Skip to main content
Butter bar
Adapting to the storm: Perspectives on hurricane response from county, university, and military leaders

Crisis emergency vs. Routine emergency

In a recent white paper, “Leadership at Times of Crisis,” Regina Phelps, internationally recognized expert in the field of crisis management, discussed the key areas leaders need to address during a crisis. One factor is distinguishing between a crisis emergency and a routine emergency.  

What is a routine emergency?

Phelps makes it clear that “routine” does not mean easy. This type of incident can still be challenging, but is often predictable. A routine emergency is one that an organization is able to prepare for, and has likely trained around and exercised. Crisis communications, business continuity and disaster recovery plans are filled with strategies to manage routine emergencies, Phelps says.  

What is a crisis emergency?

According to Phelps, a crisis emergency “is a much different animal.” The novelty around these incidents makes them much more difficult to respond to and deal with. Generally, crisis emergencies have the following characteristics:

  • The threat has never been encountered before, so there are no plans in place to manage it.
  • It may be a familiar event, however, it is occurring at unprecedented speed, therefore developing an appropriate response is challenging.
  • There may be a confluence of forces, which, while not new individually, in combination pose unique challenges to the response.

In order to successfully respond to a crisis emergency, Phelps says companies must first identify the elements of the unique challenge, and alter response methods to be suitable to cope with the unanticipated aspects of the emergency. Lastly, it is critical that organizations are will and able to respond creatively, and are extremely adaptable because the impact could change on a whim. To learn more about how organizations can response to a crisis emergency, download the full white paper.

Request a Demo