Advance preparation and coolness under fire are the keys to successfully navigating a communications emergency. For more specific tips, here is an emergency response checklist compiled by Krista Umscheid-Ramirez of the Lower Colorado River Authority:
- Critical Contacts. These include your company’s executives, board of directors, and critical internal corporate contacts as well as outside contacts for the media you work with regularly.
- Maps. Maps of your facilities that show where your media staging areas are located. Provide physical addresses of the facilities and their main phone numbers. Maps of how to locate the facilities are beneficial as well.
- Company information. Keep in your book facts that might be valuable to have in the field when answering questions. Number of employees (company-wide and by facility), short rundowns of statistics for each facility are helpful as well as a basic explanation about what the company does and to whom it answers are great to have on hand. What regulatory agencies oversee the company? The Environmental Protection Agency, for instance?
- Emergency plans. Your department’s emergency response procedures and the company’s response plans, as well, if you have them.
- Procedural and notification checklist. Make sure your plans include who all your communications team should be responsible for contacting during an emergency and activate that call tree as appropriate.
- It’s best for each communications staff member to have one emergency response book at the office and one at home or in the car. Even better, put together a small, cheap “go bag” with your book, a couple of bottled waters, a shirt with a company logo on it, a cell phone charger, a note pad, several pens, some sunscreen, and a few granola bars.
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This article is excerpted from the new PR News Crisis Management Guidebook, Volume 4. To order this guidebook, go to prnewsonline.com/store/46.html.
This checklist was written by Krista Umscheid-Ramirez, senior communications specialist for Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).