What Will Your Next Facility Management Crisis Be?

Posted by Marcell Haywood on Oct 8, 2015 9:00:00 AM
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facility management crisis

We all dread them: crises. They pop up at the most inopportune moments, cause stress to your employees and impact your organization’s bottom line. 

Here are some unfortunate crises that have affected facilities recently as well as how you can prepare and protect your own facility.

Facility Management Crises

Here are a few unforseen circumstances that might negatively affect your facilities.


As we discussed in a previous post, pests can be a real problem for facilities. Recently, there was a lice scare that affected schools, hospitals, and airports alike.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a scabies outbreak at North County Middle School in St. Francois County outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Similarly, Thoreau Park Elementary School in Parma, Ohio was recently closed due to bedbugs.

Natural Disasters 

Natural disasters can also cause headaches for facility managers. Whether it be a major power outage due to a storm or structural damage due to an earthquake, your organization needs to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at it.

Not only do these situations cause the affected parties unnecessary stress, they affect productivity and can cost a pretty penny to address. So how do you prepare your facility so these situations can be better handled? 

Preparing Your Facility

The most important thing you can do to reduce the turmoil caused by crises is to have a crisis management plan in place. This seems pretty intuitive right? Well, you’d be surprised by how many organizations don’t have crisis plans. 

According to Barry Cross of the Ivey Business Journal, less than one-third of organizations have a crisis management plan in place. What’s more, team members aren’t formally trained nor do they rehearse what to do in different crisis situations.

In order to avoid becoming a part of this sad statistic, here’s how to get started with your crisis management plan:

1. Create and Write Down a Crisis Plan

Develop a plan by bringing your team in to discuss the best way to handle each different type of crisis situation. Refer to industry best practices as well as recommendations from local authorities, and come up with the best way to apply them to your organization. 

While developing your plan, create a list of all affected parties from employees and third-party vendors to local authorities. This will ensure you know who needs to be contacted immediately following a crisis.

Lastly, designate a “crisis team.” These will be your point-people when a crisis situation arises.

2. Set up a Command Center

Create a crisis-ready room or space in your facility where all necessities are housed. This can include phones, computers, a television, local maps, and water. Here, your crisis team can gather to stay informed, discuss developments, and formulate your organization’s response post-crisis.

3. Have a Mock Crisis

Now that you have a documented plan, it’s time to see how well people remember it and can follow it. Choose a crisis scenario and act it out, ensuring everyone is there and playing his or her part. This will ensure every team member knows his or her role should an actual crisis occur. These mock crisis drills will also allow you to acknowledge and remedy any kinks or missteps in your documented plan.

4. Create a Crisis Scorecard 

Develop a crisis scorecard to help you measure your effectiveness at handling crises. Crisis Communication’s Scorecard “offers a framework and tool for evaluating and improving emergency crisis communication, and assists administrators in communication planning.”

You can use this tool or develop your own to measure things like:

  • Information Collection: How well did your crisis team gather important facts? Did they miss anything that would have helped with the decision making process?
  • Composure: How calm and collected did your organization remain?
  • Reaction Time: What was your team’s reaction time? Can it be improved?
  • Decision Making: What decisions did you make? How effective were they?
  • Overall Success: How well did your crisis management plan work? What impact did it have on your public image? How did it impact employee morale?

This scorecard will help you evaluate your original plan and tweak it accordingly. 


In order to keep your team prepared and on their toes, make sure to conduct multiple crisis simulations throughout the year. This will reinforce the importance of preparation and solidify your employee’s individual roles in crisis situations.

Remember, crises aren’t predictable; events will occur that are outside of your normal operating scope. You can’t try to manage for all eventualities, so focus on those with the greatest likelihood and trust that your training and preparation will empower your team to handle whatever happens. 

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Topics: Facility Management

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