Disaster Strikes - How to Respond

This section is if you already have an allocated Emergency Response Team or a response policy. Find out how your company can immeditately respond.

If you do not have an allocated Emergency Response Team or a Response policy, you should go direct to STEP 1 of our section on 'Where to start - planning stages' and follow the step by step process outlined there.

The following content is usually only available to members of BITC, however following Typhoon Haiyan in central Philippines, being described as the world's strongest storm of this year, we have made this content available publicly.

STEP 1 - Get the Facts

You need to know as much as possible about the type of incident that has arisen. The following websites will provide you with this information.
www.alertnet.org
www.reliefweb.int

STEP 2 - Mobilise your emergency response team

Using your Emergency Response team, you must convene a meeting as quickly as possible to discuss and agree on your company’s response to the disaster. Your team should establish answers to the fundamental policy questions that need to be asked, and make sure that your decisions adhere to your emergency policy guidelines.

STEP 3 - Talk to your partner organisations

If you have set up relationships with agencies in advance, then it is important to find out if they are directly involved with the incident in question. They may already have useful information on their websites which will help you decide upon appropriate responses. As we have explained in the previous 'Where to start -  section, in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, cash contributions are most useful to humanitarian organisations.

STEP 4 - Execute your response

Taking into account the advice given to you in the previous 'Where to start - planning stages' Section surrounding Deciding What to Give, Maximising the Effectiveness of your Response, Involving your Employees, and Working with Customers and Suppliers, you can now begin to execute your response to the emergency, ensuring that you clearly communicate your activities to both your internal and external audiences throughout the process.

STEP 5 - Evaluation

Only once you have carried out a successful evaluation of your company’s response to an emergency can you hope to improve and develop it.
Ask questions about the timings of your response as it unfolded, for example:

  • Could your response have been quicker?

  • Did you have the appropriate amount of senior leadership to authorise decisions efficiently and effectively?

  • How much were you able to support already identified partner organisations?

  • Were employees satisfied with your response?

  • Can you use your company staff questionnaire - or a posting on the intranet - to garner staff reactions/suggestions?

These are just some of the questions to address. Make sure you ask these, and more, and use the answers to improve the future impact of your policy, response team, and overall company contribution to an affected area.