The American National Red Cross is humanitarian organization, a volunteer-led organization that offers emergency assistance, calamity relief and education in the United States. American Red Cross provides services in the following areas: community services that assist the needy; communications services and comfort to bereaved military families .They also offer training on preparedness, safety and international relief. It also deals with loading and discharging belongings of those being evacuated from dangerous zones. The organization has modern equipments to deal with emergencies. They have vehicles which help in responding to emergencies. The organization also plans to invest enormous amounts of capital on transport by acquiring 3 more choppers to aid in the humanitarian course. American Red Cross faces a lot of dangers since it moves its rescue missions mostly in danger zones. Such risks include attacks and hijacking as well as, the possibility of their rescue boats sinking or capsizing leading to losses. Many workers have had encounters with wild animals while others have been struck by lightning. Another key hazard is fire. Response plans to contingencies should be established to address the events that may follow, in case, of any eventuality. Therefore, American Red Cross will have to come up with a contingency response program for avoidance or prevention and mitigation of losses.
The company has four options on how to address risks. It can ignore, transfer, mitigate or accept the risks. Accepting involves appreciating the potential loss and continuing to operate. The organization may take some action to lower the risk to an acceptable level. Avoidance requires the organization to stop operations when it suspects risks. This is not prudent because the organization needs to be in operation though the business is risky. Mitigation is the reduction of the likelihood of occurrence of the loss, as well as, its consequences. Transferring the risk involves the shifting of responsibilities or burden of loss to another party through contracting, holding harmless agreements and insurance. Mitigation and transfer are the best approaches to risk management. Therefore, the contingency response plan for American National Red Cross should seek to transfer or mitigate risk. Risk mitigation is the prevention of terrible things from happening. The cost of mitigation is trivial or nonexistence.
The contingency response plan will cover the southern a part of the United States. The areas in the southern region are Kansas, California and New Jersey From past information, management estimates that the American National Red Cross may have to expect losses at a high frequency. This is according to historical data available from other companies that have been in operation.
The main purpose of this strategic plan is to give guidelines for response to contingencies. This will be in relation to preparedness of activities for the next five years. The relevant department has to update the document after every two years so as to reflect the strategic direction of the plan for the American National Red Cross. Control planning is an excellent way of organizing personnel and contractors in the event of a difficult control problem. It informs the key personnel of the material and equipment requirements that the response team needs during periods of emergency. This program details the rescue equipment that the response team requires.
The program explains the implementation procedure of actions at the emergency sites that will enhance personnel safety. The program also seeks to design notification protocols and methods. This program will define the critical information for the determination appropriate response levels and strategies for rescue and mitigation. The contingency response plan will also ensure consistent documentation and distribution of critical information across American National Red Cross staff and response personnel. This information will also have to reach other parties such as the government and back up organizations. The response plan will organize personnel and provide guidelines for their role in emergency response and subsequent management. The plan will preselect sources and develop mobilization plans for equipment, personnel, material and typical services for the implementation of procedures. Emergency procedures should specify how the facility will respond to emergencies (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 2003).
The American Red Cross seeks to avert and ease human suffering in the face of tragedies by drumming up the power of volunteers and the kindness of donors. The American Red Cross that is professional, proficient and stress free, serves the most desirable purpose within the United States. The organization aims at serving the clients to ensure confidence with confidence, a service that they can recommend to others, and will continue to choose, following their first American Red Cross Limited experience.
Key success factors
The American Red Cross comprise of a group of community-based chapters and biomedical facilities in the United States. Until recently, American Red Cross staff used a range of email systems, which affected in-house communications to an extent, the chief executive officer could not reach all employees with a single message intended for all staff. After its subscription to Microsoft Office 365, The Red Cross standardized its operations by coming up with a single email solution which offered Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. Employees and volunteers could share the same email domain and access each other’s calendars from mobile devices, laptop, or pc for the first time in the history of the organization. The organization could now reach their colleagues and work together more efficiently to help out in times of need.
5 years ago the Red Cross was operating with deficit of $209 million. Two years later the organization set a goal to be financially stable during periods when there were no major disasters. The American Red Cross income of operation emanate from three main sources: contributions which amount to $ 914 million which is 26% of the total revenue in the year 2011. Revenue collected from products and services amounted to $2,328 million which is 67% of the total revenue. Income from investments and other sources mounted to $228 million.
The response plan seeks to establish policies and procedures that will ensure efficient and effective, preparedness and response operations, in case, of emergencies. This will ensure that eventualities do not get American Red Cross off guard when they occur to ensure continuity of the business. The contingency response plan for American Red Cross will ensure that the organization provides key support during responses. It will also ensure that the resources can serve the requirements of the worst case response, should it occur.
This response plan will ensure the provision of sufficient information and counter measures to relevant personnel to maximize protection of the American Red Cross staff and those affected while they are in transit. It is the program’s objective to ensure that the response programs reflect the needs of member agencies and stakeholders. The program will achieve this by engaging the relevant groups actively towards establishing positive working relationships and partnerships. The organization will have to provide relevant information and perform its part of the contract to achieve this.
Finally, the contingency response plan will ensure that the organization and the response community are ready to respond effectively and safely to the current response program. The response plan ensures that it accomplishes the program through coordinated training, exercises and implementation of lessons learned. It is the responsibility of the response program to document the observations from exercises and the lessons learnt.
