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Communication and Crisis Paper

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Communication and Crisis Paper
A crisis situation reports indicate that the water supply is contaminated with a life threatening biological agent in several towns and this department is handling the emergency crisis with this situation. Our department is handling the communication method of handling this crisis and informing the public of this threat and the steps they need to take to protect themselves and their families. Communication in this crisis will be crucial to keep the public calm and to present the information they will need. The media is a major source that our department is using to get our message out to the public. However, our office must be careful to prevent the media from creating a panic.
Our department will be coordinating with the Emergency Operations Center, The State Emergency Management Center, Department of Health Services, Department of Natural Resources, state, and local police officials and the volunteer organizations. The uses of these internal departments will coordinate the information that will be release in this crisis situation. Updates from state and local police, firefighters, and the National Guard will keep this department updated on the current developments that is occurring in the affected areas. Our departments will coordinate all communications so information is correctly given to departments and news releases to the public. This will control and give this crisis situation the effective outcome and keep fear at a minimum ("Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs Division of Emergency Management," 2013).
The state government notification will be to our office when they have requested emergency assistance from the federal government. Communications with all federal government specifically FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency and NEMA, National Emergency Management Association is directed through this office. Our department is coordinating the efforts of all agencies to administer effectively aid to the public.
Communications between government and state agencies are the key to a successfully handled crisis situation. Federal governments are not allowed just to step into a state crisis situation. The state must make an official request to the federal government to receive federal agencies to intervene and render assistance. In the situation with Hurricane Katrina, communication between local, state, and federal governments completely broke down which cause catastrophe to occur in the crisis situation. Guidelines are firmly in place with our water contamination procedures. Our department will be in direct contact with state officials at every juncture of this crisis situation. Our crisis plan has taken into consider the possibility of the breakdown of communication, transportation, supplies, and manpower are at the ready if the water crisis should become out of control and the public needs emergency help. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the crisis center emergency plans is now updated and a revised plans to include the contingency plan to make all federal, state, and local personnel available to response to this crisis ("The Katrina Breakdown," 2011).
All press releases, news interviews, and messages are scripted in our office and will customize each incident and area of occurrence along with the recommended action and shelters for the public to use, along with the local and toll free numbers for the affected public to contact to receive additional information and instructions. Our message needs to be short but needs to include all the appropriate information. Our department has elected one spokesperson who will be responsible for make all television and radio reports to the media ("7 Tips for Delivering Effective Emergency Notification," 2013).
The information department is setting up our website to include all necessary information pertain to this crisis. A team of public relations people is online with all affected areas giving out needed information and reassuring the public that the situation is under control and all necessary steps were taken to resolve this crisis. Our website has posted links to all the volunteer organizations to the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army for the public to contact for immediate needs such as food and bottled water ("7 Tips for Delivering Effective Emergency Notification," 2013.)
The technicians have set up for all our mass communications methods that include text, e-mailing, voice, social media, radio communications, and connects to all mobile emergency units. These communications are tied into together so every agency is aware of the situation that is developing ("7 Tips for Delivering Effective Emergency Notification," 2013.)
The advantages of communication in any crisis situation to maintain control of the situation and inform both inside departments, local, state, and federal agencies, and the public is the ultimate goal in a crisis situation. Giving the public and private sectors a succinct explanation of what went wrong and the steps we are taking will help to contain the situation will help to maintain calm and control of panic. Our concern for the public’s health and safety will be the number one priority. In ensure the public that we are taking all necessary steps to control and fix the problem will be in our delivered in our communications. Showing the public that we are confident and in control of the situation is also an advantage in excellent communication ("How to Communicate in A Crisis," 2010.)
Another area of communication we are responsible for are the scientists and public workers in the field containing and fixing the contaminated water supply. Keeping open communication with these workers will also give us a status report of the severity of the contamination. This information is necessary to help resolve this crisis.
A disadvantage that our office is preparing for are the potential for disruption in our cell phone and social media communications. Another potential problem that can occur is overload of the 911 system. Overloads can also occur in our social media with the disruption of IP address and servers overloading with excessive actively. An old traditional way of communication is to use ham radio operators. Emergency ham radio operators are in place and have had extensive training in dealing with all types of emergency crisis (Goslow, 2005.)
As the saying goes “it’s all in the wording.” Mistakes in the Three-Mile Island incident were in the communication wording that the facility official used in its releases to the officials and the public. Generalization in the severity of the crisis can have a serious and disastrous outcome. In a crisis situation, keep the explanations simple and with language that the majority of people will understand. Frighten people will overreact to any information and pick up on any negativity shown by all public officials. Reassuring the public is another obstacle to be concerned about. People do not always believe when a crisis has passed. Communications in the reporting will help people to realize when the crisis period has passed. However, over reassuring the public can lead to a negative reaction to a crisis situation. People can read into official’s expression and body language when there is still concern over a situation ("The Communications Failures Lessons of Three Mile Island," 2009.)
As mentioned earlier, the use of technology in our communications will help to resolve this situation and to care for the public. Broadcasting health messages to the nation for precautions the public may need to take and symptoms of the biological agent is another form of communication used to benefit the public. Our department will put all medical information regarding this biological agent on our websites and make the information available to the public and private sectors. All hospitals and the medical community are aware of the water contaminated biological agent and to take measures for the treatment of the public. The medical community is using all of their knowledge and technology to care for the effect people and to take all actions to treat and help prevent sickness or death (du Pre, 2004.)
Social media is the forum that the public will use to communicate in any crisis situation. Our people are monitoring all forms of social media to determine the mindset and attitude of the public. In past crisis situations, the news media was reporting the unfolding events as they were happening and officials did not take notice of the reaction to the public. They missed many signs of problems unfolding in the nation that could have been acted upon and dealt with. Our plan is to keep our eyes and ears open to the mood of the nation to prevent any rise in public panic. New technology is emerging every day and emergency management is staying connected to that new technology. Public emergency workers will use the new technology to utilize lifesaving information to protect and help the public who is affected ("Communities of Interest Emergency Communications," 2013.)
Our office spokesperson will hold a news conference with the media daily to report the situation, progress, and official reports to public. The state and local police, along with our office will make the determination if additional news briefs are required.
Our office will take every step available to communicate to all agencies, the departments in this organization, and to the public the necessary information to control and deal with this water contaminating biohazard agents. Our communication methods will educate the public and keep in contact with all agencies in the ongoing situation. Our emergency crisis plan is in place and all employees are trained to utilize the plan to its fullest potential during this crisis. The design is to save lives.

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