Presentation on theme: "Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication Barbara Reynolds, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
1 Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication Barbara Reynolds, Ph.D.
2 Communicating in a crisis is different In a serious crisis, all affected people . . .Take in information differentlyProcess information differentlyAct on information differentlyIn a catastrophic event: communication is differentBe first, be right, be credible
3 The Risk of Disasters Is Increasing Increased terrorismPopulation densityAging U.S. populationInternational travel speedEmerging diseases
4 What the public seeks from your communication 5 public concerns. . .Gain wanted factsEmpower decisionmakingInvolved as a participant, not spectatorProvide watchguard over resource allocationRecover or preserve well-being and normalcy
5 Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication impacts 5 organizational concerns -- you need to. . .Execute response and recovery effortsDecrease illness, injury, and deathsAvoid misallocation of limited resourcesReduce rumors surrounding recoveryAvoid wasting resources
6 Crisis Communication Lifecycle PrecrisisPrepareFoster alliancesDevelop consensus recommendationsTest messageEvaluate plansInitialExpress empathyProvide simple risk explanationsEstablish credibilityRecommend actionsCommit to stakeholdersMaintenanceFurther explain risk by population groupsProvide more backgroundGain support for responseEmpower risk/benefit decisionmakingCapture feedback for analysisResolutionEducate a primed public for future crisesExamine problemsGain support for policy and resourcesPromote your organization’s roleEvaluationCapture lessons learnedDevelop an event SWOTImprove planReturn to precrisis planning
8 Initial Phase Express empathy Provide simple risk explanations Establish credibilityRecommend actionsCommit to stakeholders
9 Maintenance Further explain risk by population groups Provide more backgroundGain support for responseEmpower risk/benefit decisionmakingCapture feedback for analysis
10 Resolution Educate “primed” public for future crises Examine problems Gain support for policy and resourcesPromote your organization’s role
11 Evaluation Capture lessons learned Develop an event SWOT Improve plan Return to precrisis planning
12 5 communication failures that kill operational success Mixed messages from multiple expertsInformation released latePaternalistic attitudesNot countering rumors and myths in real-timePublic power struggles and confusion
13 5 communication steps that boost operational success Execute a solid communication planBe the first source for informationExpress empathy earlyShow competence and expertiseRemain honest and open
15 What Do People Feel Inside When a Disaster Looms or Occurs? Psychological barriers:DenialFear, anxiety, confusion, dreadHopelessness or helplessnessSeldom panicVicarious rehearsalNote to Instructor(s):This is a short four slide section on the learning objectives and purpose of the course.Run this slide and the next for 5 and 25 seconds respectively.
16 What Is Vicarious Rehearsal? The communication age gives national audiences the experience of local crises.These “armchair victims” mentally rehearse recommended courses of actions.Recommendations are easier to reject the farther removed the audience is from real threat.Note to Instructor(s):This is a short four slide section on the learning objectives and purpose of the course.Run this slide and the next for 5 and 25 seconds respectively.
17 Individuals at risk—the cost? Demands for unneeded treatmentDependence on special relationships (bribery)MUPS—Multiple Unexplained Physical SymptomsSelf-destructive behaviorsStigmatizationNegative ActionsMisallocation of TreatmentNeedless DestructionAccusation of Preferential TreatmentUnreasonable Travel/Trade RestrictionsFraudStealing/Looting (Group Behavior)Rumor SpreadingDoomsayingBribery for Scarce ResourcesSelf Destructive BehaviorMUPS
18 Community at risk—the cost? Disorganized group behavior (unreasonable demands, stealing)Rumors, hoaxes, fraud, stigmatizationTrade/industry liabilities/lossesDiplomacyCivil actions
19 Communicating in a Crisis Is Different Public must feel empowered – reduce fear and victimizationMental preparation reduces anxietyTaking action reduces anxietyUncertainty must be addressed
20 Decisionmaking in a Crisis Is Different People simplifyCling to current beliefsWe remember what we see or previously experience (first messages carry more weight)People limit intake of new information (3-7 bits)
21 How Do We Communicate About Risk in an Emergency? All risks are not accepted equallyVoluntary vs. involuntaryControlled personally vs. controlled by othersFamiliar vs. exoticNatural vs. manmadeReversible vs. permanentStatistical vs. anecdotalFairly vs. unfairly distributedAffecting adults vs. affecting children
22 Be Careful With Risk Comparisons Are they similarly accepted based onhigh/low hazard (scientific/technical measure)high/low outrage (emotional measure)A. High hazardB. High outrageC. Low hazardD. Low outragePandemic influenza—high hazard, low outrageBioterrorism attack with plague—high hazard, high outragePertussis outbreak in elementary school—low hazard, low outrageHepatitis A outbreak among children who consumed USDA school lunch program frozen strawberries illegally imported to the U.S.—low hazard, high outrage.
