One of the most important tools for effective disaster management is communication. With lives at risk, the need to quickly, effectively and accurately communicate is crucial. To train stakeholders and entire communities to make the best possible decisions for their well-being during a crisis or emergency, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) developed Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) in 2002.
CERC draws from lessons learned by public health officials, psychologists and emergency risk managers. The CDC’s CERC program provides training sessions, tools and resources to help health communicators, emergency responders and leaders of organizations communicate effectively during emergencies.
Over the years, tens of thousands of healthcare, emergency management, and government professionals and civilians have been trained in CERC throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and many other locations. Crisis communication training is important because, in an emergency, every action counts. The job of public health and emergency communicators is to offer necessary information while keeping a lid on harmful behaviors that are common during emergencies–such as overreaction or panic.
Available online and in person through the CDC, the training covers six phases of effective crisis and risk communication:
Crises are time-sensitive. Communicating information quickly is almost
always important. For members of the public, the best source of information often becomes the preferred source.
Accuracy establishes credibility. Information can include what is known, what is not known, and what is being done to fill in the gaps.
Honesty and truthfulness should not become compromised during crises.
Crises create harm, and any suffering should be acknowledged through sincere sentiments. Addressing what people are feeling, and the challenges they face, builds trust and rapport.
Giving people meaningful things to do calms anxiety, helps restore order, and promotes a restored sense of control.
Respectful communication is particularly important when people feel vulnerable. Respectful communication promotes cooperation and connection.
Increasing Need for Expert Communication
As the sheer number of available avenues for communication increases, so has the associated ability to adeptly manage emergency information. When you manage disaster communication, you may need to include such networks as the following, based on your audience: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, mobile apps, text messaging, SAT phones, landlines, two-way radio, Citizens Band (CB Radio), Amateur Radio (HAM), police scanners and word-of-mouth. So, make sure you feel confident before you disseminate communication about any emergency.
About Our Training System
Another way to make sure you are ready to handle disasters of any kind is through the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services Training, which helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility.
View the Disaster Planning and Your Security Team webinar for more info and resources.