Crisis Communications Strategy: Getting into that Operational Rhythm

Crisis Communications Strategy: Getting into that Operational Rhythm

Communication during a crisis is one of the most sensitive tasks an emergency manager must deliver in a timely manner. As a crisis can happen an emergency manager must be prepared with an effective crisis communications strategy so that everyone involved understands at an enterprise-wide level.

Crisis Communications Strategy That is Effective

During a hurricane that hit Florence, South Carolina last September tested the medical University of South Carolina and its emergency management strategy. The facility had to hone it’s crisis communications strategy and methodology in order to continue operations. A big challenge for the university was the size as it consisted of a 700-bed medical center and six colleges. Maintaining the continuity of their operations while caring for ill patients was their ultimate test to get the right message.

The medical center knew what they had to do in terms of effective communication and delivery. At an enterprise-wide level they had to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This includes, understanding the threat, timelines and operational status. In addition to this, they had to make sure the message delivery was suited for specific groups of the facility. This required for them to create messages that were different for staff members who had different functions.

Lessons Learned About Crisis Communications Strategy

A key lesson to learn from the hurricane in Florence?

“Trying to find a balance for us and making sure that we’re giving people the appropriate information that they should rely on us for versus us becoming weather forecasters.”

– Heather Woolwine, public affairs and media relations director.

See Crisis Communication: Getting into that Operational Rhythm (by Jim McKay for govtech.com / August 15, 2019 ) for the full article on how the Medical University of South Carolina communicated through a crisis