In a recent blog, we shared our crisis communications philosophy, our enthusiasm for crisis management and the importance of creating crisis plans. So, you have a crisis plan – now what? It’s time to think about a crisis drill.

A crisis plan is a game plan, but even the best game plans on paper often need to be tweaked. Before you’re ready for game day, it’s time to practice. The best practice comes by testing the plan through a crisis drill using realistic mock scenarios.

The process to develop appropriate crisis scenarios and prepare for the training is tedious, but worth it. A crisis drill works best when the participants of the drill don’t know the topic or the twists and turns the scenario may take. That’s where it helps to have a partner like Franco to help design and facilitate the drill. We can develop the scenarios in advance and roll out updates on how the mock scenario is unfolding and circumstances are changing to the crisis response team throughout the course of the crisis drill. It forces the crisis response team to think on their feet and play their roles to effectively handle the situation from all angles – from operations to communications with internal and external audiences and stakeholders.

During the crisis drill, decisions will be made – some good and maybe some not so good. That’s perfectly okay. The point is to have a safe space to practice and learn instead of making mistakes during the real deal. Following the drill, we’ll take time to work with you to reflect on what happened and identify gaps and areas to improve.

“That was stressful. I’m glad it’s over.” It’s a common response after conducting a crisis drill. Truth is, it’s not over. Now it’s time to update the plan to address gaps and schedule the next drill to keep improving the plan. Technology and communications strategies are evolving rapidly so after each drill scenario, you’ll probably find another gap to address. The process is just beginning. It’s an ongoing cycle of practicing, improving and repeating.

If one of your gaps is needing more arms and legs to fill roles, the good news is you’ll already have an agency partner in Franco that can jump in as an extension of your team. Interested in exploring crisis drill options to vet your crisis plan? Contact us today.

Joe Ferlito is an account manager at Franco. You can reach him at ferlito@franco.com.