Crisis ManagementA Leadership ChallengeRick J. Kaufman, APRExecutive Director of Community RelationsBloomington (MN) Public SchoolsJuly 5, 2008 v NSPRA Annual Seminar Pre-SessionReproduction of materials is permitted for training purposes provided credit is given to the author.
About the presenterSchool Public/Community Relations - 18 years of experience with school districts in three states, and state department of education Crisis Response Team Leader - Columbine High School Tragedy, April 20, 1999 - FEMA, National Response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Crisis Management Consultant - U.S. Bureau of Prisons (Timothy McVeigh Execution) - New York City Schools/NY Education Commission (9/11) - FBI (National Conference on School Violent Offenders) - WI Health and Hospital Association - Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
About the presenterPast President - National School Public Relations Association - Wisconsin School Public Relations Association Trainer/Lecturer/Author - Midwest Summit on Violence in the Workplace/Schools - Wisconsin Bioterrorism Summit - National Transportation Public Affairs Seminar - Council of Future Leaders - School PR: Building Confidence in Education - Complete Crisis Communication Management Manual
Our work together includes:Essential Elements of Crisis ManagementCrisis Management RealitiesICS and Command Center StructuresCrisis CommunicationThe NEW Communication ChannelsPatterns of Media Response & Media RelationsCommon Crisis MistakesCrisis Table Top ScenariosMock Press ConferencesQ & A
What is a Crisis? an emotionally charged significant event or radical change an unstable or crucial time of affairs in which a decisive change is impending a situation with the distinct possibility of a highly desirable outcome a situation that has reached a critical phase
What is a Crisis? student or staff suicide student walkout or protest assault - of a student, staff or volunteer child abuse sexual harassment criminal activity health emergency (AIDS, etc.)
What is a Crisis? fire or explosion school bus accident bomb threat natural disaster (flood, tornado, etc.) VIP visit power outage more? (Hint: dozens more!)
Is it an incident or a CRISIS?
Are you ready?In a crisis situation, you will react as you are organized and trained.
Knowing what to do can be the difference between chaos and calm, or even life and death.
Crisis Management RealitiesPrompt action reduces collateral damagePrompt action reduces length of crisis & moves situation to quicker resolutionFocus on response, not sources of threatNot possible to detail every conceivable crisisImportant decisions made before crisis ever occurs (structure, process, leadership)
Crisis Management RealitiesDecisions based on site, location & unique set of circumstances that occur during a crisisCardiac assessment, intuition plays key rolesTend to victims needs immediately, compassionately and completelyBe prepared bad stuff happensContinuous process requiring annual review
Crisis Management RealitiesIn the first hour of a crisis:Denial: This could not have happened.Anger: How could this have happened? How could somebody do that?PanicAnxiety
Elements of Crisis ManagementPolicy and LeadershipProvides foundation, framework for actionEmergency/Crisis Management PlanProvides structure, mechanisms for operational responseSchool Crisis Response PlanBuilding plan operates within framework of district-level planProvides roles, responsibilities for staffCoordinated response to more frequently occurring incidents
Elements of Crisis ManagementCrisis Response TeamSchool, district response personnelCommunicationFoundation of any crisis planning, implementation, management and recovery effortTrainingPreparation and knowing what to do is crucialMaintains preparedness
Plans must include responses to:School-based scenariosthreat, accidental death, lockdown, etc.District-wide scenariosnatural disaster, business interruption, etc.New or emerging scenariospandemics, terrorist attack, etc.
