Situational Awareness – Being Alert in Crisis
Situational Awareness – Being Alert in Crisis
Situational awareness is an essential skill that the employees of your organization need to develop to ensure the safety and well-being of your business, its’ employees and clients.
Situational awareness involves being alert to what is happening in the immediate vicinity and, through that awareness, understanding how information, events, and personal actions can directly affect his or her surroundings, both immediately and in the future. Having little or no situational awareness is often a primary factor in incidents attributed to human error.
Situational awareness is particularly important in businesses where: (a) the information flow is relatively high; and/or (b) poor decisions can lead to serious consequences – for example, when the person making the decision is functioning as a soldier, piloting an aircraft, or treating critically ill or injured patients. Developing and maintaining situational awareness also can be a critical and even life-saving skill – travelers within and between cities, workers in office buildings, and those choosing to remain inside their homes will need awareness of their own situation but also the surrounding area situation to ensure their personal safety.
Crisis Prevention & Restoration offers businesses and communities’ expertise to minimize disaster impact via emergency response planning.
Improving the overall situational awareness of small businesses, non-profit organizations, major corporations, and individual citizens requires, among other things an understanding of the four distinct phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Some of the basic process steps that need to be implemented for situational awareness are following:
• Being aware of the current situation and surroundings. Evaluate any difference that the surroundings may have as compared to routine days. The first step towards any intervention is to recognize the problem to be addressed. Similarly analyzing any unusual event in the situation is critical for taking actions to address the issue at hand.
• Creating a trusted communication plan that includes incoming information as well as an outgoing system of updates. Any misleading information regarding the emergency can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the decision being. It is important to monitor situational awareness via weather forecast and emergency response organizations; television news and radio channels are often reliable and are a good source of information regarding what is happening in the near surroundings.
• Devising a special awareness team that may range from 2 persons to a group of trained people would help ensure the capability of the organization in controlling worst consequences due to situational crisis. Such special awareness team however does not need to be contracted from outside, rather the employees currently working within your company can take the task with a little training.
• In case of community centers and homes, it is important that at least one member is up to date with the information about surroundings in order to take precautionary measures before hand.
• The quick decision making ability of the responsible person with in your company in case of an imposed unforeseen situations can make a difference. The decision made during such a time is of potential importance as it may have long term consequences. Making the right decision at the right time without any delay can control the hazardous consequences.
• It is of potential importance to have done a thorough assessment of the surroundings and balancing out the risks and benefits the organizations and other community centers that may affect them.
• The information should be passed along other members of the organizations as well in order to involve everyone in the response plan. In some situations where the crisis is exacerbated and evacuation may be the only possible strategy, it is important for the members to know what theses response and evacuation plans envisage in order acting upon them.
Crisis Prevention and Restoration for Business helps businesses devise such emergency response plans which can safeguard business’s interest.
However these steps are also very critical to be considered when planning training programs for situational awareness in order to foster a better understanding among individuals.
Clues towards situational awareness
Some of the crucial clues that can be deemed as causes of situational factors are often ignored in situational awareness assessments. For the awareness to be generalized in time of crisis, it is of critical importance to pay attention to all the factors in the surroundings of your company. Some of these clues include: confusions among people, failure to meet targets, use of inappropriate procedures, getting away from planned work, and lack of communication between employers and employees.
Some factors that reduce situational awareness and pose a threat within the community itself are:
• Inadequate communication between different members of the society
• Stress or anxiety among members that affect their work performance or role in the community.
• Group Mindsets also affects the community interests if they differ too much. A particular mind set among particular group of members can bring them up front with other members with different mindset; a general harmony between all the groups within a community not only reduces the chances of situational threats but also facilitates awareness among individuals about the surroundings.
• Corrupt or despoiled operating conditions affect both the individuals and the community. Either way, a community suffers if corruption or despoiled conditions are prevalent even when only in some levels but not in others. Concerning others would help in such situations where one knows what others are up to.
Critical decision-making based on situational awareness
In a community where threats from outside or from within the community are abundant, the most important of all the factors to account for crisis is decision-making at organizational level. For decision-making purposes, the managers and others associated in charge need to have situational awareness. Only because of situational awareness, those in charge of action can take decisions which are quick in nature and foster ways to deal with the crisis. Same goes with how to deal with such situational threats at general community level.
It is highly recommended by both OSHA and FEMA to conduct situational awareness training programs and exercises which can foster a better understanding of surroundings among the individuals. Such programs and exercises include training drills where the actual effectiveness of practical decision-making can be seen and also can be modified as well to better account for the issues at hand. These drills ensure that people have skills for self-preservation in a crisis.
Some steps that are part of such drills to impart self-Preservation skills in employees include:
• Be informed about the surroundings before the situation becomes unsafe. Staying up to date with what is going around in the surroundings is the first step that can be taken to avoid situational crisis.
• Observe clues in the surrounding that can help you foresee any event of potential threat. Such clues may involve weather change, excessive stress and anxiety among employees or anything aside from the usual practice.
• On noticing anything unusual, informing someone in charge is of utmost significance. Most of the time employees notice things but do not report. This can cause further exacerbation of the surroundings.
• If there is not enough time to balance out the risks and consequences it poses at the organization and community, pass the information gathered so far to as much individuals as possible. This will ensure that others know about the threat too and would be able to take necessary steps for preventing harm from being done.
• Gather as much individuals as possible and ask for feedback to facilitate quick decision-making
• The decision may even involve evacuations in order to safeguard as many people as possible or taking serious actions against someone for violating organization’s policies.
• Observe the situation to evaluate how severe it can get and when it may end posing a threat to the company.
• Stick to the decision made until the situation becomes favorable again.
Not only does decision making in a crisis affects the immediate situation, it also has long implications that shed consequences in future as well. For that purpose, decision needs to be highly precise and such decisions can only be made if the team has an understanding of the latest safety and disaster preparation trends.
In today’s world, it has become important for a community to be aware of what is going around both within and outside of the company. Only the awareness of surrounding makes sure that the community can eliminate danger of harm posed by such threats. In order to prevent your company from getting handicapped due to unpreparedness, Call Crisis Prevention and Restoration – services and expertise for devising response plans. For benefiting from our expertise, contact CPR4Biz: 415.891.9107 or emailing us at: CPR4BIZ@gmail.com
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