Presentation on theme: "A Perfect Storm Emily Palmer Texas Department of State Health Services Crisis Communications Conference May 3, 2007 There is no such thing as..."— Presentation transcript:
A Perfect Storm Emily Palmer Texas Department of State Health Services Crisis Communications Conference May 3, 2007 There is no such thing as...
Emergency Management Texas Department of State Health Services Lead agency by state law for Emergency Support Function 8 Health and Medical Lead agency for radiation control Lead agency for disaster mental health Member of the Governors Emergency Management Council with a seat in the State Operations Center
For Texas: A series of major events Full-Scale Strategic National Stockpile exercise: Early August 2005 Hurricane Katrina: Late August 2005 Hurricane Rita: September 2005
Katrina: Mass Shelter Texas received a total of 245,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina 180 shelters in 42 Texas counties set up for 66,000 evacuees Houston hosted up to 11,500 evacuees in a complex that got its own ZIP code
Katrina Evacuees Went To More Than 200 Texas Counties
Information needed to be provided for evacuees and for those who provided help
At Home with Rita Evacuation – 3.2 million people moved inland Shelter – 115,000 people in 468 shelters from El Paso to San Antonio Flood and wind destruction – 17 counties hit Special needs – physical and mental health Reunification – finding families Repatriation – getting people back home
Communications That Worked Maintaining constant presence in the Emergency Support Center – 24/7 Establishing hurricane-specific Web site Participating in conference calls Staying for shift change reports Reading the Web EOC reports Maintaining the DSHS PIO e-mail site
Communications That Need Work Maintaining media contact reports Monitoring media reports Methods of news dissemination Staying in touch with local PIOs Juggling ESC, SOC, JIC, JFO needs Going paperless Relieving stress
Looking to the Future After-Action Report and Stakeholder Conference ICS Training New Job Action Sheets Updated Plans Multi-Agency Coordination Center Statewide Hurricane Exercise Communications Meeting with Governors Office
Leadership Lessons Preparedness works Communication requires both front channel and back channel options Asking the right question is critical Improvisation is essential Leadership must be decisive – not averse to taking risks
You know you live on the coast when You have FEMAs number on your speed dialer. You can rattle off the names of three or more meteorologists with the Weather Channel. Ice is a valid topic of conversation. Having a tree in your living room does not necessarily mean it is Christmas. You can wish that other people get hit by a hurricane and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
Contact Information Emily Palmer, Assistant Press Officer Texas Department of State Health Services 1100 W. 49th St., M-631 Austin, TX 78756 512-458-7400 firstname.lastname@example.org