Posted by: Sean Kerr | August 12, 2011

My Customer Had An Accident – Now What?

Consider this…you see an aircraft accident being reported on the television; further, you realize you have worked on that aircraft recently.  How would you “react”?  How would you handle this situation or possible situation?  What are the first 7 steps you would take?

By the way, the accident you see is an aircraft you know.  In fact, you saw the owner earlier today paying for the maintenance work your shop completed, and you saw him take-off.  As you listen to the report, you hear witnesses give their “eye witness” accounts.  Aparently, the engine quit and the aircraft crashed.

Are you calling your office?  Are you calling your insurance agent?  Do you grab your “Disaster Plan” binder?  Better yet…do you have such a binder?  If so, do you know where it is?  Yes, I am implying you contact your insurance people.  Why?…Wouldn’t you think it best to at least put the agent and underwriter on notice? 

As you speak with your agent, think outside the standard information to present.  What kind of relationship you have with that aircraft owner?  Long term, or recent?  What details can you provide about the maintenance performed?  How can you relate information about past maintenance work, the clients history with you, whether or not they got fuel, the weather, your conversations leading up to their departure, any updates on the FAA and NTSB, their medical condition; i.e. are they stable, etc.?

What about the phone call you get from the media, prior to contacting your agent?  How will you handle the questions being peppered at you?  Questions revolving around your personnel as well as your operations history.  Questions about your operations abilities to do this work as well as if your operation has done this work before or even done this work on this specific aircraft before, etc.  Do you throw out a simple “No Comment!” Or, does that make you look like you have something to hide?  Might answering the media’s questions hurt you? 

We are all  risk managers; so let’s narrow this down to one segment of this potential “runaway train”.  Remember the “Disaster Plan” binder I mentioned above?  Does your binder contain guides for “Initial News Release”?  What about a sample “Media Advisory” form or a sample “Briefing” or a “Safety Release” statement about your operation, your personnel, and your operational history?

If you would like to understand what statements and briefings are helpful to have, or if you would like to receive copies of sample documents, please feel free to give us a call and we will be glad to help you with it.


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