A crisis is any event that triggers a level of public interest and media inquiry that requires a significant increase in staffing and/or resources to make a reasonable media response. Crises include such things as disease outbreaks, disasters and other health matters. Crises also may include fires, breakdowns in communications, disruptions in services and even rumors. A major example in the one focusing on the San Fransisco Bay which was struck by an earthquake. This was referred to as the Loma Prieta earthquake. It was measuring 6. 9 on the moment magnitude scale.
It lasted approximately 15 seconds. This quake injured 3,757 people, left more than 12,000 people homeless and killed 67 people throughout northern California (Betteke Van Ruler, Dejan Vercis, 2004). A crisis situation is defined as any situation or event identified that has a major impact on the community. This plan describes the role of the Office of Public Relations (PR) in collecting and conveying information to the public during or immediately following a crisis or emergency situation. Risk communications can be viewed from two major aspects.
First, they may be viewed from public relations profession as its subspecialty and are designed to perform various disciplines among them protecting and defending an individual, an organization facing public challenge in regards to its reputation, or even a company at large. Some of these challenges will mainly come from government agencies as investigations, media inquiries and violation of environmental regulations, criminal allegations, or financial, ethical or legal standing of the entity. Reputation of an organization is always held as its most important or rather valuable asset.
Incase of any attack that comes as a threat to a company’s reputation, then protection and defense must be valued as the highest priority. In the current world, 21st century, technology has permitted access to a news cycle that will operate 24 hours, and is also full of investigations from the government. Some other sources of information will include parliamentary hearings,”gotcha’journalism and lawsuits. The result of these is that the media might decide to quickly overwhelm the capability of an entity to effectively respond to the demand of a crisis.
For an organization to maintain its reputation therefore, it must watch clearly every move and respond effectively and timely with much confidence. Such moves by a company call for more than just the typical skills from the profession of public relations. It requires keen experience from fields such as politics and investigative reporting. Also, crisis communication can be done through research of compelling statements. The capability of a rapid response entails an essential element during crisis communication.
Additional tactics applied may include; recruitment of third party allies who are capable and credible, and will give the good side of the company’s story. The company or organization might also decide to create procreative media that will outreach to get message and also context to the media. One of the major tactics of these is the tradition of striking first and not waiting to be hit. It is important to note that there is need for development of a crisis communication plan, need for creation of a crisis management team team and a crisis communication team that inclusive of the spokesperson James (E.
Lukaszewski, 2005). The crisis management team may consist of the library leader and the main librarians and its staff the trustee’s representatives as well as the so called volunteers’ representatives. Communication is also important when designing the management team as well as the legal counsel. Ensure that you are ready to get in touch with the key friends and those directly involved with the library. The communication goals should be set in advance. These must be the goal s that is achievable.
These goals must greatly contribute to the ending of the crisis at hand, be able to protect the library picture to the public, minimize tension, show commitment and willingness to meet the values and pass a clear message to the public to maintain good flow of information (Alison Asbury, Ros Jay, 2001). The primary objectives that should be kept in mind for an effective crisis communication solution strategy include a quick, effective, and efficient response. The following are the main objectives that I would wish to discuss in my communication crisis plan: 1. To maintain connectivity 2. To streamline communication process
3. To ensure uninterrupted audit trials 4. To allow distributed access Creating awareness to the community about the ongoing crisis has in the modern world grown significantly. Introduced regulations and standards require high levels of resilience through all aspects of operations within an organization. A good organization therefore must seek effective solutions that will allow them to prepare, plan and test their ability in communication when a crisis strikes. For effective communication, the following key drivers should be kept in mind: ? Protection of relationships ? Strengthening competitive advantage
? Reducing the operating risk and potential losses ? Assuring that there is regulatory compliance. ? Meeting community responsibilities. ? Deterring terrorism When preparing the plan, keep in mind that the business at risk may continue normally or may reach a situation where you will not be able to access all the tools that you used to perform your work. Therefore, your risk communication kit should have the capability of giving a picture of normality as much as possible in situations that are abnormal. It should therefore include all the information such as the computer files, the disks, graphics, and photos among others.
The kit should include a list of those in the crisis management team, contact information of the spokes persons, main officers, those involved in the management team. It should also have important fact sheets of the organization, the entire physical location, each division and all the products that it deals with. The profiles and biographies for the main managers in camera and on disk should be made available in crisis kit (Mathew W. Seeger, Timothy L. Sellow, Robert R. Ulmer, 2003). The kit should have in formation on the copies o f the organization, product logos, scanned signatures workers on disk and the press format as well.
The scripts that have been prewritten answering the main questions that have been gathered through the scenario of the crisis should also be made available in the kit. Finally, the contact information for all the main media both locally and internationally should be availed in the kit and if in position include the major financial press and analysts. Crisis mobile is a feature of communication that provides levels of communication that is unprecedented . It ensures communication is always on and always available. It also allows instant multichanneled communications from any communication device.
This feature also simplifies processes to save time, therefore reducing costs and mitigating optional risks. When a situation arises, you not only have to be prepared to act swiftly, you also have to make timely and informed decisions. That’s why beyond email, voice communications and organizer applications, an organized streamline communication process for the Public Sector allow mobile access to case files and associated records, emergency operating procedures, alert notifications and incident reports – all at the point of need (Brent W. Ritchie, Darly Adair, 2004).
The secret to an effective risk communication is to be ready before the crisis occurs. That is, be ready for any emergency. Therefore you will have little time to plan for the direction to take rather than thinking then, which might lead to making wrong decisions. There, to handle any crisis, there must be a proper crisis plan to facilitate it. A perfect risk communication relies on the available systems in that particular place. According to Fitzwater, one should tighten a crisis that is available and make it better. This is not the time to design a system that is ne2w since it won’t be of any help.
