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Manage return to “normal”.

Based on direct experience, analyse, enhance and solidify resilient behaviour.

Parent functions

Associated cards

3.1. Enhancing the capacity to adapt to both expected and unexpected events

Emergency situations occur suddenly and without warning. Therefore, organizations must be prepared and adapt their functions to respond to emergency events as quickly as possible. Among those situations, some of the events are expected while others, could be unexpected with different nature. Roles, training, strategies, and procedures must be in place to provide such capacity, using an all-hazards approach which considers the common denominator of emergency situations in different areas, building a generic response plans that can be adapted to a specific event.

Response plans should be based on everyday operations, and designed in line with the all-hazard approach, distinguishing between core components of response plans and specific elements of each scenario. In addition, it is important to appoint of a person in charge of the emergency field and, together with managers, of the definition of roles and responsibilities of involved actors, as well as the coordination with relevant partners.

Endorse familiarity of actors and personnel with response plans, together with conducting drills and exercise routinely, advance flexibility in building and applying plans; enhanced capability to interpret the real situation, to work out interventions accordingly, and enhanced capacity to adjust procedures in progress.

Organizations that build their response plans based on both everyday activities as well as the all-hazard approach, may increase their adaptive capacity to handle emergency situations by:

  • Enhancing the ability of organizations to build response plans for a wide range of emergency scenarios in a comprehensive way;
  • Increasing familiarity of actors with actions that should be conducted during emergency;
  • Simplifying the understanding of actors with rational of response plans;
  • Managing the emergency situation comprehensively, identifying the changing characteristics of the event;
  • Facilitating ways to deal with more complex incidents and emergencies potentially involving more than one type of hazard.

The implementation of response plans during an emergency situation is a key factor in handling unexpected situation. Therefore, organizations are expected to build response plans in a comprehensive way, paying attention to a wide range of emergency scenarios. In addition, familiarity of personnel with plans and their rational may increase implementation during emergencies.


4.1. Assessing community resilience to understand and develop its capacity to manage crises

The assessment and monitoring of community resilience prior to, during and after the occurrence of crises allows policy makers to establish interventions and plans in collaboration with community leaders and members, in order to ensure communities will be better able to manage and recover from future events.


  • Initial resilience assessment to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the communities under their responsibility and implementation of subsequent intervention plans, followed by new assessments in order to identify the impact of the intervention plans on the community
  • Monitoring an assessments to understand the impact of the emergency situation on the community members
  • Measuring community resilience after the emergency situation to understand the long term impact of the emergency, as well as the recovery process


  • Measuring CR during routine time in the pre-emergency period enables to create a “baseline score” which is presumed to be useful as a reference point for comparison during a crisis period
  • Monitoring readiness and measuring the resilience prior to, during and after the emergency situation, reflects the internal resources of the community.


  • Better understanding of the community’s capacity to adapt to crisis events.
  • Enabling maximisation of the community's ability to cope better with extreme situations and reduction of the impact of crises and disasters.
  • Strengthening of the community as a functioning system active in crisis management.

Decision makers have to integrate community resilience assessment in working programs and budget allocation during routine periods.


4.2. Identifying sources of resilience: learning from what goes well

One of the aims of Resilience Engineering is to learn from the everyday performance and from successful operations, rather than by only through lessons learned after failures. In line with this, identifying Sources of Resilience means investigating the mechanisms by which organizations successfully handle expected and unexpected conditions. Such mechanisms (e.g., strategies, processes, tools) allow the organization to adapt, perform and deliver required services in spite of the variability and complexity they experience in their operations. This adaptive capacity can be recognized by looking at the work-as-done, both in daily operations and unusual or exceptional scenarios, in order to identify sources of resilience and to learn from what goes well.

Identifying successful resilience includes answering a number of triggering questions in relation to different aspects of crisis management: work-as-done/daily operations, goal trade-offs, adaptive capacity, coupling and interactions.


  • Providing a deepened understanding of everyday performance, in order to learn from not only failures but also from successful operations.
  • Learning from what goes well during normal operations in safety critical work as well as incidents and crises can lead to better preparedness and learning and thus increased resilience.


  • Build knowledge of crisis situations as well as of everyday operations.
  • Enhanced resilience based on amplified sources of resilience.


  • Organizations need to have an open view on flexibility and adaptation related to use of procedures focusing on understanding challenges and strategies.
  • Organizations need to invest in the understanding of everyday operations in order to be better prepared for crisis situations. Resources for building up and maintaining this understanding need to be allocated, an investment with the purpose of retaining, enhancing or amplifying the organization's (or, organizations') resilient capabilities. This means among other resources that time needs to be available from experts to share their views on the functioning of the system, as well as facilitators or analysts (possibly experts on resilience management) that are able to analyse and compile this knowledge so that the organization may learn from it in a methodological manner.
  • It may generally be easier to analyse and understand the properties that make systems resilient of more tractable systems, meaning systems (organizations, networks, domains, etc.) with known functioning that do not change faster than it takes to describe them. More persistent organizations such as in Air Traffic Management and Health Care are complex and dynamic, and therefore never fully tractable, but these may be easier to analyse than for example ad hoc on-site disaster relief organizations on the disaster site, which may both be created and changed very quickly.


