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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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Foreword (H. Dan O’Hair)

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← vi | vii →

FOREWORD

H. DAN O’HAIR

University of Kentucky

Prolonged ice storms, tornadoes, pandemic flu, violence in schools, floods, draughts, high-impact transportation crashes, and wild fires, these are just a few of the poignant reminders that risks and crises are ever ready to impose their presence in our communities. Risks, crises, and disasters are locally situated—they occur in communities. While community members fully expect to be protected against threats, they find themselves more vulnerable today than ever before. Managing information about risks, crises, and disasters poses overwhelming challenges for individuals, for families, and for communities.

Amid many economic and political changes, homeland security strategists have the responsibility and opportunity to chart directions for preparedness and for responses that transcend political challenges and that elevate community safety to new levels. Many organizations stake claim to the onerous task of securing our communities and of promoting the health and well-being of our citizens. The multitude of state, county, municipal, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations deliver invaluable and irreplaceable resources in various forms, ranging from the tangible, such as financial support and volunteerism, to the less easily measured, such as a collaborative spirit and an unrelenting sense of optimism. Intersecting forces of federal and state policy, determined and unwavering support from a diverse set of stakeholders, and widely ← vii | viii → differing perspectives for solving problems present challenges that can only be solved from transparency, from collaboration, and from communication.

In Crisis...

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