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  1. 1. Module 1 – Introduction to Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Deborah Grigsby Smith State of Colorado Director of External Communications Homeland Security
  2. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>What is a/an crisis, disaster,emergency </li></ul><ul><li>Potential crisis situations </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis communications complications </li></ul><ul><li>Examples good/bad crisis communications </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis communication lifecycle </li></ul><ul><li>Parting thoughts/handouts </li></ul><ul><li>Questions and thank yous </li></ul>
  3. 4. Obligatory disclaimer <ul><li>Not an expert in any form of public health, healthcare </li></ul><ul><li>Basic overview only </li></ul><ul><li>Much more to learn, so it’s okay to be confused at this point </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to help you track them down… </li></ul>
  4. 5. CDC Module 1 says… <ul><li>Four types of communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Crisis communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Issues management communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crisis and emergency risk communication </li></ul></ul>
  5. 6. Some definitions <ul><li>Crisis communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiencing something unexpected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization must respond </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implies lack of control by the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicator: participant </li></ul><ul><li>Time pressure: urgent and unexpected </li></ul><ul><li>Message purpose: explain and persuade </li></ul>
  6. 7. What is a crisis, exactly…? <ul><li>Unexpected </li></ul><ul><li>Uncontrolled </li></ul><ul><li>Disrupts or impedes normal operations </li></ul><ul><li>Intense public and media attention </li></ul><ul><li>Interferes with achieving organizational goals </li></ul><ul><li>Threatens reputation/public trust </li></ul><ul><li>Damage can be real or PERCEIVED </li></ul>
  7. 8. How well you perform… <ul><li>Will ALWAYS be front page news </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media coverage of the 911 Commission hearings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… apparently contradictory evacuation orders…” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AFP Coverage </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… conflicting advice from emergency teams…” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reuters </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… communication gaps…lack of coordination…” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Associated Press </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Some definitions <ul><li>Issues management communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to crisis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization has luxury of forewarning and can plan response to stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization is central to the event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicator: participant </li></ul><ul><li>Time pressure: anticipated, can be controlled </li></ul><ul><li>Message purpose: explain and persuade, and empower decision making </li></ul>
  9. 10. Some definitions <ul><li>Risk communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flourishes in environmental health field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides the receiver with information about the expected outcome from a behavior or exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicator: Expert that did not participate in event; is neutral regarding the outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Time pressure: anticipated, little or no time pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Message purpose: explain and empower receiver’s decision making process </li></ul>
  10. 11. Speaking of exposure risk…
  11. 12. Some definitions <ul><li>Crisis and emergency risk communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different from crisis as communicator is not perceived as a participant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effort by experts to provide information to stakeholder to make the best decision about their well-being within impossible time constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicator: expert who is post-event participant invested in the outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Time pressure: urgent and unexpected </li></ul><ul><li>Message purpose: explain and persuade, and empower decision making </li></ul>
  12. 13. Emergencies, disaster, crises <ul><li>What do they all have in common? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simply something bad has happened, is about to happen, or is currently happening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be called an emergency, disaster, or a crisis depending on the magnitude of the event and the current phase of the event </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. Potential crisis situations <ul><li>Fatality </li></ul><ul><li>Natural disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Terrorism </li></ul><ul><li>Workplace violence </li></ul><ul><li>Health and Safety issues </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental issues </li></ul><ul><li>Law suits </li></ul><ul><li>Criminal activity </li></ul><ul><li>Security </li></ul><ul><li>Activists </li></ul><ul><li>Racial issues </li></ul><ul><li>Failure </li></ul><ul><li>Sudden change in management </li></ul><ul><li>Sabotage </li></ul><ul><li>Financial actions </li></ul><ul><li>Implication by association </li></ul>
  14. 16. Crisis Complications <ul><li>Increasing population densities </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of people in high-risk areas </li></ul><ul><li>Increased technology risks (hazmat) </li></ul><ul><li>Aging population </li></ul><ul><li>Emerging diseases and antimicrobial resistance </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly mobile society </li></ul><ul><li>More international travel </li></ul><ul><li>Terrorism </li></ul><ul><li>Instantaneous communication </li></ul>
  15. 17. Some recognizable crises… <ul><li>Airline crashes (TWA 800, Pan Am 103, AA 587) </li></ul><ul><li>World Trade Center Bombings (1993 and 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Exxon Valdez </li></ul><ul><li>Ford Firestone Recall </li></ul><ul><li>Enron </li></ul><ul><li>Tylenol Cyanide incident </li></ul><ul><li>Monica Lewinski Scandal </li></ul><ul><li>Ebola virus </li></ul>