23 Risk Acceptance Examples Dying by falling coconut or dying by sharkNatural vs. manmadeFairly vs. unfairly distributedFamiliar vs. exoticControlled by self vs. outside control of self
24 Risk Communication Principles for Emergencies Don’t overreassureConsidered controversial by some.A high estimate of harm modified downward is much more acceptable to the public than a low estimate of harm modified upward.
25 Risk Communication Principles for Emergencies When the news is good, state continued concern before stating reassuring updates“Although we’re not out of the woods yet, we have seen a declining number of cases each day this week.”“Although the fires could still be a threat, we have them 85% contained.”
26 Risk Communication Principles for Emergencies Under promise and over deliver . . .Instead of making promises about outcomes, express the uncertainty of the situation and a confident belief in the “process” to fix the problem and address public safety concerns.
27 Risk Communication Principles for Emergencies Give people things to do - Anxiety is reduced by action and a restored sense of controlSymbolic behaviorsPreparatory behaviorsContingent “if, then” behaviors3-part action planMust do XShould do YCan do Z
28 Risk Communication Principles for Emergencies Allow people the right to feel fearDon’t pretend they’re not afraid, and don’t tell them they shouldn’t be.Acknowledge the fear, and give contextual information.
33 Match Audiences and Concerns Victims and their familiesPoliticiansFirst respondersTrade and industryCommunity far outside disasterMediaConcernsOpportunity to express concernPersonal safetyResources for responseLoss of revenue/liabilitySpeed of information flowAnticipatory guidanceFamily’s safety
34 5 Key Elements To Build Trust Expressed empathyCompetenceHonestyCommitmentAccountability
35 Emergency Information Any information is empoweringBenefit from substantive action stepsPlain EnglishIllustrations and colorSource identification
36 What does the public want to know? Can you tell me more about the attack“What caused it, why, what is the reason behind it?”“Will there be more attacks?”How long is the emergency“How long is the event going to last?”“How long is this ‘radiation’ going to last?”
37 Accuracy of Information __________Speed of ReleaseCREDIBILITYSuccessful Communication=+Empathy+OpennessTRUST
38 Initial Message Must Be short Be relevant Give positive action steps Be repeated
39 Initial Message Must Not Use jargon Be judgmental Make promises that can’t be keptInclude humor
40 Sources of Social Pressure What will I gain?What will it cost me?What do those important to me want me to do?Can I actually carry it out?
41 The STARCC Principle Simple Timely Accurate Relevant Credible Your public messages in a crisis must be:SimpleTimelyAccurateRelevantCredibleConsistent
43 Elements of a Complete Crisis Communication Plan Signed endorsement from directorDesignated staff responsibilitiesInformation verification and clearance/release proceduresAgreements on information release authoritiesMedia contact listProcedures to coordinate with public health organization response teamsDesignated spokespersonsEmergency response team after-hours contact numbersEmergency response information partner contact numbersPartner agreements (like joining the local EOC’s JIC)Procedures/plans on how to get resources you’ll needPre-identified vehicles of information disseminationNote to Instructor(s):Time:
44 Nine Steps of Crisis Response Organize assignmentsConduct assessment (activate crisis plan)Prepare information and obtain approvals34Conduct notification5Release information to media, public, partners through arranged channels26Crisis OccursVerify situation1Obtain feedback and conduct crisis evaluation78Conduct public education9Monitor events
45 Prepare Information and Obtain Approvals Execute steps in communication planPublic information release for your agency:Top officialTop communicatorTop subject matter expertLook once, check twice, release it and move onDelegate what you can, prioritize what you can’t
46 First 48 Hours - Tools Critical first steps checklist Message template for news releasePress availability at site templatePublic call tracking sheetMedia call triage sheetRisk assessment for communication
48 Stakeholder/Partner Communication Stakeholders have a special connection to you and your involvement in the emergency.They are interested in how the incident will impact them.Partners have a working relationship to you and collaborate in an official capacity on the emergency issue or other issues.They are interested in fulfilling their role in the incident and staying informed.
