Recent natural disasters have tested organizations’ crisis and emergency plans. IABC Austin recently hosted regional communicators in a group discussion and sharing session about communicating during a crisis.
Angel Flores, Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) senior public information officer, led the discussion. Here are a couple of key takeaways from the group:
- TAKE (Action). Austin HSEM has an acronym to help staff engage with residents on social media for emergencies: TAKE.
- Take initiative.
- Advise protection action.
- Keep people updated.
- Exit the conversation and close out the event.
- Leverage (solid) relationships with stakeholders. During a crisis, you won’t have the luxury of time to sort out who can help, who has the information or equipment you need, etc. Developing and nurturing productive relationships now will help your organization immensely during an emergency.
- Don’t forget your employees. During and following Hurricane Harvey, organizations needed to keep their operations running while also ensuring the safety and welfare of their employees – some of whom were experiencing flooding at home. Organizations used emergency communications tools like Everbridge to share critical safety and organizational information with their employees, and created disaster funds and paid-time off donation programs to assist employees in need.
Communicators at the event shared expertise and made connections. We’d love to connect with you, too. Join our mailing list to learn about upcoming events and opportunities to connect.