  16. 18. Good crisis management: <ul><li>Tylenol Cyanide Incident </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jim Burke, Johnson & Johnson CEO immediately expressed commitment to and concern for customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was not afraid to pull product and lose sales in the short term in order to protect public safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Honest and commitment elevated customer trust and reputation damage was minimal (full market share restores within 12 months) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Redefined how companies deal with public safety—take action, don’t just talk. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. Bad crisis management: <ul><li>Ford Firestone™ Recall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ford dribbled out information as they were pressured by the media. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Started with a partial recall of a defective product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Withheld important information and pointed fingers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not put safety and security of customers first—made litigation strategy the focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penny-wise in this case was indeed pound foolish </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. Crisis comm lifecycle EVAL PRECRISIS INITIAL MAINTENANCE RESOLUTION <ul><li>Be prepared </li></ul><ul><li>Foster alliances </li></ul><ul><li>Get consensus </li></ul><ul><li>Test messages </li></ul><ul><li>Help public clarify risks </li></ul><ul><li>Background and detailed info for those who need it </li></ul><ul><li>Gain understanding and support for response and recovery plans </li></ul><ul><li>Listen for feedback and aggressively correct misinformation </li></ul><ul><li>Empower risk/benefit decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge the event with empathy </li></ul><ul><li>Explain and inform the public in simple terms about the risk </li></ul><ul><li>Establish agency and spokes person credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Provide emergency courses of action (include where and how to get information) </li></ul><ul><li>Commit to free-flowing information </li></ul><ul><li>Improve response in similar emergencies through education </li></ul><ul><li>Honestly examine problems/successes </li></ul><ul><li>Persuade the public to support public policy and resource allocation to problem </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the story of your successes and capabilities (internally, externally) </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate communication plan performance </li></ul><ul><li>Document lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Determine specific actions to improve crisis systems and/or your crisis plan </li></ul>
  19. 21. Pre-crisis phase <ul><li>Be prepared </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Go-kit (backgrounders, key messages) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>JIS/JIC/Virtual JIC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shadow Web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Foster alliances, share information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical for consistent messages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop consensus recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and test plan and messages </li></ul>
  20. 22. Initial phase <ul><li>Acknowledge the event with empathy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“I understand.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explain and inform the public, in the simplest terms, about the risks involved </li></ul><ul><li>Establish org/spokesperson credibility </li></ul><ul><li>Provide emergency courses of action (how/where to get more information) </li></ul><ul><li>Commit to continued and open communication </li></ul>
  21. 23. Crisis maintenance <ul><li>Help public and stakeholders more accurately understand their own risks </li></ul><ul><li>Provide backgrounders to those who need it </li></ul><ul><li>Gain understanding and support for response and recovery plans </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to feedback and aggressively correct misinformation </li></ul><ul><li>Explain emergency recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Empower risk/benefit decision making </li></ul>
  22. 24. Crisis resolution <ul><li>Improve appropriate response in future emergencies through education </li></ul><ul><li>Honestly examine problems/successes </li></ul><ul><li>Persuade public to support public policy and resource allocation </li></ul><ul><li>Tell your story to everyone! Promote your activities and capabilities…reinforce your corporate identity both externally and internally. </li></ul>
  23. 25. Evaluation <ul><li>Evaluate communication plan performance </li></ul><ul><li>Document lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Determine specific actions to improve crisis system and/or crisis plan </li></ul><ul><li>Seek feedback from partners and other organizations involved— yes, even the media. </li></ul>
  24. 27. Parting thoughts <ul><li>Planning is the key </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a crisis communication plan in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Names, numbers, checklists, role clarification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Arrange MOU with sister organizations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Order supplies (pens, paper, CDs, DVDs, diazepam in the large economy jug) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build your shadow Web/virtual JIC </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meet regularly and train, brainstorm </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Write key messages, backgrounders, collect stock photos, build a Go-kit. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 28. More parting thoughts <ul><li>Don’t reinvent the wheel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use others’ work as learning tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask other for help, advice, direction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t even imagine doing it by yourself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build your human resources now </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Train receptionists, interns, non-essential personnel to help (phone calls, log queries) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for the very worst, then scale back as you need </li></ul></ul>
  26. 29. More parting thoughts <ul><li>Remember to make provisions in your plan to take care of yourselves and your team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By planning for a crisis now, you divert stress, chaos and disorganization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Proper tools for the job </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Budget for equipment, software, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sleep, food, mental health, family responsibility </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 30. Most importantly <ul><li>Trust your instincts… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it doesn’t look right, or feel right…ASK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to challenge the information you receive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use the Internet, other experts in other departments or jurisdictions if you need </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t allow yourself to be bullied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your job is to help ensure ACCURATE information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to do your job </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop networks, resources and tools. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  28. 31. <ul><li>And if something happens that you do have to make an uncomfortable exit…. </li></ul>
  29. 33. Questions and thank yous! <ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul><ul><li>¡ Gracias! </li></ul><ul><li>Danke! </li></ul><ul><li>Merci! </li></ul><ul><li>Shukran ! </li></ul><ul><li>Mahalo nui loa! </li></ul><ul><li>Domo arigato! </li></ul><ul><li>Tack så mycket! </li></ul>

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