A Crisis Communications Plan includes a variety of content and pre-prepared materials to aid in the prompt response to an issues-related crisis. The plan would outline who is on the Crisis Communications Team, considerations for different types of crises, general checklists and prompts for any type of issues crisis, etc.
The heart of the plan is the identification of the top several issues-related crises that could most impact the agency and undermine confidence and trust by residents, business, employees and other important stakeholders.
Each issue would have pre-prepared messages, media and social media content, fill-in-the-blanks press releases, website information, and checklists. This advance preparation results in the agency being much better prepared when the next issues strikes. The types of issues that could be addressed include:
SAE prepares a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) compliant plan that takes into account the unique needs of any local or regional public agency.
Our plans are based on real world experience: SAE has provided communications counsel, media relations, and Joint Information Center management for many of California’s most challenging crises, including the 2022 Atmospheric River storms, 2020 COVID-19 response, 2020 protests, 2019 Conception dive boat tragedy, 2018 Montecito Debris Flow, 2017 Thomas fire, 2016 Sherpa fire, 2015 Refugio Beach oil spill, 2014 Isla Vista shootings, 2011 Seal Beach massacre, and numerous crises of confidence cases. SAE was also part of a team examining the 2015 San Bernardino County terrorist attack response and recovery.
From in-depth discussion with your agency’s leadership, we’ll learn about the hazards that keep you up at night, but we’ll also explore your staffing strengths and weaknesses, media relations challenges, political and leadership issues, internal and external agency relationships, and many other facets of emergency planning.
Our approach is to ensure your plan isn’t just FEMA-compliant, but that it will really work when it has to: during the incident. We accomplish this by conducting on-the-ground research with you and your colleagues, reviewing past media coverage of area crises, and conducting research regarding issues which will impact your response and communications capabilities.
From there, we’ll craft a tailored stand-alone plan or annex to your emergency response plan. It will be a practical document which guides your efforts from notification to establishment of your emergency public information team to preparing and disseminating information. Chapters will cover how the Joint Information System works and how to set up your Joint Information Center. Check lists for all functions are included, along with sections on meeting 409.5 of the California Penal Code on how to ensure media access and much more.
See a few case studies here.
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