In crisis situations, measurement can be difficult, especially considering variables in each scenario. However, certain methods of assessment must be developed to gauge and compare past, present, and future performance and effectiveness.
For Maple Leaf, one method of measurement might be data on outbreaks that trace back to contaminated products from their facilities. Fewer reports of illness and death would be a sign of improvement and exhibit the competence of government and corporate management and potency of new safety measures. They might also seek to improve crisis response time – which is an idea that was no doubt considered in developing the quarterly tracing exercises.
For the United States Government, it would be useful to compare loss and destruction due to natural disasters. An example of this would be data comparing the effects of hurricanes hitting the U.S. – and, in particular, the Gulf Coast region – during the 20th century to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. All stakeholders of U.S. Natural disasters would benefit from a quicker response, which can be measured by how quickly aid and resources are able to reach those in need. Perhaps one of the most crucial measurements would be figures of how many – what percentage of the total population – were left behind in evacuated areas, what percentage were able to evacuate safely, how soon the majority or all were evacuated (within how many days or how many days prior to landfall), and the best estimates for the overall mortality rate. All levels of governmental agencies should seek to decrease the percentage left behind as low as possible, increase the percentage able to evacuate, and develop a safer window of time for evacuation. And importantly, these organizations must seek to clarify communications to alleviate confusion, “blame games,” and a hamstrung response effort. They should seek to reorganize and streamline the chain of command and then increase the number of individuals who know who holds what authority in crisis situations.