Emergency Planning and Communication

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EMERGENCY PLANNING AND COMMUNICATIONS In a crisis or disaster, what is the best way to disseminate or communicate information within an organization? The best way to disseminate or communicate essential information throughout an organization during a crisis or disaster is to thoroughly pre-plan for the possibility (Larsen, 2007; Ortmeier, 2008). Effective pre-planning of emergency communications starts with designation of emergency contacts, such as according to a cascading communications pyramid in which all staff members are arranged into a pyramid-like shape. In one variation of the pyramid, the communications officer is responsible for contacting all staff members in descending order; in another variation of the pyramid, individuals higher up are responsible for contacting specific individuals below them (Larsen, 2007; Ortmeier, 2008). The advantage of the first variation is that the communications officer is a specialist; the advantage of the second variation is that it is less vulnerable to collapse in the event that the communications officer at the top is unable to communicate. A third variation incorporates both concerns by establishing multiple communications officers or deputy communications officers at the top with redundant responsibility to contact the same individuals below them (Ortmeier, 2008). In principle, redundancy of communication assurance is essential as well (Larsen, 2007; Ortmeier, 2008). That means that there are primary and secondary
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