Communication and Crisis
Health Care Communication Strategies
April 14, 2013
Communication and Crisis
Today our community is presented with a problem that will require communication between several internal and external avenues to help resolve the water contamination in the Eugene-Springfield area. I am Shellie Cobbs, Director of the Regional Emergency Management Office, and I will be addressing the media on the procedures to be used in running the crisis communication efforts in response to the contaminated water. A water contamination event poses a unique opportunity to work with diverse populations to effectively convey important health messages ("Contamination," 2008, p. 1).
Individuals communicating during the crisis
Investigating the current crisis of water contamination will involve multiple levels of communication. Individuals and groups will have information to share with the media. All communication will be cleared and authorized by myself before being released by different agencies or individuals. The term “crisis communication” is associated more with emergency management and the need to inform and alert the public about an event. In this case, crisis communication may refer to the community leaders’ efforts to inform the public (Reynolds, 2012, p. 28). The Department of Health and Environmental Control, Poison Control, and the Centers for Disease Control will be agencies involved in the investigating the water contamination. The information found is communicated to the President of The United States in the event that this is an act of terrorism.
Advantages and disadvantages with communicating with the community
Advantages of communicating with the community are great for distribution of information for safety and awareness for the immediate affected citizens. The American Red Cross will help in the distribution of food, water, and shelter. The American Red Cross will also be a constant source of information for the affected people of the Eugene-Springfield area. Using the media will give a constant and continual stream of updated communication for the immediate community. Television, radio, and social media will be updated and press conferences will be held on a regular schedule daily.
Disadvantages of communicating with any individual or company in the public or private sector will be misunderstood or misconstrued information. Avoiding a panic is the first priority for all media coverage. Distributing directions and safety information will help keep people from additional exposure and harm. It is a necessary responsibility of the public and private sectors to help distribute information. This can be done inside their respective organizations or through donations to the American Red Cross, who is onsite and helping with direct communication to the people affected. The Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands, to earthquakes that impact millions. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet (http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do).
Differences in communication in crises
Compared to crises in the past we have a distinct advantage of multiple avenues of communication in addition to the traditional television and radio. Advancements in cell phones, reverse phone announcements, the Internet, and social media gives a wide range of communication to the community to access to get information.
Differences in communication also can be as small as a dispute on how to follow a procedure or where to go for fresh bottled water. Communication between all parties involved needs to be precise and the most current information so that errors and casualties can be avoided.
Technology affecting communication during the crisis...
References: Communicating effectively with vulnerable populations during water contamination events. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18401130
Emergency Communications. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fcc.gov/guides/emergency-communications
Reynolds, B. (2012). Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Manual (2012 ed.). : .
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