49 5 Mistakes With Stakeholders Inadequate accessLack of clarityNo energy for responseToo little, too latePerception of arrogance
50 Stakeholders can be . . . Advocate–maintain loyalty Adversary–discourage negative actionAmbivalent–keep neutral or move to advocate
51 3 Reasons to expend energy on stakeholders during an emergency They may . . .Know what you need to knowHave points of view outside your organization’sCommunicate your message for you
52 5 steps in stakeholder preplanning Identify stakeholdersDo an assessmentQuery stakeholdersPrioritize by relationship to incidentDetermine level of “touch”
53 Community Relations! Why? Community acceptance through community involvementResource multiplier for volunteer “door to door” communicationInvolving stakeholders is a way to advance trust through transparencyOur communities, our social capital, are a critical element of our nation's security
54 Dealing With Angry People Anger arises when people. . .Have been hurtFeel threatened by risks out of their controlAre not respectedHave their fundamental beliefs challengedSometimes, anger arises when . . .Media arriveDamages may be in play
55 High-Outrage Public Meetings “Do’s”The best way to deal with criticism and outrage by an audience is to acknowledge that it exists. (Don’t say, “I know how you feel.”)Practice active listening and try to avoid interrupting.State the problem and then the recommendation.
56 High-Outrage Public Meetings “Don’ts”Verbal abuse! Don’t blow your stack.Try to bring along a neutral third party who can step in and diffuse the situation.Don’t look for one answer that fits all.Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
57 Don’t lecture at the Townhall Easy but not effectiveDoesn’t change thoughts/behaviorsInstead, ask questionsKey: don’t give a solution, rather help audience discover solution
58 4 Questions to help people persuade themselves Start with broad open-ended historical questionsAsk questions about wants and needsAsk about specifics being faced nowAsk in a way to encourage a statement of benefits
59 2 simple tips to gain acceptance Accumulate “yeses”Don’t say “yes, but”—say “yes, and”
60 Six Principles of CERCBe First: If the information is yours to provide by organizational authority—do so as soon as possible. If you can’t—then explain how you are working to get it.Be Right: Give facts in increments. Tell people what you know when you know it, tell them what you don’t know, and tell them if you will know relevant information later.Be Credible: Tell the truth. Do not withhold to avoid embarrassment or the possible “panic” that seldom happens. Uncertainty is worse than not knowing—rumors are more damaging than hard truths.
61 Six Principles of CERCExpress Empathy: Acknowledge in words what people are feeling—it builds trust.Promote Action: Give people things to do. It calms anxiety and helps restore order.Show Respect: Treat people the way you want to be treated—the way you want your loved ones treated—always—even when hard decisions must be communicated.
62 Terrorism and Bioterrorism Communication Challenges
63 What’s Different in a Terrorism Response? Stronger reaction from the publicMultiple events occurIncident location is a crime sceneDetection is delayedResponders are at higher riskResponse assets are targets
64 Terrorism and Risk Communication Outside control of individual or communityUnfairly distributedFrom untrusted sourceMan-madeExoticCatastrophic
65 Federal Response PlanFBI leads on information release in crisis managementFEMA leads on information release in consequence managementTransfer lead from the FBI to FEMA by Attorney GeneralCore federal response:DOJ/FBI DOE FEMADOD EPA HHS
66 Joint Information Center FBI public information officer and staffFEMA public information officer and staffOther federal agencies’ PI staffState and local PIOs
67 Bioterrorism Is Different Medical and public health systems are usually the first to detect bioterrorism.A delay is likely between the release of the agent and the knowledge that the occurrence is a bioterrorist act.A short window of opportunity exists between the first cases and the second wave.