The contingency response plan proposes the location of response equipment in critical areas. These are the areas of risky nature. Spots with frequent emergency cases are of critical consideration for this plan. The contingent response plan has three departments and external organizations such as insurance companies and logistic support companies. The key departments include the rescue crew. There is also the technical team and communications and control department. The technical team carries out surveillance and monitoring. It informs the rescue team of any emergency so that rescues operations begin immediately. It also informs the communications and control team about the situation. The communications and control department passes relevant information to the relevant parties at the right time. Management of the organization provides the finances required for such operations.
In case of a fire outbreak, the organization’s internal fire department should be the first one to get the information. The teams responsible for this emergency are the rescue crew, technical support and communications and control department. The communications manager makes the decision whether the situation requires the involvement of external organizations such as the fire brigade. The situation becomes an emergency when the internal fire department fails to curb the fire. The rescue crew and the communications manager should call for external support. This should be as soon as they know that the situation is impracticable for the internal fire department to contain. At this point, the communications manager alerts the fire brigade department. This department will offer external fire extinguishing and rescue services. The command structure for emergencies begins with the communications manager. S/he instructs the head of the internal fire department to respond to the emergency. The head of the internal fire department delegates his crew to get on the ground and work. The communications manager also alerts the rescue crew and the technical support heads to salvage the situation. These heads of departments delegate responsibilities to the members to get down working in the rescue mission. The organization may have to contact external logistics organizations and other back up companies such as Seven Star Limited.
Communications and Control
The communications centre should have robust equipment. It should have its headquarters at the head office. Among the functions of communication centre, there should be the passage of the correct information to the correct people. This is the central channel for communication. The plan will have to supply charts, maps and reports. The company should locate portable communications centers close to the scenes of operations. It should involve internal team members, employees, customers and stakeholders, industry, and media and the public. The Communication centre is to be headed by a communications manager, assisted by five information dissemination coordinators.
The communication manager is responsible for overseeing that the right information passes across to the correct group at the right time. The information coordinator in charge of the internal team notifies the response team members and key personnel about the events. The employee information coordinator will notify other employees who are not part of the response team about the prevailing events. Customers need to get information from the customer and stakeholder information coordinator. S/he will give facts on the status of the emergency, the estimated impact and the basic steps that the response team takes. The industry information coordinator will share the details of the attack across the industry. The information coordinator in charge of the media and the public must be proactive as this responsibility calls for sharing of information with critical segments of the stakeholders. S/he should not over dramatize the impact of the eventuality. The following chart shows the structure of communication and control department.
The American Red Cross contingency response plan should have a programmed for personnel training. It should develop training at all levels for response personnel. The program should train the response personnel on how to deal with various emergency situations. Such situations include fires, storms, hurricane due to unfavorable weather conditions. There could be imminent loss or damage due extreme weather conditions. The response team should have rescue skills that they can apply in operation. The training team should impart knowledge on how to prioritize safety of the American Red Cross crew and ensure minimum loss.
Exercises and Updating Procedures
This contingency response program should be tested regularly. The response team must carry out regular, frequent exercises to ensure that the plan works out successfully and correctly. This will familiarize the participants with the plan’s contents. There should be deployment of relevant equipment to test the actual availability and functionality/performance of the plan. The response plan should be updated regularly to make relevant changes.
The operational plan will involve five steps. These steps are notification, evaluation, response, mitigation, communication and termination respectively.
The response team will provide information concerning the date, time, position, source, cause, amount and how the American Red Cross is involved through communication and control department. The department should also provide the procedure for evaluation of seriousness of the emergence/incident. There should be a program for alerting the response personnel and relevant authorities. The technical department should employ trajectory modeling methods, aerial and terrestrial surveillance procedures to monitor new developments in areas with frequent emergency operations. In case of any eventuality such as an accident, the team should surrender the details to the communication team after informing the rescue crew and ensuring that the crew is on the ground. The communication team will then carry out its responsibility by informing the relevant parties the right information at the right time. American Red Cross may require logistical support from other companies.
Evaluation allows for the consideration of different response options according to the situation. The contingency response team can place manpower and equipment on standby prior to mobilization. This step includes the deployment of equipment and manpower for the response centre for logistic support. It also creates room for the assessment of the magnitude of loss so as to decide whether it can be transferred or mitigated.
This step details the reaction procedures to the emergencies. The procedure for opening communication channels should be detailed. It involves the placement of the rescue team on the scene of occurrence of the emergency. It also involves communication to logistic support and back up organizations, as well as, the relevant authorities. The contingency response plan should priorities safety of the American Red Cross crew. Communication is made only after rescue and mitigation processes have begun. Stakeholders, the media and public, employees and other authorities should be supplied with information.
This step provides details of the procedures for the mitigation of situation. It also provides procedures for standing down equipment. Mitigation involves the reduction of the, magnitude of risk or loss to an acceptable level. Therefore, the response team should evaluate the least expensive method of reducing the loss, should it occur. The option available is outsourcing to an insurance company.
Communication involves having a directory for response personnel, third parties and relevant authorities. Information should pass across these components at the right time. Care should be taken when giving out information to the media and public.
Termination involves the withdrawal of rescue and mitigation operations so that the business can again start operating normally. This is the final step of the response team. The response team leaves the area of emergency after ensuring that it has performed all the relevant activities. Any environmental issues have to be dealt with before termination. The communication and control manager should compile a report detailing critical issues and areas that need improvement or rectification. This information can be used for updating the program frequently so that it can adapt to the changing business and operating environment.