The Six Stages of Crisis for Communication Planning – Stage Six: The Recovery Phase

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This is the final installment 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, download the third essay and download the fourth essay.

Download the Stage Five Brief.
Watch the Presentations on YouTube.

The sixth phase of the crisis is the recovery phase.

Communication best practices dictate that during the recovery phase of a crisis, communication should focus on getting back to normal and resuming usual daily operations. Message content should include ways to access available resources and address long and short term plans for recovery. Each of the six phases may vary in length with some occurring rapidly and others occurring over Dr. Chandler Phase 6a period of days, weeks or even months.

The recovery phase typically tends to be one of the lengthy periods. You must be prepared to communicate for the “long haul.” The focus of this phase is getting back to normal and resuming usual daily operations. It is not as simple of as it might seem at first glance to communicate.

Obviously, the type of emergency, crisis or disaster operations dictates the scope, nature, range, duration and type(s) of recovery communication tasks and needs. Recovery efforts can take months or even years.

Recovery communication is inherently a multi-task, overlapped and interdependent service of processes with a complex group of target audiences and a wide range of purposes, functions and characteristics. It can be equally complex to the communication requirements of the active management (stage 4) of the crisis lifecycle. It also may well be that in most categories of events that the recovery period will be the longest sustained part of the crisis lifecycle for communication planning purposes.

It can be helpful to start with some of the processes and procedures associated with major catastrophic disasters as we think about all of the various communication functions and objectives. These provide an excellent checklist for a starting point for recovery phase communication planning. The key questions in the planning process for each of these functions include:

  • What needs to be communicated?
  • To Whom?
  • From Whom?
  • When?
  • By Whom?
  • How?

One process for major catastrophic disasters that can assist us in preparing for recovery phase communication objectives is to review the FEMA National Recovery Framework. The FEMA NRF suggests core capabilities essential for recovery operations. These Response Core Capabilities suggest to us the following adapted areas on which to include in our communication planning needs checklist:

Download the full Stage Six essay.

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