7.1. Communication strategies for interacting with the public

The response of the general public that is potentially affected by a crisis, or could be helpful in resolving a crisis, has an impact on the outcome of the crisis response work. Therefore, organizations need to develop and implement communication strategies for Interacting with the public that can help facilitate beneficial responses to crises and crisis response efforts. Communication and interaction with the public during a crisis will be facilitated if daily communication strategies and regular interaction with the public is already well established. The recommendations presented here are aimed at both public and private entities at all levels that are involved in crisis management, in particular crisis managers and roles within the organizations related to design, development and evaluation of communication plans and strategies. Even though not all personnel involved during a crisis or incident needs to communicate directly with the public, being aware of communication strategies aimed at the public and the need of communication competencies can be of use.

Establishment of a process to systematically (re-)design, review, validate, and update crisis communication strategies based on the state of the art in communication with the public and lessons identified.

Development of communication strategies, as well as training and use of these strategies by appropriate roles in the organization, taking into consideration the type of communication channels, collection, sharing and dissemination of information, trust, getting help from the general public, management of change, public preparation for crisis, avoiding misinformation, and learning lessons from communication during actual events.

Organizations (through the use of communication strategies) inform, guide, and interact with citizens that are potentially affected by the crisis or that could be helpful during the crisis, to:

  • Avoid being affected by the consequences of a crisis.
  • Avoid using resources more needed by others or otherwise interfere with the response.
  • Contribute resources/capabilities to the response effort.

Organizations need to see the potential contribution of the general public.

Further important enablers are:

  • Creating functioning networks of volunteers and leaders during non-crisis periods.
  • Developing two sided communication.
  • Taking into account the cultural characteristic of the public.


4.3. Noticing brittleness

The interventions proposed here aim to support organisations to identify sources of brittleness in order to invest in their correction.

Brittleness is experienced in situations of goal conflicts and trade-offs, or when there is a competition for resources and a need to establish priorities under time pressure. Other difficulties emerge when an organisation struggles to manage functional interdependencies between different parts of the same organisation, or when there is insufficient buffer capacity to provide additional resources. Noticing brittleness also means observing operational variability and comparing work-as-done with work-as-imagined, so to reveal how the system might be operating riskier than expected. In addition, brittleness manifests itself when the organisation is unable to learn from past events, such as near misses and accidents.


  • Development of actors’ resilience-related knowledge and skills to notice how brittleness occurs in certain conditions
  • Implementation and conduction of phase-specific activities within organisation to probe for and/or notice brittleness


  • Reading groups, workshops and similar activities help operators and managers develop the skills to notice and discuss brittleness.
  • Scenario-based, game-inspired methods allow for the gathering of various perspectives about brittleness and potential solutions.
  • Methods and tools to collect information during crises allow for their analysis after the fact.


  • Improved capability to identify and discuss factors that make the organisation brittle in certain conditions, for all phases of crisis management, based on input from actors at all levels.
  • Better identification of potential measures to reduce brittleness, thereby enhancing resilience.
  • Improved preparedness and prevention of crisis situations.


  • The organisation is willing to invest resources to understand and address pitfalls, even if they have not yet manifested in catastrophic outcomes.
  • Specific actors in the organisation serve as facilitators / champions in the process.
  • The organisation is developing a culture beyond traditional risk and safety management.


6.1. Systematic management of policies

Policies are a form of statements of intent and are often used to guide decision making throughout all levels of operation within in both public and private organizations. Policies are not static documents, but evolve with the organization and must thus be managed. The purpose of Systematic management of policies is to support structured development and management of policies for dealing with emergencies and disruptions characterized by occurrence of emerging risks and threats. The aim is to achieve adaptive and holistic policy management involving policy makers and operational personnel, both within public and private organizations. Note, that when this capability card is used by operational personnel, it rather refers to systematic management of plans, procedures or checklists.


  • Systematic coordination and dialogue between policy-makers (who design, review, validate and sign off regulations, procedures and policies), and operational personnel (who select, use, apply or follow regulations, procedures and policies), within and between different organizations on the use of policies.
  • Establish a process to (re-)design policies based on lessons identified.


  • Actual policy use and compensating strategies can be explored and understood by addressing these in thematic workshops or focus groups, observational studies, and evaluations of (simulated) events, before and after crises.
  • Problems that operational personnel have with policy use during a crisis may be resolved through the availability of policy makers/experts that can be contacted for clarification or policy conflict resolution.


  • Actual policy use and compensating strategies can be explored and understood by addressing these in thematic workshops or focus groups, observational studies, and evaluations of (simulated) events, before and after crises.
  • Problems that operational personnel have with policy use during a crisis may be resolved through the availability of policy makers/experts that can be contacted for clarification or policy conflict resolution.


  • Openness to have discussions across hierarchical levels, domains, organizations, or borders.
  • A legal framework allowing the development of joint policies.