At this time, one should to be forthcoming and trustworthy at the same time work to facilitate stories. In the presence of a crisis, try to put together all the major players into a common place and get the correct information. One should not give information of which he is not sure about or give what he thinks is right. This may be reported as rumors. Before a crisis, ensure that trustworthy is maintained as well as credible relationships with the part concerned that is the media as they will be no suspicion and they will cooperate as you handle the crisis.
Those in charge of crisis management should have a chance of collecting information on the issues that are troublesome (Ricardo Tartaglia, 2005). After gathering the information, they should evaluate, get detailed data on them and look for ways of communicating to prevent their course. Train the chosen spokespersons in handling the media and ensure that you have the target, the message and important media outlets that could be used in different crisis plans. During a crisis, make efforts to reach the word of the press lest they find it through different means. Let the entire public be aware that you are dealing with the problem at hand.
Avoid speculations and give information that you know instead (Dan Pyle Millar, Robert Lawrence Health, 2003). With up-to-date information right at their fingertips, the appropriate people coercive proactive notification of evolving situations, verify the issues with colleagues and take action quickly before they escalate into more serious problems. At times when making informed decisions has never been more important, you can be assured of streamline communication for the Public Sector features, the same proven technology used by the world’s leading enterprises to improve their responsiveness (W.
Timothy Coombs, 2007). In a world that is as fast-paced as it is unpredictable, it’s more important than ever to find ways to keep all branches of the organization on top of the most current and critical information to continue delivering top notch service to public constituents. After all, things can change in an instant. And we’re living in a time when instant just isn’t fast enough. It goes without saying that there’s no higher priority during emergencies than protecting public safety while minimizing loss of life and property damage. The truth is, you have to be innovative if you want to stay ahead.
And ideally, that means making sure everyone in the public sector from executives and officials to legislators – are always connected to the information, communications and applications they need (Dan Pyle Millar, Robert Lawrence Health, 2003). Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have come out as the technology that ensures secure remote access. VPNs is clientless. This type of sourcing gives access to security breaches in a company. When a user connects to the VPN, after valid authentication, he/she gets access to applications and resources for which he/she has access priviledges.
Since VPNs work at the application layer hence there is no direct connection to the network, the users will only connect to resources. VPNs also facilitate fionel grained access controls so the entire data stream is encrypted by a security protocol for the internet traffic. With this, remote access for communication continuity achieves the following: Secure connections for employees to corporate data and applications and, importantly, only to approved resources based on policy. Access controls in VPNs let the right people in and keep the wrong ones out, which is
critical during a disaster event. Business as usual for customers, suppliers, and partners, even if their own operations are disrupted and they must get access from remote locations. IT departments can handle other problems during a disaster recovery without having to manage an influx of calls from users or troubleshoot an inefficient remote access system. There is compliance to regulatory requirements, as VPNs provides continuous monitoring, auditing, and data privacy under a business continuity scenario.
For compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA or Gramm- Leach-Bliley. Data Protection mandates stiff protection of personal data for companies. Information Protection Act, which applies strict regulations to government or private entities that collect, handle, or use personal information. Block remote connections from untrusted systems that could infect the corporate network with harmful computer viruses or other malicious software. Keep mission-critical applications available such as CRM, ERP, and e-mail applications.
Newer applications, such as voice over Internet protocol and Web conferencing, may also become more important during a disaster due to potential telephone service outages and your increased need to stay in touch with customers. Accommodate a spike in network traffic resulting from an emergency. Just as many people call to check on friends or family who may be in harm’s way, a disaster may cause customers, partners, and suppliers to seek assurance that their business will not be disrupted by a disaster event. Scalability matters (Robert R. Ulmer, Timothy L. Sell now, Mathew W. Seeger, 2007).
Plan ahead to ensure remote access doesn’t crash due to high demand. After the crisis has been handled, inform all the individuals involved of the lesson learnt making the review of the important steps taken and look for failures to be corrected. Give credit to any good efforts made and ensure that proper documentation is done. Always, be ready to be part of the decision making process as you seek to get a solution. Be honest in whatever that you handle or any informationthatn you deliver or receive (J A. Cappy Surrette, 2003). Be ready always because you never know what is on the way coming.
REFERENCES Robert R. Ulmer, Timothy L. Sell now, Mathew W. Seeger (2007) Effective Crisis Communication: Moving fro Crisis to Opportunity. SAGE, ISBN142914183 Dan Pyle Millar, Robert Lawrence Health (2003) Responding to Crisis: A Rhetorical Approach to Crisis Communication. Lawrence Associates, ISBN0805840605 W. Timothy Coombs (2007). Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, managing, and Responding. SAGE Publication, ISBN1412949920. Mathew W. Seeger, Timothy L. Sellow, Robert R. Ulmer (2003). Communication and Organizational Crisis. Greenwood Publishers, ISBN0763747769 Ricardo Tartaglia (2005).
Healthcare Systems Ergonomics and Patient Safety. Taylor and Francis, ISBN041537782. Brent W. Ritchie, Darly Adair (2004). Interrelationships, Impacts and issues ISBN1873150652 Betteke Van Ruler, Dejan Vercis (2004). Public Relation and Communication Management in Europe. Walter de Gruyter, ISBN3110176114 Alison Asbury, Ros Jay (2001). Quick Answers to Marketing Questions. Prentice Hall, ISBN07273653253. James E. Lukaszewski (2005). Crisis Communication Plan Components and Models: Crisis Communication. Lukaszewski Group, ISBN1883291402. J A Cappy Surrette (2003). The USS Greenville Collision: A discussion of Crisis Communication
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