crisis communications guidelines and response plan

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  • Updated: - April 2011

    Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago



  • Updated: - April 2011 - 2 -


    Abbreviations Purpose 5 Policy 5 Crisis defined 5 Crisis Communication Guidelines and Response Plan 6 Objectives 6 Information Task Group 7 Objectives 7 Media Liaison 7 Public Information 7 Public enquiries 7 Visitor reception 8 Information Task Group priorities 8 Roles and responsibilities 9 Information Task Group Leader and Alternates 9 Information Co-ordinator 9 Webmaster 10 Receptionist/Administration 10 Information Task Group Operations 10 Enquiry Call Center 10 Information to the public 11 Ministry Media/Public Information Units 11 Spokesperson 11 Media Co-ordination 11 Media release 11 Accreditation of the media 11 Coordination of international media 11 Media access to affected area 12 NEOC staff notification 12 Developing key messages 12 Accessing information 13 Record keeping 13 Media/message evaluation 13 Communications updates 13 Role of the Media 13 Post crisis evaluations 13

  • Updated: - April 2011 - 3 -

    Appendices Standard Operating Procedure Tropical Storms/Hurricanes 14 Standard Operating Procedure Earthquake 24 Potential Crisis Scenarios 35 Terrorism/Bomb threat Protest Action Food Poisoning Bioterrorism Crisis Script for staff outside the ITG 45 Emergency SMS procedure 46 Appendix 1 ITG Personnel competencies 47 Appendix 2 ITG Center requirements 48 Appendix 3 Duty Roster 49 Appendix 4 Media Information needs 50 Appendix 5 Media Analysis Worksheet 52 Appendix 6 Media conference general guidelines and script 53 Appendix 7 Media enquiry log 54 Appendix 8 News Release Template 55 Appendix 9 Rumour Log 56 Appendix 10 Media advisory Template 57 Appendix 11 Speaker presentation Worksheet 58 Appendix 12 Field escort and communications checklist 59 Appendix 13 Media Pass 60 Appendix 14 Preparing for a Crisis 61 Appendix 15 Media Policies and Procedures 63 Appendix 16 Media Dos and Donts 65 Appendix 17 Post Crisis Review 68 Appendix 18 Senior Communication Personnel Contact listing 69 Appendix 19 Listing of GoRTT Ministers, PSs and DPSs 70 Appendix 20 Media Listing 74 Appendix 21 Major Cable and Telecommunications Providers 83 Appendix 22 Members of Parliament 84 Appendix 23 National Emergency Manual for use by Broadcasters 85

  • Updated: - April 2011 - 4 -

    Abbreviations CEO Chief Executive Officer CDERA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency DANA Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis EOC Emergency Operations Center FAQ Frequently asked questions GISL Government Information Services Limited GoRTT Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago IT Information Technology ITG Information Task Group MP Member of Parliament NEOC National Emergency Operations Center ODPM Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management TEMA Tobago Emergency Management Authority TTPBA Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association VIP Very Important Person

  • Updated: - April 2011 - 5 -

    1.PURPOSE The need for consistent, comprehensible, and actionable information about potential and actual disaster situations is vital to protecting public safety and welfare and to maintaining the stability of democratic institutions. Crisis communication is an integral part of the crisis management process. It forms a critical role in analysis, planning, control as well as evaluation and improvement. Understanding the impact of the crisis on all stakeholders will aid in the development of mechanisms to mitigate, prepare, respond and quickly recover. As such, all parties within the crisis management team must understand the importance and purpose of crisis communication and be guided by the crisis communication plan, policies and procedures. The timely preparation and release of public emergency information to the news media and public is the responsibility of the Information Task Group (ITG) working under the general direction of the Chief Executive Officer, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (CEO, ODPM)and/or, Director of the National Emergency Management Center (Director, NEOC). 2. POLICY It is the policy of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT) to respond quickly, in a clear, consistent and credible manner to all legitimate requests for information about any natural disaster or crisis affecting Trinidad and Tobago with full regard for individual privacy and legal responsibility. 3. CRISIS DEFINED A crisis may be defined as a time of danger or as any development of a large scale that requires immediate and coordinated action and which has the potential to jeopardize lives, property and reputation. Different types of crises call for different responses and as such, these will be driven by the following priorities: minimizing harm to people; minimising incident impact; protecting the reputation of the government of Trinidad and Tobago; re-establishing continuity and minimising liabilities; preventing recurrence. Types of crises:

