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Using Health and Medical Physicist Volunteers and Other Radiation Professionals with Local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Units as Risk Communicators


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Title: Using Health and Medical Physicist Volunteers and Other Radiation Professionals with Local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Units as Risk Communicators

Using Health and Medical Physicist Volunteers and
Other Radiation Professionals with Local Medical
Reserve Corps (MRC) Units as Risk Communicators

  • Training provided by

  • Health Physics Society

  • Homeland Security Committee

  • (
  • Adapted from training materials developed by the
    Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention, U.S. Environmental
    Protection Agency, and other sources including
    Dr. Vincent Covello.

(No Transcript)
Purpose of this Training
  • To provide health and medical physicists and
    other radiation professionals with
  • a basic knowledge of risk communications.
  • basic communications training to be able to
    function as subject matter experts in a
    radiological/nuclear emergency.
  • the terminology used in risk communications.
  • Just-in-Time training on risk communications in a
    radiological/nuclear emergency.

Training Outline
  • This training is in a self-paced format and
    divided into three sections.
  • The trainee can participate in each section or
    only one or two depending on past experience and
    current needs.

Section Outline
  • Section 1 Risk Communications and Message
  • Section 2 Delivering the Message and
    Spokesperson Training
  • Section 3 Understanding and Dealing with the

Section 1
  • Risk Communications and Message Development

Section 1 Risk Communications and Message
  • Module 1 Risk Communications
  • Module 2 Message Maps

Risk Communications This module will introduce
you to communications skills and public
  • Module 1

What is Risk Communications?
  • Risk communications are central to public health
    and other agencies in conveying their messages to
    the diverse populations they serve.
  • The timely and effective dissemination of
    information about a high-stress topic or event so
    that individuals can make informed decisions and
    take appropriate actions for health and safety.

What is Risk Communications?
  • A method of providing information about an
    expected outcome of a certain behavior or
  • The interrelationship between the urgency of a
    crisis and the immediate need to communicate
    risks to the public.

Key Messages of Risk Communications
  • Risk communications is an evidence-based
  • High stress situations change the rules of
  • The key to critical communication success is
    anticipation, preparation, and practice.
  • V. Covello 95 of concerns and questions
    for any crisis can be predicted in advance.

The APP Template
  • Anticipate
  • 2. Prepare
  • 3. Practice

Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (1)
  • Likely Radiological/Nuclear Scenarios
  • Detonation of an Improvised Nuclear
    Device (IND)
  • Use of a Radiological Dispersal
    Device (RDD)
  • Discovery of a Radiation Exposure
    Device (RED)
  • Transportation incident involving
    radioactive materials
  • Nuclear power plant event or terrorist

Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (2)
  • Stakeholder/partners to be involved
  • Scenario dependent
  • Public
  • Media
  • Private business
  • Government
  • Tribes

Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (3)
  • Questions and concerns most likely
  • See reference list for the seventy-seven most
  • frequently asked questions by journalists in a
  • disaster (Covello)
  • Examples
  • Who is in charge?
  • What are your qualifications
  • Is there anything good you can tell us?

Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (4)
  • Dr. Covello is developing for the NRC a list of
    400 questions regarding a nuclear or
    radiological incident as part of a NUREG.

Risk Communication Benefits
  • Engender agreement
  • Reduce mistrust/fear/stress
  • Resolve conflict
  • Improve knowledge/control
  • Business becomes easier and cheaper

Characteristics of a Good Spokesperson
  • Communicates simply using easily understood terms
  • Focuses on immediate impact to the public
  • Able to convey empathy and caring
  • Demonstrates competence and expertise
  • Communicates honestly and openly

Characteristics of a Good Spokesperson
  • Shows commitment and dedication
  • Sensitive and responsive to concerns
  • Expresses optimism
  • Stays calm and collected
  • Exhibits positive body language
  • Responds quickly to public/media inquiry

MRC SpokespersonSuggested Background Training (1)
  • Suggested on-line training available as
  • IS 7 A Citizens Guide to Disaster
  • (http//
  • IS 22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to
    Citizen Preparedness
  • (http//
  • IS 100.a Introduction to Incident Command System
  • (http//
  • IS 200.a ICS for Single Resources and Initial
    Action Incidents
  • (http//
  • IS 700.a National Incident Management System
    (NIMS), An
  • Introduction http//training.fem

