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DBA Curriculum Insight: How to Establish an Emergency Management Planning Team

Involving key stakeholders is the first step to building a comprehensive plan.

When there’s the threat of a cyberattack, or a hurricane approaches, savvy business leaders are ready with emergency preparedness plans.

These leaders know that being prepared to weather storms of all kinds can mean continuity, recovery, and ongoing success. Without a plan, their businesses may become part of the 25% that never reopen after a disaster.1

DBA Curriculum Insight: How to Establish an Emergency Management Planning Team

Convening an emergency management team is a first step toward building a plan that can see your organization through trying times. And earning a doctorate in business can help prepare you to do just that. In Walden University’s online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program, doctoral candidates study business continuity management. This is the umbrella under which multiple supporting functions—including crisis management and business continuity—operate and integrate.

In the Walden course Impact of Homeland Security Policies on Business Continuity, the emphasis is on issues affecting business continuity management policy, oversight, and intelligence support to homeland defense/security and global business decision-making. DBA degree candidates gain valuable insights on managing emergencies through the required reading assignment, Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry.

Produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the guide offers a step-by-step approach to emergency planning, response, and recovery for companies—and emergencies—of all types and sizes. Read along with students in Walden’s online DBA degree program to learn more about emergency preparedness:2

Every year emergencies take their toll on business and industry—in lives and dollars. But something can be done. Businesses can limit injuries and damages and return more quickly to normal operations if they plan ahead.

The first step in the planning process is to establish a planning team. There must be an individual or group in charge of developing the emergency management plan. The following is guidance for making the appointment.

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries to employees, customers, or the public; or that can shut down your business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the facility’s financial standing or public image. Obviously, numerous events can be emergencies, including:

  • Fire
  • Hazardous materials incident
  • Flood or flash flood
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Winter storm
  • Earthquake
  • Communications failure
  • Radiological accident
  • Civil disturbance
  • Loss of key supplier or customer
  • Explosion

What Is Emergency Management?

Emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from an emergency. Emergency management is a dynamic process. Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing equipment, and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions.

Making the Case for Emergency Management

To be successful, emergency management requires upper management support. The chief executive sets the tone by authorizing planning to take place and directing senior management to get involved.

When presenting the case for emergency management, avoid dwelling on the negative effects of an emergency (e.g., deaths, fines, criminal prosecution) and emphasize the positive aspects of preparedness. For example:

  • It helps companies fulfill their moral responsibility to protect employees, the community and the environment.
  • It facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements of federal, state, and local agencies.
  • It enhances a company’s ability to recover from financial losses, regulatory fines, loss of market share, damages to equipment or products, or business interruption.

Form the Team

The size of the emergency planning team will depend on the facility’s operations, requirements, and resources. Usually involving a group of people is best because:

  • It encourages participation and gets more people invested in the process.
  • It increases the amount of time and energy participants can give.
  • It enhances the visibility and stature of the planning process.
  • It provides a broad perspective on the issues.

Determine who can be an active member and who can serve in an advisory capacity. In most cases, one or two people will be doing the bulk of the work. At the very least, you should obtain input from all functional areas. Remember:

  • Upper management
  • Line management
  • Labor
  • Human resources
  • Engineering and maintenance
  • Safety, health, and environmental affairs
  • Public information officer
  • Security
  • Community relations
  • Sales and marketing
  • Legal
  • Finance and purchasing

Have participants appointed in writing by upper management. Their job descriptions could also reflect this assignment.

Establish Authority

Demonstrate management’s commitment and promote an atmosphere of cooperation by authorizing the planning group to take the steps necessary to develop a plan. The chief executive or plant manager should lead the group.

Establish a clear line of authority between group members and the group leader, though not so rigid as to prevent the free flow of ideas.

Issue a Mission Statement

Have the chief executive or plant manager issue a mission statement to demonstrate the company’s commitment to emergency management. The statement should:

  • Define the purpose of the plan and indicate that it will involve the entire organization.
  • Define the authority and structure of the planning group.

Establish a Schedule and Budget

Establish a work schedule and planning deadlines. Timelines can be modified as priorities become more clearly defined. Develop an initial budget for such things as research, printing, seminars, consulting services, and other expenses that may be necessary during the development process.

Next Steps

The FEMA guide provides online DBA candidates with detailed information on the three remaining steps. They are:

  • Step 2: Analyze capabilities and hazards. In this phase, you’ll learn how to assess internal and external resources and conduct a vulnerability analysis.
  • Step 3: Develop the plan. Plan components will include an executive summary, emergency management elements, emergency response procedures, and support documents.
  • Step 4: Implement the plan. Here, you’ll learn about integrating the plan into company operations.

Make Your Career Plan With a Doctorate in Business

In choosing an online DBA program, look for an accredited university that offers choice, quality, and support. Walden’s top DBA program offers 16 specializations—including a self-designed option—that lets you match your degree to your career goals.

Choose from specializations that include Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Management, Homeland Security, Human Resource Management, Information Systems Management, International Business, Leadership, Project Management, Social Impact Management, or Technology Entrepreneurship.

Walden’s Doctor of Business Administration program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This is your assurance that Walden’s program aligns with the standards of quality that business, government, and other organizations endorse.

And when it comes to student support, Walden is top in its class. Your support team, focused on your success, will include doctoral coaches, industry-connected faculty, student advocates, and peer mentors.

Be prepared for all that business may bring with an online DBA program that offers the challenges and rewards you seek.

Walden University offers a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program online with your choice of 16 specializations. Expand your career options and earn your doctoral degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden’s BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The MS in Accounting and BS in Accounting programs are also accredited by the ACBSP and have earned the organization’s Specialized Accounting Accreditation.