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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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Introduction

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Overview of the Crisis Communication Center

Chapter Highlights

The 9/11 attacks, school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School (Newtown, Connecticut), and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting in 2012, along with the 2015 church shootings in South Carolina, reminded the American public and the rest of the world that we are at risk and that preparation for crises, disasters, and other inevitabilities is not an option but a necessity. Therefore, if preparation is the key to the continued safety of life (and property) as we know it, then steps must be taken to prevent similar attacks and disasters. Toward this end, the 9/11 attacks led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has since given us the color-coding risk level systems, or what the U.S. media fondly refer to as the “terror alert level,” that is, the dissemination of information regarding the ← xiii | xiv → risk of terrorist acts against federal, state, and local authorities and against the American people.

In spite of such a proactive approach to fighting terrorism abroad and increasing security on the home front, there still exists the fear of future attacks. Evidence also suggests that terror cells and the likes of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. are getting increasingly innovative in trying to beat the security systems in place. For example, the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber remind us that the risk is real, and this risk has since informed our way of life. Public...

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