MRC SpokespersonSuggested Background Training (2)
  • Suggested on-line training available as
  • IS 800.b National Response Framework, An
  • (http//
  • IS 702 National Incident Management Systems
    (NIMS) Public
  • Information Systems
  • (http//
  • IS 808 Public Health and Medical Services
  • (http//

MRC SpokespersonSuggested Background Training
  • Optional in-class training available
    (locally/state) as
  • ICS 300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding
    Incidents (http//
  • ICS 400 Advanced ICS Command and General Staff
  • Incidents (http//
  • FEMA G289 Public Information Officer Awareness
  • (http//
  • Public Health 101 (usually provided by local
    health department, but URLs to suggested
    introductions to public health included here in
    Section 2, Module 8)

A Good Risk Definition
  • The probability of loss of that which we value.
  • - Dr. Vincent

How the Public Views Risk
  • are more accepted than risks viewed as
  • Being imposed by others
  • Controlled by others
  • Of little or no benefit
  • Unfairly distributed
  • Man-made
  • Catastrophic
  • From an untrusted source
  • Exotic
  • Affecting children
  • Risks viewed as
  • Voluntary
  • Under ones control
  • With clear benefits
  • Distributed fairly
  • Natural
  • Statistical
  • From a trusted source
  • Familiar
  • Affecting adults

The Overarching Goal in any Communication
  • To provide a clear and concise message to the
    right audience, at the right time, using the most
    effective medium.
  • Helping people understand is particularly
    crucial in a public health emergency or crisis.

The CDC STARCC Principle
  • During a disaster, people respond to clear
    instructions and want to be guided by government
    authorities. The way the message is framed is
    very important.
  • In a crisis, your radiological or nuclear message
    must be
  • Simple
  • Timely
  • Accurate
  • Relevant
  • Credible
  • Consistent

(No Transcript)
Important Points to Remember
  • In an emergency, information must be
    disseminated accurately and quickly!
  • Media is the best dissemination vehicle for most
  • Plan ahead and be proactive.
  • Use technology, but be prepared for it to fail.
  • Know your role in the Incident Command System.
  • Know your role in the Joint Information Center
    (JIC)/Joint Information System (JIS).
  • Know your communication and emergency plans.

Joint Information System (JIS)
  • Integrates incident information and public
    affairs into a cohesive organization designed to
    provide consistent, coordinated, accurate,
    accessible, timely, and complete information
    during crisis or incident operations
  • Provides a structure and system for developing
    and delivering coordinated interagency messages
    developing, recommending, and executing public
    information plans and strategies on behalf of the
    IC advising the IC concerning public affairs
    issues that could affect a response effort and
    controlling rumors and inaccurate information
    that could undermine public confidence in the
    emergency response effort.
  • Is a network for sharing information that will be
    made public it is not a physical location. Once
    a physical location is set-up to accomplish
    public information, it is called a Joint
    Information Center.

Joint Information Center (JIC)
  • A physical location where agencies PIOs work
    together to respond to manage and coordinate
    incident public information.
  • Members work together to provide coordinated,
    timely, accurate information to the public and
    other stakeholders.
  • News releases are written, spokespersons are
    prepared for interviews, news conferences are
    held, information hotlines are managed.
  • News media may also work from this location or
    may attend this location for news conferences and

Communicating in a crisis is different
  • In a serious crisis, affected people
  • Take in information differently
  • Process information differently
  • Act on information differently
  • In a catastrophic radiological or nuclear
  • communication is different
  • Be first, be right, be credible

What the Public Will Ask First
  • Are my family and I safe?
  • What have you found that may affect me?
  • What can I do to protect myself and my family?
  • Who caused this?
  • Can you fix it?

What the Media Will Ask First
  • What happened?
  • Who is in charge?
  • Has this been contained?
  • Are victims being helped?
  • What can we expect?
  • What should we do?
  • Why did this happen?
  • Did you have forewarning?

