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Communication and Crisis Essay

My name is Rosa Singleton. I am the director of the Emergency Management Office in the area of Ohio. Today we have received official reports that the public water supplies for the city of Canton and other nearby cities have become contaminated with a life-threatening biological agent. It is the duty of my staff to implement contingency plans and address them within the organization, and with the public in a way that will not create panic amongst the citizens of Canton and the surrounding cities.

The individuals or groups that will be communicating inside and outside the organization during this crisis situation

When a crisis situation occurs, there has to be a quick response for collecting information concerning the situation. The individuals that will be communicating during this crisis on the inside of this organization are myself, the senior manager of the regional Emergency Management Office, the communications coordinator, and the command coordinator along with the help of outside agencies such as: The State Department of Health, the Red Cross agency, and the media spokesperson (Hicks, 2012).

Potential advantages and challenges associated with communicating within the organization and with the public and private sectors during this crisis situation

When an event like water contamination occurs, it gives an opportunity for emergency teams to work with diverse communities to effectively relay the importance of health communication, and it causes the citizens of those communities to be dependent upon the emergency teams to bring them to a safe place from the crisis. Sometimes a crisis can have good outcomes, and sometimes the outcomes are not as favorable. The advantages that we’re hoping for while communicating with the associations and the public are, that everyone involved receives the correct public health information messages, and that they knew before hand their needs, and have familiarized themselves with other vulnerable communities close to them at the time they realized the water was contaminated. We never hope for negative outcomes, so hopefully being aware of these situations will help in knowing the drawbacks of developing and relaying clear and effective messages in these types of crisis (Nsiah-Kumi, 2008).

Differences in communication processes used in crisis situations, including what you learned from the situations in the scenario and how you might incorporate that knowledge to improve health care communication strategies

A crisis team must monitor health status to identify community health problems-the detection of any harmful or unfavorable health events is important, and has to be done quickly to ensure a speedy response to biological attacks, with medications and vaccines provided. An engagement of diagnosis and investigation of health problems and hazards in the community-identifying and diagnosing potential bioterrorism agents is very important; it ensures that prevention and treatment measures can be quickly implemented. The crisis team will also inform, educate, and empower people about health issues-in a crisis, such as this bioterrorist event, this information needs to be shared as quickly as possible with law enforcement agencies and all other groups responsible for protecting the public.

Mobilizing the community partnerships to identify and solve health problems will take place-the local public health agencies will have to get together with all other organizations, including those not really considered part of the public health system to provide epidemiologic investigation and medical treatment to those who need it, and help prevent the spread of disease. They also must develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts-the local public health agency preparedness plans should include careful, thought out reviews of local, state and federal policies that will help in its responses to any health emergency for the public. They will enforce laws and regulations to protect health and ensure safety-a very important part of preparedness planning involves making sure that the local, state, and federal laws and regulations involving public health emergencies are updated.

Fraser and Fisher (2001) said that some of the laws are outdated because they haven’t been changed to show the same existence in public health practice. The residents will be linked to needed personal health services and be given the health care that is provided for them that is normally not provided any other time-so; it is the duty of the crisis team to make sure that all members of a community can have access to healthcare services if they need it. The crisis team will assure the public of a competent public health and personal health care workforce-in order for a crisis team to be effective in their response to a bioterrorism event, everyone involved in the local public health system must be competent personnel who have had training in emergency preparedness and response procedures.

Effectiveness, accessibility, and quality will be evaluated of all personal and population-base health services-there are many local public health agencies that have, and are now taking tabletop simulations and field exercises to help keep their response capacity intact, and to help identify their needs for how they need to improve. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems are being done on a continuous basis-there are so many important ways that a team can respond to bioterrorism; it can be done through research on local public health preparedness activities (Fraser & Fisher, 2001).

