This step of Ready Business provides direction for developing a crisis communications plan. Understanding the audiences that a business needs to reach during an emergency is one of the first steps in the development of a crisis communications plan.
Contact information for each audience should be compiled and immediately accessible during an incident. The crisis communication or business continuity plan should include documented procedures for notification of suppliers. Communications with government officials depends upon the nature and severity of the incident and regulatory requirements.
Human Resources (HR) is responsible for the day-to-day communications with employees regarding employment issues and benefits administration. During and following an incident, each audience will seek information that is specific to them. Pre-scripted messages should be prepared using information developed during the risk assessment.
Another important element of the crisis communications plan is the need to coordinate the release of information.
Another important goal of the crisis communications plan is to move from reacting to the incident, to managing a strategy, to overcome the incident. The crisis communications team, consisting of members of the management team, should operate in an office environment to support the contact and information centers. When a crisis, such as a natural disaster, affects the public, social media, most notably Twitter and Facebook, will always come into play.
Enables monitoring of timely reports from the public as well as general public opinion before, during and after a crisis.

Social media can also fan negative public opinions about the way first responders managed the disaster, possibly creating a post-disaster public relations crisis. The goal for any organization experiencing a crisis that affects the public is to integrate social media with traditional communications channels.
This presentation highlights some of the elements needed to create a successful crisis response team. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency in the hours and days that follow. There are many potential audiences that will want information during and following an incident and each has its own needs for information. Writing messages during an incident can be challenging due to the pressure caused by “too much to do” and “too little time.” Therefore, it is best to script message templates in advance if possible. The risk assessment process should identify scenarios that would require communications with stakeholders. Management needs to develop the strategy and the crisis communications team needs to implement that strategy by allaying the concerns of each audience and positioning the organization to emerge from the incident with its reputation intact.
While social media is an increasingly vital aspect of crisis communications, it usually does not exist on its own. Emergency managers in particular are thus able to establish their social media presence as a go-to source for authoritative public information during a natural disaster. Other communications channels, including, for example, door-to-door personal meetings, may be necessary in such cases. Immediate corrections, necessitating a commitment of communications resources, may be necessary. He has more than 25 years experience providing strategic communications counsel, on-the-ground assistance and highly targeted media relations and “new media” programs to manage issues and crises as well as reputation enhancement for both profit and not-for-profit organizations.

The Contact & Information Center tab explains how to use existing resources to gather and disseminate information during and following an incident. Social media supplements and enhances other, more traditional communications, whether it’s a siren alert or a TV news broadcast.
During a natural disaster, understanding and acting upon both the advantages as well as the disadvantages of social media can literally be a matter of life and death.
Lists should be updated regularly, secured to protect confidential information and available to authorized users at the emergency operations center or an alternate location for use by members of the crisis communications team.
HR should also coordinate communications with those involved with the care of employees and the provision of benefits to employees and their families.
Close coordination between management, company spokesperson, public agencies and HR is needed when managing the sensitive nature of communications related to an incident involving death or serious injury. Using this input, the crisis communications team can inform management about the issues that are being raised by stakeholders. All of these “audiences” will want information before the business has a chance to begin communicating.
Notification requirements specified in regulations should be documented in the crisis communications plan.
In turn, management should provide input into the messages generated by the crisis communications team.

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