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Operational Risk Management

The determination to employ CAP resources is a serious one, and should be made carefully, with all personnel fully aware of the associated risks. Operational Risk Management (ORM) is a process designed to detect, assess and control risk, and at the same time, enhance mission performance. Simply put, it's a methodical, six-step process to manage inherent risk. CAP has formally endorsed the use of ORM for all activities. Risk management can be accomplished on three levels. While it would be preferable to perform an in-depth application of risk management for every mission or task, time and resources may not always be available. One of the objectives of risk management training is to develop sufficient proficiency in applying the process so that risk management becomes an automatic part of the decision-making methodology during CAP activities and your personal time. The three ORM levels are deliberate, time-critical, and strategic.

Deliberate ORM is the application of the complete process. It primarily uses experience and brainstorming to identify hazards and develop controls and is therefore most effective when done in a group. Examples of deliberate applications include the planning for a flight clinic, cadet activity or disaster response planning. Deliberate ORM usually takes place well in advance of an activity - in the planning stages when there's plenty of time to methodically go through the steps and develop informed risk decisions. This is where we should try to get most ORM done. Early, deliberate ORM in the planning stages helps to fully integrate risk controls into activity plans.

On the other hand, time-critical ORM is just what the name implies. It's an "on-the-run" mental or verbal review of a situation using the basic risk management process without necessarily recording the information. Staff briefings and checklists are designed to help identify areas of risk in time-critical situations. This time-critical process of risk management is employed to consider risk while making decisions in a time-compressed situation. This level of ORM is used during the execution phase of an operation as well as crisis response situations. Time-critical ORM is particularly helpful for choosing the appropriate course of action when an unplanned event occurs during execution of a planned operation or daily routine.
 
Strategic (or in-depth) ORM is used to study the hazards and associated risks in a complex operation in which the hazards are not well understood. This level is a long-term application that involves research, various analysis tools and long-term tracking of the associated hazards. This level of ORM is typically used for high-visibility risks and requires a lot of time and resources. It is important to understand that not only should we be targeting our risk issues, we should use ORM to systematically target risk barriers in order to expand operational capabilities and increase training realism. As a general rule, about half the effort expended on ORM should be directed to expanding operational capabilities and effectiveness. The other half is directed at reducing various types of risk. If you would like to know more about ORM, talk with your safety officer or visit the CAP Safety website.

Additional training is available for all CAP personnel on ORM in:

Common questions that incident staff should consider in for ORM purposes are also available in: RISK MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS

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