Casualties and Next of Kin in CIM
In most businesses, when an incident occurs one of the main priorities is to establish who might be affected by the issue- it is also common that organisations owe a duty of care to employees, customers and other stakeholders.
The speed at which information travels in the modern world means that it is often difficult to account for people, whilst dredging through information coming from the press, social media and those who have ‘boots on the ground’.
The early phases of a crisis can be chaotic however with careful planning and the right tools in place, organisations can be confident that they are doing all they can to meet their obligations towards staff and the public.
What does it take to be prepared?
Crises often generate unexpected outcomes, so it’s very difficult to be prepared for every eventuality. Industries such as aviation and offshore energy operate in highly regulated environments involving substantial human risk, therefore investment and management buy-in are key to ensure that when something goes wrong, the priority is people first.
Here are some of the key considerations for crisis management professionals relating casualties and next of kin:
- How do you work out who might have been affected by the incident? Can you quickly access staff lists/passenger manifests/booking systems once an event has taken place?
- Do you have a method of recording details of those affected/unaffected? Are you able to use technology to perform a mass welfare check?
- Have you established reception centre(s) for people affected or concerned friends and relatives? These facilities may need to be reserved on a retainer basis.
- Have you established a phone line for concerned friends and relatives to call? Does this need to be capable of handling enquiries in multiple languages?
- How are these enquiries being recorded, handled and triaged?
- Police and local government must be integrated into your plans. Some countries require the police to inform next of kin about fatalities.
The points above provide food for thought for those dealing in emergency management, but the list is far from exhaustive. Dark sites detailing the emergency phone number and reception centre details should be available to spin up at a moment’s notice, providing vital information to concerned friends and relatives.
Build Your Team
Manning the emergency phone line or reception centre is a task for which team members must be fully trained. Casualties and friends/relatives alike may be traumatised, panicked and to an extent difficult to communicate with. There are companies who provide this support as an outsourced service, however if this is done in-house, your team must know the plan, tools and expected behaviours like the back of their hand. People will look to the organisation for guidance, answers and support, therefore you must be prepared to provide it.
Have Safeguards In Place
How would you know whether someone calling the emergency phone line claiming to be a family member was actually telling the truth? It is an unfortunate part of the modern world that the media or sometimes nuisance callers will attempt to gain access to information at all costs, therefore it is important to consider whether you have safeguards in place to ensure that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands. Alongside thorough training, some organisations might ask for dates of birth, national insurance numbers or other personal information about the affected person before releasing sensitive details over the phone.
Having The Right Tools
As with other aspects of crisis management, there are ways that technology can help organisations looking to improve the way in which they manage casualty and next of kin information during a response.
CIM’s Personnel on Location (POL) module provides our customers with the tool required to rapidly create an overview of who might have been affected by an incident, through import of data from a variety of external systems.
The POL module can be configured to take automatic or manual feeds from a variety of sources, including HR databases, passenger manifests, booking systems and POB tools. As a customer, you can choose the fields that are important to you, allowing your staff to focus on only the most valuable information. It follows that the POL module can be fully integrated with the Next of Kin (NOK) module to create an all-encompassing personnel management system.
The Next of Kin (NOK) module provides a set of tools for managing the information relating to those affected by an incident and those calling the organisation to enquire about colleagues, friends and relatives. The module is made up of four key components:
- Callers- those who are calling either to enquire about a person of concern, or those who are calling to let the organisation know that they are ok
- Affected personnel
- Next of kin reply
- Call monitoring
These modules work together to form a complete solution for managing incoming and outgoing communication relating to persons affected by the incident.