The Logistics of Running a Control Centre
The focus of the crisis control centre is the processing of information, the taking of decisions and the management of actions. However there are a number of highly important logistical tasks that need to be undertaken, particularly over a prolonged incident. 5 things to think about planning for are:
- Access Control: Everyone will want in but not everyone needs access, including senior staff. Make sure you include some form of access control. This needs to restrict access to those who are authorised to enter and record access of those present at any point in time.
- Minute Taking: The discussions and decisions within the control centre and by the teams being briefed by the control centre, such as the CMT, must have minutes taken. This requires trained staff as part of the control centre team.
- Shift Management: It will be impossible to remain as part of the control centre team indefinitely. People need to be afforded rest whilst on shift and the shifts need to be changed. The pace of replacement will be driven by the tempo of the incident. Shift changes need to be done in rotation, and not all at once, and require careful planning from the very start. People due to be on shift at a later point may need to be sent home first.
- Staff Welfare Support: Staff in the control centre will be under pressure, may be experiencing the results of traumatic events and will have their own worries. They may have dependency issues, medical concerns or know people that have been impacted. It will be important to provide access to welfare provisions for control centre staff, from rest and refreshments to counselling and support.
- Maintenance: Things break or get damaged so part of your control centre team structure needs to include technical and maintenance staff. They will be vital in helping to ensure the smooth running of the centre.
Top Tip: Often this will be too much for the same people who are managing the emergency or crisis to cover. Think about appointing a control centre manager whose job it is to cover these aspects.