Blog – The Six Stages of Crisis for Communication Planning – Stage Five: The Resolution Phase
This is the fifth of six essays that explore each phase of a crisis, identify specific areas of concern and provide manageable solutions. Download the first essay, download the second essay and download the third essay.
The fifth phase of the crisis is the resolution stage. Communication best practices dictate that two-way communication should continue throughout each phase of the crisis. Communication during this phase of the crisis should include simple declarative closure measures which provide reassurance, confidence and stability. Consideration should be given to the potential communication breakdowns and confusion that can result from physical, emotional or psychological trauma.
According to the Civil Defense Museum history site since the Second World War and during the “cold war” the United States government used several sets of audible warning siren tones, which varied over the period to communicate threats to the public. The initial siren alerts used during World War II were the Alert Signal (a 3–5 minute steady continuous siren tone), and the Attack Signal (a 3–5 minute wail siren tone, or series of short tone bursts on devices incapable of wavering, such as whistles). In 1950, the Federal Civil Defense Administration revised the signals, naming the alert signal “Red Alert” and adding an all-clear signal, defined as three one-minute steady blasts, with two minutes of silence between blasts.
In a metaphorical sense, the communication functions during Stage 5, the resolution phase, are akin to the “all clear” messages of those sonic sirens. Specifically the communication plan for Stage5 should include processes to contact all of those who have been mobilized by early communication efforts as well as all of those who are affected by the crisis to advise them that the acute crisis has been resolved and has ended.
Crisis team members should communicate resolution to all audiences in the form of ‘all clear’ alerts and a status of return ‘normalcy.’ Communication during this phase of the crisis should include simple declarative closure measures which provide reassurance, confidence and stability. Message content should also address items such as change of status from management to resolution and the process of transition to recovery that is underway. Information on anticipated recovery steps and methods to obtain resources and additional information is expected.