville, all residents within a half -mile radius were evacuated from their homes to ensure their safety in the event that the ethanol-filled tanks would explode.

My town has never experienced a train derailment in the last 15 years that I’ve lived there.  Despite that fact, protocol was on the books and immediate action was taken by local authorities and CSX.  Had no one anticipated such an event, the city and the freight company would have been in a world of trouble if an explosion had occurred.

Cleveland - Police arrived at scene of shooting within 3 minutes of callCommunication technologies must be in place too, if procedures are to be carried out efficiently and effectively.  Without dispatch radios and GPS, police could not have arrived at SuccessTech just three minutes after they were called.  Students and faculty may have had no idea that shots had been fired in the building with out the PA system. 

My point is, an organization’s, city’s or school’s response to, and the technologies used in, an urgent situation don’t occur and exist by chance.  It’s all been strategized, documented and rehearsed by people behind the scenes long before the procedures have to be implemented.  Sometimes they don’t pan out the way they are meant to and an organization has to take a step back to determine what can be improved.  Unfortunately, Cleveland city and school officials had to analyze their emergency and safety strategies post-tragedy Friday.

However, it’s occurrences like these that remind other organizations to update their emergency response strategies, tighten security efforts, run drills and test alarms and sirens to ensure their effectiveness under chaotic circumstance.


6 Responses

  1. I have always believed that it is good to go over what could happen, rather than be unprepared. Just like you may go over an escape plan for a fire in your house. The same should go for work, or school. I know this is a very tragic discussion, my prayers go to all the families that were involved in either of these situations that took place on October 10th 2007.

  2. […] would think that the agency would be prepared to respond to all aspects of an emergency in the appropriate manner, especially public communications.  […]

  3. […] Inside Crisis […]

  4. Crisis Management has become a big deal post 9/11 and continues to be relevant in the world today because of tragic events that follow. As a common viewer of the news, one questions how people of organizations and leaders can prepare for these situations. It is so important to have strategies and methods for when actions need to be taken fast as possible. We must always prepare for the worst. Sometimes we can forget if nothing is compelling us to keep improving and strengthening the methods to reduce risk. However, we need to continue to reinforce correctly what is to be done for the safety of the people and for the preservation of the community and how it is viewed.

  5. why does my comment say i left it at 9:18 p.m.

  6. Hi Jamie,

    The site is on Central Time. Don’t worry. If you have a deadline, I’ll be sure that Michele is aware of the time difference.

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