Five Communication Failures That Kill Operational
  • Mixed messages from multiple experts
  • Information released late
  • Paternalistic attitudes
  • Not countering rumors and myths in real-time
  • Public power struggles and confusion

What Do People Feel Inside When a Disaster Looms
or Occurs?
  • Psychological barriers
  • Denial
  • Fear, anxiety, confusion, dread
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Seldom panic

People at RiskWhat is the Individual Cost?
  • Demands for unneeded testing/treatment
  • Want to be decontaminated
  • Want to be tested for internal deposition
  • Dependence on special relationships (bribery)
  • MUPSMultiple Unexplained Physical Symptoms
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Stigmatization

Community at RiskWhat is the Societal Cost?
  • Disorganized group behavior (unreasonable
    demands, stealing)
  • Rumors, hoaxes, fraud, stigmatization
  • Trade/industry liabilities/losses
  • Diplomacy
  • Civil actions

Communicating in a Crisis Is Different
  • Public must feel empowered to reduce fear and
    feelings of victimization
  • Mental preparation reduces anxiety
  • Taking action reduces anxiety
  • Uncertainty must be addressed
  • When people are stressed and upset, they want
    to know that you care before they care what you
    know. (Covello)

Five Key Elements To Build Trust
  1. Expressed empathy
  2. Competence
  3. Honesty
  4. Commitment
  5. Accountability

What we all want!
Accuracy of Information __________ Speed of

Empathy Openness
Proactive vs. Reactive
  • Think ahead.
  • Be timely and accurate.
  • Establish positive media relationships.
  • Anticipate expectations of public information.
  • Know the communitys hazards.
  • Plan accordingly.
  • Only reacting will make you appear unprepared,
    insensitive, untrustworthy, and secretive.

Getting Information to the Public(Available via
Emergency Management)
  • Emergency Alert System
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Ham radio operators
  • Cable companies
  • Weather channel
  • Government access channels
  • PA systems on emergency vehicles
  • Internet and E-mail
  • Direct Satellite Uplinks
  • Local broadcasting stations
  • Social media Twitter, Facebook

Now Lets Pull All of This Together!
  • Module 2
  • Message Development and Mapping

Give your message -- Say it in 27- 9 - 3
  • Have an objective for the interview
  • You dont have to conform to the reporters
  • agenda for the story.
  • Develop your core message to support that
  • objective.
  • Your core message is also the phrase that you can
    return to each time you get a question that you
    are not able to answer.
  • Your core message should be (Covello)
  • 27 words long 9 seconds in length 3 main
  • 27 words for three statements.
  • Use Message Maps (see next slide)

The Message
  • An effective message begins with a message map
  • It identifies key messages.
  • It offers responses to anticipated questions.
  • It outlines key messages for a high-concern or
    controversial issue.
  • It ensures consistent messages.
  • It guides and directs spokespersons.
  • It encourages the organization to speak with one
  • It promotes open dialogue.

Basics of Message Mapping
  • The following slides will guide you through the
    message mapping process.
  • A message is a roadmap for displaying detailed,
    hierarchically organized responses to anticipated
    questions or concerns.
  • It is a visual aid that provides, at a glance,
    the organizations messages for high concern or
    controversial issues.
  • Adapted from Vincent T. Covello,
    PhD,Message Mapping, available

The Message Map
Eight Goals of Message Mapping (1)
  1. Identifying stakeholders early in the
    communication process.
  2. Anticipating stakeholder questions and concerns
    before they are raised.
  3. Organizing our thinking and developing prepared
    messages in response to anticipated stakeholder
    questions and concerns.
  4. Developing key messages and supporting
    information within a clear, concise, transparent,
    and accessible framework

Eight Goals of Message Mapping (2)
  • Promoting open dialogue about messages both
    inside and outside the organization.
  • Providing user friendly guidance to
  • Ensuring that the organization has a central
    repository of consistent messages.
  • Encouraging the organization
  • to speak with one voice.

Message Mapping Seven Steps
  • Identify stakeholders for a specified emergency,
    crisis, or disaster event
  • Identify stakeholder questions and concerns
  • Identify common sets of concerns
  • Develop key messages
  • Develop supporting information
  • Conduct testing
  • Plan for delivery

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (1)
  • Step 1 Identify stakeholders for a specified
    emergency, crisis, or disaster incident or event
  • These would include interested or affected
    parties involved with a radiological or nuclear

