What is the best response to a crisis? While you may require some time to understand what is going on you can immediately implement a strategic five step first response. This strategy is often referred to as The Golden Hour Strategy because the intention is to launch all five steps within the first 60-120 minutes of the crisis incident, whatever the crisis happens to be.
This is the strategy management needs to help all responders focus on what matters most and first. Far too many response plans have only legacy media public relations driven tactics. Crisis response is a management responsibility driven by a simple, sensible, constructive, positive, and clearly achievable strategy. The strategy needs to be productive, capable of being managed and led successfully by leaders and managers. .
The first hour or two of crisis situations are often referred to as the Golden Hour or hours. The phrase comes from military medicine at the close of World War II, and during the Korean conflict. Military medical studies indicated that the single most prevalent cause of death for wounded soldiers was blood loss, the failure to get these individuals into serious life-saving medical treatment quickly after being wounded. They were bleeding to death in the Jeeps driving them to the hospitals located in rear areas of the battlefield.
The helicopter, which was brought into ever wider military use following World War II, was the perfect vehicle to get wounded soldiers quickly off the battlefield. But one more critical component was needed. Surgical facilities had to be as close as possible to the battle lines to reduce even further the risks and damage associated with transporting the wounded to urgent care.
The U.S. Army came up with the mobile hospital concept, the “Mobile Army Surgical Hospital,” or MASH as they became widely known, just like the television show. These mobile facilities were located right on the battle line and moved with the progress of the battle.
Here’s the point, 96% of wounded soldiers who arrived alive at a MASH, regardless of the severity of their injuries, left the MASH alive.
To me, this is the perfect metaphor when combined with following the Grand Crisis Response Strategy to address what management has to be ready to accomplish in those first 60 to 120 dangerous, frightening and chaotic minutes of a crisis.
James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC; APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus
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