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Earthquake News Report

Imagine you turned on the TV, and this is what you saw:

This is Jane Smith with Channel 3 News. The earthquake that rocked the region earlier today had a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale, according the USGS. Major highways, bridges, and buildings appear to have sustained severe damage. Aftershocks continue to hit, causing additional damage and injuries. We do not yet know how many people have been injured or died.

Now, imagine that this crisis is unfolding in your area right now. Now imagine that your phone is ringing non-stop from all the reporters seeking more information. Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds are full of speculation about what’s happening. You're still trying to sort out what has just happened—and you're coping with your own emotional reaction to this event. At this moment, do you and your organization know:

  • Who is in charge of the communication effort?
  • Who your expert spokespeople are?
  • What your key messages should be and how you will get word out to the public?
  • What procedures are necessary to verify and clear information before it’s made public?
  • What your first steps should be in communicating with the public?

The moment of crisis is not a good time to figure out the answers to these questions. But if you’ve prepared ahead of time, you’ll be able to respond quickly to reporters and the public in the early hours of the crisis event. The preparation done prior to any crisis is a priceless investment in successful communication when a crisis hits.