Communications in a Disaster


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Danni Eickenhorst's presentation to Nebraska PRSA at the Public Relations Development Conference in Omaha on January 20, 2012.

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Communications in a Disaster

  1. 1. Danni R. EickenhorstCommunications SpecialistSalvation Army Midland HQ
  2. 2.  Acts of War  Fire  Tsunami  Blizzard  Avalanche  Volcanic Activity Hurricane OilSpill Chemical Leak Flooding Earthquake Tornado
  3. 3. Incident Commander Finance &Operations Planning PIO Logistics Liaison Safety Admin
  4. 4.  Centralmedia point of contact in/out  Relationships with media  Arrange interviews – Speak/Prep  Internal Communications  External communications
  5. 5.  Historian/Photographer/Videographer Work with liaison and outside agencies to stay abreast of upcoming events. Work with field personnel to stay updated on stories as they happen.
  6. 6.  Limitedcommunications channels Carnage and destruction Non-stop activity Doing good while delivering the message Doing good BY delivering the message Exhaustion/Burnout Physical conditions
  7. 7.  Hot spot  Inverter Flash Drive (multiple)  Logoed materials SD Cards  Maps Laptop  Portable printer Camera (hi-res, portable)  Hand Sanitizer Flip camera  First Aid Kit Tape/Voice Recorder  Business Cards Flashlight  Photo ID Bug Spray  Pre-loaded drive Sunscreen  Templates Water/Snacks  Media contact list Cash  Master contact list Backup batteries for all (organization) equipment  Links and logins Chargers  Generic fact sheets Appropriate clothing and shoes
  8. 8. “Disaster sites are often chaotic andunpredictable places where good intentions areeasily lost in the details of difficult logistics andpoor communications. Disaster scenes caninclude human misery as well as hope, courageand conviction – also failed plans and lack ofpreparedness. The way these scenes areinterpreted and presented to the public is criticalto the reputation and morale of the organizationsinvolved in the response. Managing the process isa critical component of the overall disasterresponse.”
  9. 9. Communities Served: Joplin, MissouriServices Rendered:Hydration and sandwiches served toresponders and survivors; clean-upassistance; long-term social servicessuch as rent and utility assistance; lostitem replacement; short-term shelter,and ministry/spiritual aid to respondersand survivors.Hot Meals Served: 102,174Beverages Served: 253,897Clothing Items Provided: 495,000+Volunteer Hours: 8,942EDS Staff Hours: 9,500TSA Assets Dispatched:8 canteens from Oklahoma, Springfield, St. Louis and Sedalia; 5 staff vans; 3 generatortrailers, and SATERN mobile response unit.
  10. 10. Information to Include1. How many people are affected by this disaster?2. Organization response to date?3. Partnerships in the response effort?4. History of organization within the community in questions, and brief general background of organization’s history.5. What do affected people need, if anything, at this time?6. What does your organization need at this time to help them?7. What telephone number and internet link are being used for people with inquiries or wanting to help?
  11. 11.  Let’s talk about news consumers so we can decide who we should target with our efforts in a disaster: 46% of Americans say they get their news from 4-6 media platforms on any given day. Just 7% get their news from a single source. 28% of online news consumers have customized their home page to include news on the topics of their choice. 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it or shared it via Facebook or Twitter. 65% of online adults use social networking sites.
  12. 12.  Free/Low Cost Immediate Global reach PR Disaster – Early Detection Developing strategy in advance
  13. 13.  Print  Daily local newspapers  Weekly community-based newspapers  Special interest or non-English language newspapers  Newsletters for employees, service recipients, etc.  News magazines Radio  Talk  Sports  News  Christian/Religious  University-affiliated  Public Radio  Satellite  Music Television  Broadcast (commercial and public)  Local and national cable news/weather  Pay (cable or satellite) Online  Almost all print, radio and TV outlets have a presence online  News is aggregated/curated by blogs, ISP’s  Some news sources are online-only  Blogs  Networking Sites/Social Media  Photo/Video Sharing (YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Picasa)
  14. 14.  First 24-36 hours Global Knocking on Doors Coming Prepared
  15. 15.  Services offered to those in need Why services are critical to disaster response Plan-of-attack for disaster response by organization/client Statistics and numbers Quantification of actual needs and benefits provided by company Find creative ways to make numbers relatable
  16. 16.  Human interest stories about survivors, volunteers and responders Man on the street videos Photography  Candid/Action, not “grip and grin”  High resolution  Test resolution settings and capacity to transfer files electronically prior to disaster
  17. 17.  Privacy Protection Approach Developing Trust Informed Consent
  18. 18.  Information Advocacy Power to deliver aid Power to enact change
  19. 19.  Incident Command Role Determination Training Policies Mental Preparation & Research Build social media presence Jump Kit Prepared language Cultivated media relationships Plan for after-care
  20. 20.  Corporate donors Donation drives Memorials/Anniversaries Joplin Relief Video