Blog – The Six Stages of Crisis for Communication Planning – Stage Three: The Incident and Response Phase

This is the third of six essays that explore each phase of a crisis, identify specific areas of concern and provide manageable solutions. Download the first essay HERE and download the second essay HERE.

Download the Stage Three Brief.
Watch the Presentation on YouTube.

The third phase is the incident and response phase. The first three stages of a crisis may not always occur in sequence. In some cases there is no advance warning. In many instances the need to react/response must proceed simultaneously with the process of assessing risk and determine the response. In fact, the responding and managing stages may themselves be implemented while risk assessment or eventually resolution and recovery stages come on-line. The value of viewing these as stages is not that these as an inherent and necessary absolute sequence (although it does generally follow the life cycle of an emerging crisis or disaster) but rather that these “stages” require preparation for the unique goals, needs, objectives, target audiences, messages and challenges which each presents. In most of these stages it is likely that the communication processes would need to run concurrently and at the same times as other processes.Dr. Chandler Stage 3

Communication planning best practices dictates that the response phase communication begins at the moment when an incident occurs and activation incident notification is issued to initiate reaction to the emergency. The emergency response plan is activated and coordinated. If an incident occurs without any advance warning, it may be that the second stage of risk assessment communication is also initiated at the same time and that process may need to run concurrently with the third stage communication processes. Crisis team members call first responders into action and you begin to notify the public about the incident. Emergency notification would include alerting first responders, those in harm’s way and other key constituents.

The emergency response plan is activated. Crisis team members call first responders into action and notification of the public about the incident begins. Emergency notification would include alerting first responders, those in harm’s way, and other key constituents. The response phase begins at the moment when an incident occurs and activation notification is issued to initiate reaction to the emergency.

Communication in this stage of a crisis is often centered around use of tools such as automated or mass notification systems and incident notification protocols.

The response phase requires communication to initiate the activities that are taken during and immediately following a disaster. Effective communication demonstrates leadership role and professionalism. It also facilitates coordination efforts between local, county, state, and federal agencies. During the response phase, emphasis is placed on quick action, containing the incident, gaining control, protecting people and property, and minimizing the effects of the emergency. All communication that requires the activation of immediate response actions occurs during the response phase. Download and read the full text of this article

Watch a recording of the Firestorm Webinar featuring Dr. Chandler below:

Stage One: The Warning Phase

Stage Two: The Risk Assessment Phase