Conducting a Post Crisis After Action Review
By: Tom Chatham
Many people prepare for emergencies and find their planning has some shortcomings after its all over and sometimes they are better prepared the next time, but how many times do people find themselves in a similar circumstance and realize after it happens that they forgot something. Many times its’ something they identified the last time but forgot to fix it or get one for the next time. It always happens and it does not have to. Many people tend to stop their plan when the emergency is over and go about their lives once again until the next time something happens. A good plan never has a stopping point but continues through all phases of daily life. Your plan should cover pre crisis, crisis and post crisis work. Your post crisis work will insure any deficiencies you noted will not be repeated the next time. This can help alleviate any mental anguish you may feel when an emergency happens. To do an after action review you need to ask yourself some basic questions that apply to your emergency planning. Having a list of questions and room beside each to answer them will help you organize your thoughts and planning. It is a way to track your progress over the course of time to insure you are making progress. Having it written down also helps you to remember things over a long period of time as well. Here are some questions you should keep in mind for emergencies. They are by no means the only questions you may want to answer but they offer you a good starting point if you do not already do this type of review.
Did I have sufficient shelter?
Did I have the proper clothing?
Did I have enough food for the crisis and was it the kind I needed?
Did I have enough water for the crisis?
Did I have the power systems I needed?
Did I have the communication and transportation systems I needed?
Did I have the heating and cooking systems I needed?
Did I have the lighting systems I needed?
Did I have the functioning sanitation systems I needed?
Did I have resources to mitigate or repair damage until the crisis was over?
Did I have the fuel sources I needed?
Did I have the means of self protection I needed?
Did I have the medical resources and medications I needed?
Did I have the refrigeration ability I needed?
Did I come through the crisis in a good physical and mental condition?
What would I have needed if the emergency had lasted much longer?
What planning worked the best during the crisis?
What planning worked the worst during the crisis?
What should I do different the next time?
You should write down the answers to these questions in a brief and usable format so that you can review them from time to time to improve your plan and to insure you fix any shortcomings. This will ensure you do not forget something you identified as a critical shortage for the next emergency. You may even want to write down any problems you discover as they appear so you do not forget them when the emergency is over. It could be something as simple as not having a long enough extension cord or running out of toilet paper. It may be something as critical as your generator stopping after only a few hours, because it was not serviced recently, due to a long duration of non use. In a longer emergency you may decide you need the materials to service your equipment before the crisis is over. Something as simple as leaving the new ethanol type gas in your equipment for a few months can be disastrous to your equipments operation. These are the lessons you need to learn to avoid serious consequences to your well being. You need to work out the problems during the small emergencies so you do not suffer during the long ones when it can be life threatening. Doing a written after action review after each emergency can help you avoid repeating the same mistakes and provide you with confidence when a big crisis unfolds suddenly with little warning.