• Unit 2: Preparing for a Crisis

    Unit 2 will provide you with specific steps for preparing for a crisis. This unit begins with an overview that explores how you can use a SWOT analysis - looking at strengthens, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats - to assess how a company operates within its environment. As part of business strategic planning, this unit covers setting goals and objectives that can also be applied to crisis contingency planning. This includes learning the basics of preparing a written crisis communication plan that has been coordinated both internally and externally for a specific organization or company. The length of the plan depends on the type and size of the organization, but it should include information regarding the crisis management team - team members' names, titles, phone numbers, and responsibilities for helping execute the plan. Effective plans should also identify the spokesperson, have pre-developed key messages, and sample news releases. The plan should also document media training, other operational training, lessons learned, and best practices as appropriate. As an example of crisis communication planning, you will watch a lecture that provides a look into how the United States' Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded its crisis management team to include a monthly think tank that is open to the public for participation and comment. Additionally, you will learn about the various roles employees, leaders, and managers play in crisis management. Because each organization or company is unique in its size and has a specific mission, the roles should be modified appropriately. For example, a large government office may have multiple public affairs specialists providing information to a central public affairs officer who serves as the key spokesperson. Each of the subordinate public affairs specialists may be assigned to work internal, community relations or media relations areas as part of the overall crisis communication plan. Other management roles may involve coordinating information for news releases with other private and government agencies. In this unit, you will learn how a press conference should be conducted and how the 24/7 digital news environment affects the need for quick and accurate responses to news media inquiries. Depending on the type of crisis, it may require roles and responsibilities involving physical and personal security, personnel issues handled by human resources, legal counsel for liabilities, and medical liaisons coordinating information on injuries and deaths. All of these roles help management make responsible decisions that will help minimize damage and harm as well as will help in the assessment of when and how quickly the organization can resume normal daily business operations.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

    • 2.1: How to Prepare for a Crisis: Crisis Communication Plan

    • 2.2: What Is a Crisis Management Team (CMT)?

    • 2.3: Case Study: How Does FEMA's Think Tank Operate?

    • 2.4: Your Role in Crisis Management

    • 2.5: Dealing with News Media

    • Unit 2 Assessment