68 Natural Emerging Infectious Disease or Bioterrorism? EncephalitisHemorrhagic mediastinitisHemorrhagic feverPneumonia with abnormal liver functionPapulopustular rash (e.g., smallpox)Descending paralysisNausea, vomiting, diarrhea
69 Media Are Sure To Ask: Is this bioterrorism? Could this be bioterrorism?Are you investigating this situation as possible bioterrorism?Is the FBI involved in this investigation?When will you be able to tell us whether or not this situation is bioterrorism?
70 Is It an Emerging Disease or Undeclared Bioterrorism? A possible response to media from public health officials is:“We’re all understandably concerned about the uncertainty surrounding this outbreak, and we wish we could easily answer that question today.”(continued on next slide)
71 Is It an Emerging Disease or Undeclared Bioterrorism? “For the sake of those who are ill or may become ill, our medical epidemiologists (professional disease detectives) are going to first try to answer the following critical questions: (1) Who is becoming ill? (2) What organism is causing the illness? (3) How should it be treated? (4) How can it be controlled to stop the spread?”(continued on next slide)
72 Is It an Emerging Disease or Undeclared Bioterrorism? “One question that disease investigators routinely ask is, “Could this outbreak have been caused intentionally?”“We [organization name] must keep an open mind as data in this investigation are collected and analyzed.”(continued on next slide)
73 Is It an Emerging Disease or Undeclared Bioterrorism? “Any specific questions about the FBI’s involvement regarding this outbreak investigation should be referred to them. However, the FBI and [your organization] have a strong partnership regarding the investigation of unusual disease outbreaks and have worked comfortably together in the past in our parallel investigations.”(Note: Don’t forget to coordinate this answer with the FBI.)
74 Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) 12-hour Push Pack – 100 cargo containersAir or ground ship50 tons of medicine, medical supplies, equipmentNerve agents, anthrax, plague, tularemiaTreat thousands of symptomatic and protect hundreds of thousands
75 Tale of Two Cities: Smallpox Milwaukee, Wisconsin, experienced a Smallpox outbreak in 1894 of fairly major proportions, and caused urban rioting for about a month in the city streets—why?New York City experienced the last Smallpox outbreak in this country in People stayed in line for hours, full days, and came back the next day in some cases with no unrest—why?Judith W. Leavitt, PhD, University of Wisconsin
76 SNS Communication Plan Multi-language textMethods for reproducing materialsCommunication channelsVolunteersContractorsOn-site interpretersNot all SNS events the sameSNS communication assessment checklist
78 Disasters Are Media Events We need the media to be there.Give important protective actions for the public.Know how to reach their audiences and what their audiences need.
79 Response Officials Should Understand that their job is not the media’s jobKnow that they can’t dismiss media when they’re inconvenientAccept that the media will be involved in the response, and plan accordingly
80 Response Officials Should Attempt to provide all media equal accessUse technology to fairly distribute informationPlan to precredential media for access to EOC/JOC or JICThink consistent messages
81 Response Officials Should Not Hold grudgesDiscount local mediaTell the media what to do
82 How To Work With Reporters Reporters want a front seat to the action and all information NOW.Preparation will save relationships.If you don’t have the facts, tell them the process.Reality Check: 70,000 media outlets in U.S. Media cover the news 24/7.
83 Media, Too, Are Affected by Crises VerificationAdversarial roleNational dominanceLack of scientific expertise
84 Media and Crisis Coverage Evidence strongly suggests that coverage is more factual when reporters have more information. They become more interpretative when they have less information.What should we conclude?
85 Command PostMedia will expect a command post. Official channels that work well will discourage reliance on nonofficial channels.Be media-friendly at the command post—prepare for them to be on site.
