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A Resource is NOT a Plan

What is your organization’s plan for responding to a medical emergency in a developing world country with a poor medical infrastructure?  If your answer is, “We have [insert name of reputable global medical assistance provider],” you’re on the right track, but your answer is incomplete. To effectively manage emergencies, organizations need both a resource such as that medical assistance provider and a plan for how to respond.

Medical assistance firms, security evacuation companies, kidnap/ransom response specialists and other external providers are critical resources for organizations operating globally.  But as essential as these resources are, they’re only part of the equation.  Effective emergency response requires both a resource and a plan — a step by step procedure for managing an incident that includes accessing critical resources.  For medical emergencies, the plan might look something like this:

Simple and straightforward, these procedures provide clear guidance during what is often a chaotic time when confusion can cause unnecessary delays in response.  Ensure all members of the team know the plan and how to access critical resources such as local medical facilities and global medical assistance firms.

These essential resources provide more than reactive emergency response.  Whether it is help identifying local emergency medical facilities or assistance building a security evacuation plan, these specialist firms play a crucial role in pre-incident planning. Walking thru an incident step by step with these resources will help build plans, clarify roles and responsibilities and manage expectations.

Key steps to build an effective response:

  • Walk thru an incident step by step with essential resources — before you need them
  • Identify in advance key local resources such as emergency medical facilities that may be critical for response
  • Develop a plan and communicate it to all stakeholders in the field and at headquarters…and keep it updated

External resources are critical pieces to any plan, but having a medical assistance provider’s phone number isn’t enough.  Make sure to have both critical resources and a plan for how to respond to an emergency. Hopefully you’ll never need to use either, but as the saying goes: better to have a plan and not need it than need a plan and not have it.