Emergency planning shouldEnsure student, staff safetyEstablish a pre-determined plan of action (focus on response vs sources of crisis)Identify trained emergency responders (can they be counted on to act, not freeze up?)Minimize damage, loss of facility useProvide on-going support for students, staff and parents
Emergency planning shouldIncorporate best thinking, practices of all responding agencies (form partnerships now, dont wait for crisis to occur)Return to normalOutline steps to practice, rehearse for a crisis (creates cultural conditions that practice is important, demonstrates teamwork needed during the crisis)Include students in planning, trainingWhat else? (consider your unique circumstances)
Emergency plan must address Prevention & Intervention (mitigation) - steps to reduce or eliminate risk to life and propertyPreparedness - process of planning a rapid, coordinated and effective responseResponse - action steps to take during a crisisRecovery - restoring the teaching and learning environment after a crisis; must include mental health recovery
Emergency plan must address The Golden Hour - take the lead; delay equals denialWaves of Response - police/medical - media - parents - looky-loos & gawkers; super-heroes; cottage industry typesFirst 24 hoursDuration of crisisRebuilding/Recovery
The Key QuestionsWhat can or will we be able to handle?Which roles can be delegated to volunteers?Where will we get help?Who will do what?Other questions?
Crisis Management InfrastructureIncident CommandCommunication or Crisis Command CenterRoles and Responsibilities - whos organizing who (parents, media, etc.)? - who is/are spokesperson(s)? - volunteers (you cant do it alone)?Equipment and FoodMedia Area
Incident Command SystemEstablishes common organizational structure, operating proceduresPlaces one person in charge of decision-making; creates chain of commandProvides for quick, effective performanceEstablishes a reasonable span of controlProvides for effective coordination, transition of responsibility/authority w/ crisis responders
Incident Command System
Communication is the foundation of any crisis planning, implementation, management, and recovery effort.
The best time to let students, staff and families know what to do in an emergency is before it happens.
Communication Command Center
Crisis Communication StructureCrisis Communication Team Leader/DirectorSpokesperson(s)Communications Command Center CoordinatorInternal/External Communications Officer(s)Media ManagerResearch & Media MonitoringWebmaster (web page technician)Crisis & Special Events LiaisonVolunteers
Volunteers & DonationsWhat roles can be delegated to volunteers?Establish volunteer schedule (determine where, when volunteers are needed)Welcome volunteers each day; provide brief orientation (i.e. basic information, equipment usage, key persons & numbers)Provide name tags, security cardVolunteers keep record of all callsPrepare list of what, how to donate (callers want ideas, addresses; make this part of daily Fact Sheet)Screen, record & organize contributions
Crisis Communication FocusEstablish command center, functionsCommunicate internally first, then publicAnticipate and meet needs of mediaEnsure key messages are understandable, honest & consistentManage perception of competence and realityCorrect inaccurate, misleading information fastStay in contact with victims families
Information GatheringPlan to collect, verify informationInaccurate information creates new crisis, puts organization on defensive and wastes timeCentral location means better managementMust come quickly (field or site assessment)Plan for Murphys LawDebrief daily/nightly
Communicating in a CrisisTarget Key AudiencesSchool, District or University LeadershipCrisis Response AgenciesStaff/Faculty (site of crisis first, then others)Opinion Leaders (community, business, faith, government, alumni, key financial supporters)Parents, Students (age appropriate), CommunityLegal counsel
Communicating in a CrisisWhat do I say?The TRUTHDont share what you dont know to be trueDont speculateDont hide behind factual informationNot talking about a crisis wont take back what happened; and is unnaturalRely on the communication experts at all times!
Communicating in a CrisisSpeed of communicationFirst impressions are lasting impressionsFactual content of the messageGet it right, repeat it, share with othersTrust and credibilityCrucial to sustain support during, after crisisElements: empathy & caring; competence & expertise; honesty & openness; commitment & dedication
The NEW CommunicationEmail broadcastsText or Voice MessagingWebsitesRapid Alert Notification SystemsHotlines/Emergency Voice Bulletin BoardsSocial Media Networksblogs, & IMsmyspace, facebook, etc.
Communicating in a CrisisLeadership and StaffStaff may go public; to defend their reputationMedia will put a full court press on those in the know both students, staffDevelop process to support sitesCounsel early (consider policy now)Need grows the longer crisis is prominentNurture staff
Communicating in a CrisisLeadership and StaffPrepare fact sheets, voice & email messagesUpdate web site regularlyUtilize staff, parent phone trees as necessaryMake decisions on cancellations (communicate these to students, staff, parents and media)
Communicating in a CrisisParentsNeed help working w/ t