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Handbook for the Crisis Communication Center

Bolanle A. Olaniran and Juliann C. Scholl

Crisis communication plays an important role in maintaining a community’s safety and security. While governments devote significant attention to national crises, anticipation and preparation specific to local communities is imperative and can assist media outlets, elected officials, and message designers in successfully reaching their intended target audiences. However, local leaders might not possess the communication skills and knowledge needed to prepare a local community for potential crises. Therefore, there is a need for communities to have support systems in place to help them respond and communicate appropriately.

This volume provides a comprehensive resource that provides the knowledge and guidelines that can be used for localized crisis preparation. Focusing on crisis preparedness/readiness, it discusses and extends the anticipatory model of crisis management (AMCM) in the establishment of crisis communication centers (CCCs) within local communities and municipalities across the U.S. The authors advocate for communities to create CCCs that would be comprised of municipal and community members who can fulfill specific functions on a team tasked with preparing for crisis, as well as responding to a crisis aftermath.

Directions for  future research such as the comparison of specific crisis prevention strategies across similar local communities, and developing new and innovative ways to collect and warehouse large amounts of crisis data, is provided.

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Chapter 8. Ethical Considerations in Anticipatory Crisis Management


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Chapter Highlights


In 1984, Bhopal, India, home to more than 900,000 people, experienced one of the world’s worst industrial calamities. Union Carbide, now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company, had a chemical plant located near the city. On December 3, 1984, the plant leaked toxic gas throughout the region, which was breathed by thousands of people living there. The specific cause of the ← 203 | 204 → leak was the escape of methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) from a valve in the plant’s underground storage tank that ruptured under compression. This crisis led to more than 23,000 deaths overall (BBC News, 2005), and about 50,000 victims needed medical treatment for facial swelling and breathing difficulties. To add to the human death toll, the city’s streets were strewn with the remains of dead dogs, cats, birds, and cows.

The plant was closed after the disaster first hit. The Indian government ordered investigations, which revealed that one of the tanks storing the lethal MIC had ruptured. Even though Union Carbide settled out of court for £470 million (over $664 million), the Indian government was not satisfied. Arguing that the settlement was too low, the government sought to extradite former boss Warren Anderson for “culpable homicide.” They accused Anderson of approving cost-cutting measures that resulted in compromised safety standards.

Predicting an ethics-related crisis event is not an exact science,...

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