In general, the crisis team should be developed when a crisis is anticipated. The earlier action can take place, the more likely it will be that warning signs of a potential disaster are recognized and corrective actions taken. Often these early signs occur before there is any risk to human life or property.
The development of a crisis intervention team requires that the organization have an internal mechanism for handling problems in which immediate action must be taken without consulting higher levels within the organization. This mechanism may include a hot line telephone number staffed by people who receive no training beyond what they need to know about how to deal with emergencies at this level; access through an intercom system so officers responding to emergency calls do not have their doors slammed in their faces; one-way mirrors installed on all elevators so employees calling for help can see what’s happening if firetrucks get stuck between floors; and specially trained individuals available 24 hours per day who will listen sympathetically but remain unemotional while providing safety instructions and information about resources outside the company (e.g., hospitals).
Who should staff your crisis support team? What type of skills does it require? How many persons should you develop into full-fledged members of your crisis response program? How much time should each person spend on duty during peak times such as weekends and holidayswhen crises happen most frequently? These questions cannot easily be answered because everyone has different requirements for staffing his or her own department. Some organizations employ only part-