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Adapting to the storm: Perspectives on hurricane response from county, university, and military leaders

Crisis communications

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Establishing an effective crisis communications plan

After a crisis or emergency, Regina Phelps, Founder, Emergency Management and Safety Solutions, says respondents will inevitably list “communications” as one of the most important areas for improvement. Generally, the main reason for this callout is that communications are not timely. Phelps recommends three key aspects of a crisis communications for effective and timely communication.

  1. Effective use of an emergency notification system
  2. Identification of key stakeholders in a communication matrix
  3. Pre-approved message templates

Characteristics of effective crisis communications

If crisis communications are not effective, the organizational impact could be unnecessarily greater. Ms. Phelps summarizes the qualities of effective crisis communications as the following:

Show concern and demonstrate compassion
Be transparent and forthright
Cooperate with all responders
Demonstrate resolve to overcome the situation and get back to some semblance of normal

Routine vs. crisis and emergency communications

According to Regina, there are two types of emergencies organizations need to distinguish between for crisis communications – routine and crisis. It is important to understand that “routine” does not mean “easy.” These are the emergencies that you have likely thought about what to plan for and what is needed, and you’ve trained for and done exercises for them.

On the other hand, crisis emergencies are distinguished by significant elements of novelty, Regina says:

  • Threats never encountered before.
  • A familiar event occurring at unprecedented speed.
  • A confluence of forces, which, while not new, in combination pose unique challenges.

For crisis emergencies, plans and behaviors that work during routine events are generally inadequate and, in some cases, counterproductive.

How can Everbridge help

Everbridge provides a critical communication platform that organizations can utilize during all types of crisis. Everbridge Mass Notification provides robust analytics, GIS targeting, flexible group management, distributed contact data, language localization, multiple options for contact data management, and a “globally local” approach to optimize voice and SMS routing.

With the addition of Crisis Commander, Everbridge now helps organizations mobilize crisis response and collaboration. Crisis Commander lets you quickly put your response plans in the pocket of every employee. Response team members have access to a mobile framework and communications infrastructure to notify people, mobile response team members, execute contingency plans and effectively collaborate while still keeping key stakeholders informed.

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