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (2)
  • Step 2 Identify stakeholder questions and
  • Most questions related to a radiological/nuclear
    emergency can be anticipated.
  • Covello is developing for the NRC a list of 400
  • Anticipate being asked some of these questions.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (3)
  • Step 3 Identify common sets of concerns.
  • Studies have shown that most public health issues
    are associated with 8-15 underlying concerns.
  • These concerns include health and safety
    ecological economic quality of life
    equity/fairness cultural/symbolic
    legal/regulatory basic informational who,
    what, where, when, why, how openness,
    transparency, and access to information
    accountability options and alternatives
    control voluntariness benefits and, trust.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (4)
  • Step 4 Develop key messages.
  • Respond to the list of underlying stakeholder
    concerns and specific stakeholder questions.
  • Work with other health physicists and/or
    communications staff, if possible.
  • Develop a narrative that can be reduced to key
    messages and entered on the message map.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (4)
  • Mental noise theory when people are upset they
    often have difficulty hearing, understanding, and
    remembering information. Mental noise can reduce
    the ability to process information by 80.
  • This amounts to a loss of four grade levels
    below average learning capacity.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (4)
  • The challenges of mental noise theory
  • Overcome the barriers that mental noise creates.
  • Produce accurate messages for diverse audiences.
  • Achieve maximum communication effectiveness
    within the constraints posed by mental noise.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (4)
  • Solutions to mental noise theory include
  • Developing a limited number of key messages,
    i.e., 3 key messages or one key message with 3
    parts for each underlying concern or specific
    question (conciseness).
  • Keeping individual messages brief, i.e., less
    than 3 sec. or less than 9 words for each key
    message and less than 9 sec. and 27 words for the
    three key messages (brevity).
  • Developing messages that are understandable,
    i.e., at the 6-8th grade level for communications

The Message Map
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (4)
  • Solutions to mental noise theory include
  • Placing messages within a message set so that the
    most important messages occupy the first and last
  • Developing key messages that cite credible third
    parties, e.g., Health Physics Society, AAPM.
  • Using graphics and other visual aids to enhance
    key messages.
  • Balancing negative messages with positive,
    constructive, or solution-oriented key messages.
  • Avoiding unnecessary uses of the words no, not,
    never, nothing, or none.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (5)
  • Step 5 Develop supporting information.
  • The dilemma
  • Facts about risk appear to play little or
    no role in
  • determining public perceptions and
  • about the risk (Covello)
  • The solution
  • Provide understandable information and proofs for
    each message
  • Keep repeating the same message

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (6)
  • Step 6 Conduct testing
  • Subject matter expert review.
  • Test the message with key stakeholders or their
  • Sharing and test with partners.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (7)
  • Step 7 Plan for delivery
  • Which individuals/organizations are trusted to
    this message?
  • Which spokespersons will deliver the messages?
  • Which communications channels might be delivering
    these messages?

Section 2
  • Delivering the Message and Spokesperson Training

  • Module 3 News Writing in a Disaster
  • Module 4 News Interviews
  • Module 5 Interview Tips
  • Module 6 Just-in-Time training
  • Module 7 Emergency Communications
  • Checklist
  • Module 8 Public Health 101

News Writing in a Disaster
Module 3
Forms of News Writing
  • News statements
  • News releases
  • Fact sheets
  • Bios
  • Backgrounders
  • Media Advisories
  • Opinion piece

Info Conveyance
  • In an emergency, information that might need to
    be conveyed through these forms of news writing
    may include
  • Updates about an ongoing issue.
  • Activities being carried out by response and
    recovery agencies.
  • Warnings and communication that address immediate
    issues, such as protective actions to take,
    shelter locations, evacuation routes, water
    status and medical needs.

News Statements
  • News statements are not news releases, but...
  • Are usually a few paragraphs in length.
  • Are often attributed to a high-ranking authority.
  • May counter contrary views or misinformation.
  • May be used to offer encouragement to victims.

Opinion Piece or Op-Ed
  • Opinion pieces, published opposite the editorial
    page, can help legitimize your cause and
    spokesperson. Can be used before a disaster
    occurs to let community know that an radiation
    expert is available, if needed.
  • For publication
  • Ask about length (500-1000 words).
  • Determine the writing style.
  • Determine how it must be submitted.
  • Could be an opportunity for good public relations

News Releases
  • Tell the public about an issue
  • What you are doing.
  • What they need to know.
  • Whats next.
  • Demonstrate control.
  • Demonstrate effective management.
  • Establish an organizational presence
  • Enhance information flow to the media.

News Release Content
  • A release is written in newspaper style
  • Lead sentence who, what,
  • when, where, why and how
  • Second sentence supports the
  • lead and may contain a quote
  • Subsequent content written
  • in descending order of importance
  • Text is short and to the point. No speculation.

News Interviews
  • Module 4

Interviews are Opportunities
  • An interview is an opportunity to deliver a
  • Give the reporter your message.
  • Use quotable quotes.
  • Know your story.
  • State your message and return to it.
  • Use questions to deliver the message.
  • Brand your message.
  • Be confident! You are the expert!

