The recent scare related to a purported “man with a gun” on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus was a sobering reminder of the urgent need for thorough emergency-communications planning.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured at URI, though many were justifiably frightened. However, this event should remind each organization of their obligation to re-examine their strategy for crisis communications.
Any organization, academic institution or municipality must ensure that they have five fundamental elements in their crisis-communications plan.
1. The process: It is critical to communicate during all stages of a crisis.
2. Accurate contact details: Organizations – especially academic institutions and municipalities — must use opt-in portals to collect and maintain as many contact details for each individual as possible.