Companies, non-governmental organisations and individuals may be surprised to learn how quickly they can become caught up in a crisis caused by hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, volcanoes, hazardous material or nuclear accidents, terrorist activity, kidnappings, civil war, ethnic violence, political turmoil, coups d’état, or uprisings. The beginning of 2011 has seen popular protests and civil unrest spread through much of the Middle East and North Africa, with the toppling of regimes in both Egypt and Tunisia and western intervention in a major armed conflict in Libya. Public demonstrations have been witnessed in Morocco, Algeria, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria among others. And most recently an increase in violence between anti-government protesters and security forces has resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths in Yemen.
Evacuation is one of the protective actions companies can take when reacting to a crisis and falls under the concept of a generic or integrated emergency planning process. Evacuation of a group of people due to a threat of a deteriorating crisis is almost a daily occurrence somewhere around the world. It saves lives but at the same time can put extraordinary pressure on those involved in the evacuation and crisis management process. Crisis planning is aimed at making this type of extraordinary process smooth and efficient with as little disruption as possible.
Crisis planning and management is a task best shared by a crisis management team within the company. Managers who think they can run it alone may be in for a shock because of the stress and complexity involved in response. A crisis management consultancy can help companies formulate a crisis plan to cover all aspects of crisis management as well as providing a network of on-the-ground contacts to assist when they are needed most. The consultancy may incorporate pre-emptive contingency planning and reporting, international threat level monitoring and risk mitigation advice and management, as well as delivery of operational crisis response solutions, including the deployment of multi-skilled responders throughout the world in support of a requirement. Often only considered in the eleventh hour, crisis planning should make up part of every prudent company’s risk guidelines and should reach beyond emergency evacuation to a more comprehensive, preparatory approach.
Page Group has assisted companies in evacuations from Egypt and Libya, advised on Bahrain and provided security in those countries as well as Tunisia and Ivory Coast over the recent months and are now actively assisting in Yemen. For any questions, please contact a member of the Security Operations team in London on +44 (0)20 7930 9200.