Types of Interviews
  • Print vs. broadcast
  • General vs. investigative
  • Unexpected (ambush) vs. prearranged
  • Office vs. on-site
  • TIPS (see Module 5)
  • Remain calm and in control.
  • Remember, you are the official source.
  • Be honest and transparent.
  • Maintain the positive image of your organization.

Taking Control
  • Tell your story.
  • Every question is a chance to bridge to your
  • Be specific.
  • Put issues into context.
  • Speak with conviction.
  • Project confidence.
  • Do not debate other points of view.
  • Never, never, never repeat negative

An interview is achoreographed exchange of
Before the Interview
  • Ask for the interview topic.
  • Determine your central message.
  • Prepare 3 message points.
  • Rehearse 8- to 10-second sound bites.
  • Prepare for potential questions.
  • Prepare for the toughest question.
  • The 5 Ws 1 H will always be asked.
    Be prepared!

During the Interview
  • DO
  • Remain calm.
  • Maintain eye contact and be aware of body
  • Listen to and briefly answer each question.
  • Be direct and honest.
  • Learn to say, I dont know, but Ill find out.
  • Defer to subject matter experts when appropriate.
  • Make your points.
  • Provide your support.
  • Conclude your statements.
  • Stop talking!

The Donts!
  • Dont
  • Use I
  • Speculate
  • Make promises you cant keep
  • Use jargon, technical terms, acronyms
  • Use negative words and phrases
  • Blame others
  • Discuss costs
  • Make jokes
  • Repeat negative allegations
  • Become defensive
  • Go off the record.

After the Interview(Depending on the Situation)
  • Ask the reporter when the story will run.
  • Thank the reporter.
  • Make yourself available if the reporter needs
    more information.

  • Module 5
  • Interview Tips

Know Your Story!The more times you hear this the
  • Go into the interview with your own agenda.
  • Commit your messages to memory.
  • Use questions to deliver your messages.
  • Return to your messages consistently.
  • Be confident! You are the expert!

To Increase Your Effectiveness
  • Speak in clear and brief sentences.
  • Give succinct messages.
  • Offer accurate and relevant information.
  • Be a credible source of facts and statistics.
  • Use media friendly language.
  • Offer quotable quotes.
  • Speak visually, creating mental pictures.

Anticipate the Questions
  • Anticipate controversial questions and prepare
  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • Who did it happen to?
  • How did it happen?
  • What was the damage?
  • Who is responsible? Dont place blame.
  • What do you plan to do about it?
  • When will we get more information?

Develop Quick ResponsesPreparation, preparation,
  • Always be prepared with
  • Basic information for expected questions, QA
  • More detailed responses for more complex
    questions to put potentially explosive issues to

Bridge to Key Messages
Bridging helps youtake control and avoid
  • What I am really here to talk to you about
  • Before we leave that...
  • Let me answer by saying...
  • I think you are asking about.
  • Here are the steps we have taken
  • Let me put this in perspective...
  • What you should know is...
  • The most important point is...
  • We are now doing
  • I dont want to speculate about what might

In-Person Interviews
  • Be punctual.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Have reporters contact information.
  • Relax! Body language, facial expressions and
    personality are interpreted with what you say.
  • Consider the interview a formal presentation,
    even if you are in a casual setting.
  • Listen carefully to each question and take your
    time in answering.

Phone Interviews
  • Tips for a successful phone interview
  • Hold your calls.
  • Give full attention to the interview.
  • Have key messages in front of you.
  • Stand or sit up.
  • Smile and project warmth and authority.
  • DONT feel obligated to fill a void or pause.
  • Do not use a speaker phone.

There is no Off the Record
  • Remember!
  • Anything you say may become a headline.
  • If you dont want it quoted, dont say it.
  • If you misspeak, calmly correct your statement.