Appropriate technology, such as social media, affecting communication during the crisis situation and how these technologies may be used to enhance communication

Getting a staff together to bring in useful information to plan for the release of the information to the news media is a great way to enhance communication to the public. The media will then get the information out to the public by ways of News releases, web sites, news conferences, newspapers and other social media (Hicks, 2012). The advantages of using these types of media are they quickly allows for the public to know what type of crisis has happened, and what kinds of precautions are being taken to ensure their safety.

If there were to be any fatalities caused by the crisis event(s), these types of avenues also will give information on that. Some disadvantages can be unreliable technology of the citizens that will not allow for them to get access to the information that is being released by the media, such as no television, computer is not working properly, or they don’t received the local newspaper to be able to read it, etc.

How technology might be used differently now than it was during the crisis situations described in the scenario

Back in 1979, when a crisis occurred, it was released in the media, but the technology was not as great then as it is today. In 1979, there were no reliable social media besides the television or radio. If there was internet, it was not as reliable for getting information out to the public back then as it is today. There were no cell phones to quickly communicate back and forth when a person was on the go.

In 2005, there was newer technology such as the internet, cell phones, and doplar radar systems to help with bad weather forecasts, which was needed in the case of Hurricane Katrina that left New Orleans in such shambles. Technology in 2005 was efficient, but has been upgrade to be even more efficient since then. We now have newer and more efficient technology today that can be used for “ the ability to quickly gain awareness of the nature and scope of the crisis; the ability to quickly gather the information necessary to respond to the crisis; the ability to quickly deliver relevant information to all agency staff members; the ability to quickly deliver relevant information to the general public, the media, and other agencies—despite limited contact center resources; the ability to quickly ascertain whether recipients are finding information useful; and the ability to quickly respond to any ongoing changes in the crisis over time” (Customer Relationship Management and Crisis Management, 2012, p. 3, para. 5).

Media opportunities during this management crisis

Local environmental health agencies, Local news media, local Emergency

Management Officials, Fire, Police, and EMS, Hospitals and Health Plans, Infectious disease physicians, Poison Control Centers along with other local agencies are some of the many media avenues that have been recruited to manage this crisis situation. Other media opportunities will involve the media at the state level as well, such as the State Public Health Department, State Emergency Management Officials, The American Red Cross, etc., and other volunteer groups. Federal media opportunities are also involved; they go as follows: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Emergency Preparedness, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency along with others (Fraser & Fisher, 2001).

Crisis situations happen all the time, at any given time. No one knows when a crisis may occur. It is always a good idea to be prepared for a crisis just in case one happens. If anyone is affiliated with a company that does not have plans, or engage in any drill exercises for crisis situations, my staff and I are encouraging those companies to do so, and put some plans in effect right now.

The employees will be glad those steps were taken for the sake of the public, as well as for the company. My staff and I, here in Ohio’s Emergency Management Office, will always make sure that the technology and plans that we have on hand will allow us to always be able to quickly respond to any crisis situation. Today, we had a life-threatening biological agent that contaminated the waters in Canton and surrounding cities. With the help of other public officials, the crisis team did a wonderful job of implementing a successful plan to aid the public at hand without panic, and was able to successfully assure their safety.

References

Fraser, M. R., & Fisher, V. S. (2001, January). Elements of effective bioterrorism preparedness: A planning primer for local public health agencies. National Association of County and City Health Officials. Retrieved from http://bioterrorism.slu.edu/bt/key_ref/NACCHO/effective.pdf

Hicks, N. J. (2012). Health Industry Communication: New Media, New Methods,
New Message. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
n.d., (2012, March). Customer Relationship Management and Crisis Management: Proven Emergency Response Strategies for the Public Sector. Oracle. Retrieved from http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/crm-and-crisis-management-wp-1560491.pdf

Nsiah-Kumi, P. A. (2008). Communicating effectively with vulnerable populations during water contamination events. Journal Of Water & Health, 663-75. doi:10.2166/wh.2008.041


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