    Sudden: An immediate, unforeseen crisis, with either a. Massive Lives at Risk/Lost, (examples: hurricane, large fire, earthquake, flood, riot,

    chemical spill,) or b. Individual Lives at Risk/Lost (examples: car accident, murder, small fire, meningitis

    outbreak) This type of crisis occurs unexpectedly and requires immediate action. If lives are at risk, the first action will be to move swiftly to save lives and prevent injury.

    Smouldering: An ongoing, festering crisis that begins small and grows larger as more information becomes known. This type of crisis can drag out and result in bad press for weeks, months or even years. These crises should be resolved as quickly as possible. Officials should try to anticipate future developments and mitigate them. (Examples: A corruption investigation, lawsuits)

    BizarreAn unusual, unexpected crisis that does not fit into the above categories. (Example: Terrorist attacks, )

    It is important to note that some crises may fit into more than one category.

  • Updated: - April 2011 - 6 -

    4. CRISIS COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES AND RESPONSE PLAN Although each crisis or emergency will require unique public information response, this crisis communication guideline and response plan provides policies and procedures for the coordination of internal and external communications in the event of a crisis. It is designed to ensure that everyone involved in the crisis management process is familiar with the mobilisation and escalation procedures, as well as his or her individual roles and responsibilities. Upon determination by the CEO, ODPM that an emergency or crisis exists, which necessitates a communications response, the Chief Executive Officer, Government Information Services Limited CEO, GISL), will be informed. He/she will then activate his/her team. Once the incident is classified as one that has the potential to threaten the reputation of the GoRTT and/or cause immense media and public scrutiny, this plan will be immediately activated by the ITG. The ITG will work with the media to provide clear, consistent and credible information and messages that enables them to do their jobs and simultaneously position the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) as a reliable resource. In all communications, the NEOC via the ITG spokesperson will create a positive opportunity for the public positioning of the GoRTT. 5. OBJECTIVES The objectives of the crisis communications plan are as follows:

    i. Assist the NEOC to effectively and nimbly manage crisis communications; ii. Ensure that the NEOC and all supporting agencies (Fire, Police, etc ) respond in a clear,

    consistent, credible, coordinated and professional manner that reinforces transparency; iii. Manage the distribution of all information and in particular critical, sensitive, information to the

    media and members of the public

    To achieve the objectives outlined, the following documents are useful resources in the execution of the Crisis Communications Plan and are attached as appendices to this document.

    1. Government of Trinidad and Tobago Crisis Communications Guidelines 2. Crisis Communications Checklist Overview 3. Standard Operating Procedure for Crisis Communications: Hurricane and Earthquakes 4. Potential Crisis Scenarios 5. Crisis Script for staff outside the ITG 6. Appendices

    1. ITG Personnel Competencies 2. ITG Centre Requirements 3. Duty Roster 4. Media Information Needs 5. Media Analysis Worksheet 6. Media Conference General Guidelines and script 7. Media Enquiry Log 8. News Release Template 9. Rumour Log 10. Media Advisory Template 11. Speaker Preparation Worksheet 12. Field escort and Communications Checklist 13. Media Pass 14. Preparing for a Crisis

  • Updated: - April 2011 - 7 -

    15. Media Policies and Procedures 16. Media Dos and Donts 17. Post Crisis Review 18. Communication Personnel contact listing 19. Listing of GoRTT Ministers and PS 20. Media Listing 21. National Emergency Manual for use by Broadcasters

    In the event of a national disaster such as hurricane, earthquake, terrorist attack that requires a response by Government, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) will be the lead agency in the coordination of emergency management and relief. The ITG will be res