Crisis communication plans can save lives.

When a disaster occurs, how will you alert the people inside and around your building to the danger, and provide direction on how to respond?

Having an emergency communications plan in place allows you to provide timely information that can help keep everyone calm, and possibly save lives.

In-building considerations for crisis communication
• Use existing loudspeakers to issue an alert. Provide as much information as possible, such as the description and location of the emergency.
• Make sure all people of your organization use plain language (no code words) to communicate during an incident and are trained on your specific building procedures.
• Post signs and written information to assist visitors in finding evacuation routes and understanding your crisis plan during an emergency.
• Provide security staff and other critical personnel with two-way radios for direct communication.

Employee-wide communications for large facilities/campuses
• Use technology to issue alerts and quickly inform large groups of people of danger. Mass text messages and emails can help you reach large groups instantly.
• Consider a check-in response method to acknowledge headcounts and know how many people are accounted for — options include text message replies, an emergency smartphone app or a check-in on social media.
• Be prepared for a large load on your servers and the possibility that it could crash as people try to get information from your website.

Social media and tools to aid emergency communication
• During an event, the real-time nature of social media can be helpful to crisis teams. This is not the time to make unnecessary public communications, so keep messages short and direct and use social media only if it will help save lives.
• If you already have an app for your organization, push alerts or updates to all who have the app installed on their smartphones.
• Resources are available online from FEMA and other government agencies. You can also find consultant companies or teams, such as Firestorm, to help with crisis communications plans.

Crisis situations are uncomfortable to talk about — no one wants to believe the possibility that danger could happen nearby. Having a known communication plan in place will help control the chaos that can occur during a dangerous situation.

Brought to you in partnership with Church Mutual.

For more information, or to get a copy of our Active assailant planning checklist, feel free to reach out to me at Rachel.Dobbs@Hylant.com