86 Media Beating on Your Door Alternatives to “no comment” that give you breathing room:“We’ve just learned about this and are trying to get more information.”“I’m not the authority on this, let me have XXXX call you right back.”“We’re preparing a statement on that now. Can I fax it to you in about 2 hours?”
87 Media Availability or Press Conferences “In Person” Tips Determine in advance who will answer questions about specific subject mattersKeep answers short and focused—nothing longer than 2 minutesAssume that every mike is “alive” the entire timeSitting or standing?
88 Two press conference killers Have “hangers on” from your organization circling the roomBeing visible to the media/public while waiting to begin the press conference
89 Television Interview Tips Don’t look at yourself on the TV monitor.Look at the reporter, not the camera, unless directed otherwise.Do an earphone check. Ask what to do if it pops out of your ear.
90 Writing for the Media During a Crisis The pressure will be tremendous from all quarters.It must be fast and accurate.It’s like cooking a turkey when people are starving.If information isn’t finalized, explain the process.
91 Emergency Press Releases One page with attached factsheet (can clear quicker)Think of them as press updates, and prime media when to expect themShould answer 5Ws and H for the time it covers
92 Press Statements Are Not Press Releases They are the official position.May be used to counter a contrary view.Not used for peer-review debate.Offer encouragement to the public and responders.
94 What the Public Will Ask First Are my family and I safe?What have you found that may affect me?What can I do to protect myself and my family?Who caused this?Can you fix it?
95 What the Media Will Ask First What happened?Who is in charge?Has this been contained?Are victims being helped?What can we expect?What should we do?Why did this happen?Did you have forewarning?
96 Spokesperson Qualities What makes a good spokesperson?What doesn’t make a good spokesperson?
97 Role of a Spokesperson in an Emergency Take your organization from an “it” to a “we”Build trust and credibility for the organizationRemove the psychological barriers within the audienceUltimately, reduce the incidence of illness, injury, and death by getting it right
98 Spokesperson Qualities Be your organization; then be yourself.What’s your organization’s identity?
99 Spokesperson Qualities It’s more than “acting natural.” Every organization has an identity. Try to embody that identity.Example: CDC has a history of going into harm’s way to help people. We humbly go where we are asked. We value our partners and won’t steal the show. Therefore, a spokesperson would express a desire to help, show courage, and express the value of partners. “Committed but not showy.”
100 Emergency Risk Communication Principles Don’t overreassureAcknowledge that there is a process in placeExpress wishesGive people things to doAsk more of people
101 Emergency Risk Communication Principles Consider the “what if” questions.
102 Spokesperson Recommendations Stay within the scope of your responsibilityTell the truthFollow up on issuesExpect criticism
103 Your Interview Rights Know who will do the interview Know and limit the interview to agreed subjectsSet limits on time and formatAsk who else will be or has been interviewedDecline to be interviewedDecline to answer a question
104 You Do Not Have the Right To: Embarrass or argue with a reporterDemand that your remarks not be editedDemand the opportunity to edit the pieceInsist that an adversary not be interviewedLieDemand that an answer you’ve given not be usedState what you are about to say is “off the record” or not attributable to you
105 Sensational or Unrelated Questions “Bridges” back to what you want to say:“What I think you are really asking is . . .”“The overall issue is . . .”“What’s important to remember is . . .”“It’s our policy to not discuss [topic], but what I can tell you . . .”
106 Watch Out ForMachine gun questioning. Reporter fires rapid questions at you. You respond, “Please let me answer this question.”Feeding the mike and the pause. Seldom will dead air make scintillating viewing, unless you’re reacting nonverbally. Relax.Hot mike. It’s always on—always—including during “testing.”
107 Watch Out ForReporter asks a sensational question and gives you an A or B dilemma. Use positive words, correct the inaccuracies without repeating the negative, and reject A or B if neither is valid. (e.g., corn versus produce)Explain, “There’s actually another alternative you may not have considered,” and give your message point.
108 Watch Out ForSurprise prop. The reporter attempts to hand you a report or supposedly contaminated item.If you take it, you own it.React by saying, “I’m familiar with that report and what I can say is” or “I’m not familiar with the report, but what is important” and then go to key message.
109 Effective Nonverbal Communication Do maintain eye contactDo maintain an open postureDo not retreat behind physical barriers such as podiums or tablesDo not frown or show anger or disbelief through facial expressionDo not dress in a way that emphasizes the differences between you and your audience
110 Grief in context Circumstances of the death Nature of the relationship Experienced loss beforeAny secondary losses
111 Communicating about loss Ask clarifying questionsWhen possible, use the words the person usesSay “you’re crying” instead of “you’re sad.”Short statements of condolences (e.g., “this is a sad time,” or “you’re in my prayers”)Use “death” or “dying,” not softer euphemisms like “expired,” or “heavenly reward”
113 Model Emergency Health Powers Act Model public health law for statesProtection of civil liberties balanced with need to stop transmission of diseaseExplain what law covers and whyLaws address: quarantine, vaccination, property issues, access to medical recordsModel law draft – court order to quarantine someone, unless delay could pose an immediate threat
114 Protecting the Public from Infectious Diseases Detention – temporary holdIsolation – separation from others for period of communicabilityQuarantine – restricts activities of well persons exposed
115 First Amendment“In the First Amendment the founding fathers gave the free press protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”New York Times Co. v U.S., 403 U.S. 713 (1971)
116 Media’s right to acquire news Press has right to acquire news from any source by any lawful meansNo Constitutional right to special accessInformation not available to the public:Crime sceneDisastersPolice stationHospital labOther places
117 Access may be restricted Interference with legitimate law enforcement actionLaw enforcement perimeterCrime sceneDisaster scene
118 Right to acquire information Available or open to the publicPlace or process historically open to the public:Hospitals?Jails?Courtrooms?Meeting/conference rooms?
119 Media’s right of publication Once information is acquiredAbility to restrict information;Severely limitedHeavy burden to prevent or prohibitMinneapolis Star Tribune v. U.S., 713 F Supp (S. Minn, 1988)
120 Assisting the mediaInviting media on search or arrest in private citizen’s home is not protected by 1st Amendment and may result in civil liabilityViolation of 4th Amendment Rights
121 Employees access to media Freedom of speech may be Constitutionally protected: if public value outweighs detrimental impactMay be required to follow chain of commandAbility to choose spokesperson:Police officer has no 1st Amendment right to speak or act on behalf of department when not authorized to do so.Koch v. City of Portland, 766 P.2d 405 (Ore. App. 1988)
122 CDC’s principles of communication for public Communication will be open, honest, and based on sound science, conveying accurate informationInformation will not be withheld solely to protect CDC or the government from criticism or embarrassmentInformation will be released consistent with the Freedom of Information Act
123 Freedom of Information Act FOIA does not apply to state and local governments (most jurisdictions have a FOIA-like laws)Principle of democracy is that citizens be informed about their government.FOIA ensures that the federal government provides public maximum possible information
124 Federal Privacy Act of 1974 Federal employees matter of public record: Name and titleGrade and annual salary ratePosition descriptionLocation of duty, room and phone numberName in case of accident after NOK notifiedCurrent city/state residenceHospitalization/confinement
125 Federal Privacy Act of 1974 Most circumstances, may not release: Age, date of birthMarital status and dependentsStreet address or phone numberRace, sexLegal proceedingsNormally protects: medical records, pay records
127 Take off the superhero cape Responders potential secondary victimsResponders risk stretching beyond limitsExhaustion, frustration, anger, guilt are expectedAfter more than 24 hours without sleep, perform as if you are legally drunk
128 Personal Coping Recognize emotions will be high Eat nutritious food Take mental breaksAvoid lots of caffeine or alcoholLeave when your shift is overExercise
129 Supervisor’s 7 Supports Remind workers of value of their effortInsist they take meal breaksMake nutritious food and drink availableRespond to timid requests for reliefEncourage exerciseAccept non-offensive “silliness”Insist workers take time to sleep
130 Executing the Crisis Communication Plan Apply risk assessment toolsDon’t want uninformed fresh crew—stagger hoursRelief for leadership tooWork 12 hour days, never more than 16Require a day off after 10 days