  • Module 6
  • Just-in-Time Training
  • (For those with not enough time to read the
    previous 5 modules, you should at least know the
    contents of this module)

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Communications Mistakes (1)
  • Your words have consequencesmake sure they are
    the right ones.
  • Dont appear uncertain. Know what you want to
    say, then say it. Then say it again, as
  • If you dont know what youre talking about, stop
  • Focus on informing people, not impressing them.
    Use everyday language.
  • Never say anything you dont want to see printed
    on tomorrows front page.
  • http//

Top 10 Ways to Avoid Communications Mistakes (2)
  • Avoid making promises, false assurances or
  • Dont say No comment. Youll look as if you are
    hiding something.
  • Dont get angry. When you argue with the media,
    you always loseand you lose publicly.
  • Dont speculate, guess or assume. When
    you dont know something, say so.
  • http//

Module 7
  • Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
  • Adapted from the EPAs,
  • Communicating Radiation Risks

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (1)
  • Form a crisis communications team.
  • Keep it as small as needed.
  • Staff with experts, as required, including
    radiation, communications, public health, and
  • The team would be responsible for developing
    communication actions steps for a
    radiological/nuclear emergency.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (2)
  • Develop communications goals.
  • Inform the public of the situation and
    specific dangers.
  • Provide guidance on appropriate responses.
  • Ease the publics concerns by being prepared to
    answer or refer questions.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (3)
  • 3. Develop a list of anticipated questions and
  • Develop, in advance, messages for the full range
    of radiological/nuclear emergency scenarios.
  • Anticipate questions for each scenario
  • Prepare messages in all appropriate languages.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (4)
  • Prepare, in advance, facts sheets and background
  • CLEAR Simplify technical language for easy
    understanding at the 6 8th grade level.
  • CONCISE Limit each item to three key
    messages with supporting information.
  • BRIEF Recognize that attention spans are
    limited during an emergency.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (5)
  • Develop precise logistics, roles, and functions.
  • Determine roles for each member of the team.
  • Create a backup communications plan of what to do
    if technology fails or those who are designated
    to be in charge are not available.
  • Create a 24/7 contact list for your emergency
    response team members and decide who will contact
    each person and in what order.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (6)
  • Coordinate communications procedures with other
    relevant agencies and organizations.
  • Determine who speaks to the media and public on
    particular subjects.
  • Determine who are primary and secondary contacts
    and experts for key offices and issues.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (7)
  • Identify and provide media training for lead and
    secondary spokespersons.
  • Include all relevant agencies and emergency
  • Select spokespersons who
  • Remain calm and controlled when addressing the
  • Can communicate in non-technical, ordinary
  • Can retain and deliver key messages.
  • Can convey empathy and concern with sincerity.
  • Are knowledgeable.
  • Use a good spokesperson trainer, if necessary

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (8)
  • Determine how to get your message out.
  • Identify normal best channels.
  • Develop alternatives if normal communications
    channels break down

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (9)
  • Develop and maintain media lists.
  • Should be available from public health PIO,
  • Includes names, phone numbers, and email
    addresses for media contacts.
  • List should be kept up-to-date and readily
  • List should be available in electronic and
    printed versions.

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (10)
  • Practice
  • Put your planning into practice with
    scenario-based exercises or drills.
  • Evaluate the outcomes of the exercises to
    identify strengths and areas for

Module 8Public Health 101
Public Health and the MRC
  • Most MRCs are sponsored by public health
  • Health and medical physicists as SMEs should be
    aware of the normal and emergency operations of
    their local health department
  • The health department is the connection to local
    emergency management.

Public Health Videos
  • The following URLs have general information on
    the operation of public health.
  • What is Public Health? (Flash presentation)
  • What is Public health? (on-line course 2.5
    hours) http//

Section 3
  • Understanding and Dealing with the Media

  • Module 9 The Media
  • Module 10 Avoiding Interview
  • Pitfalls

The Media
  • Module 9

There is a terrific disadvantage in not having
the abrasive quality of the press applied to you
daily. Even though we never like it, and even
though we wish they didn't write it, and even
though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt that
we could not do the job at all in a free society
without a very, very active press.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth
President of the United States
Who are the Media?
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Radio
  • 24-hour coverage
  • Television
  • 24-hour coverage CNN, FOX, MSNBC
  • Other media types
  • Wire Services
  • Associated Press, Reuters
  • Internet
  • Social media Twitter, You Tube

Working with the Media
  • The primary functions of the spokesperson are
  • Building and maintaining professional
  • Remembering the 5 Ws and 1 H of providing
  • Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
  • Accommodating medias varying needs
  • TV needs visuals.
  • Radio needs now interviews and sound bites.
  • Print needs details and in-depth stories.

Media Goals
  • To find and cover newsworthy events
  • To inform the public
  • For most, fair, accurate, honest reporting
  • Effects of media assistance
  • Helps reduce panic.
  • Prepares the public for action.
  • Warns the public of what may follow.
  • Have the media work with us!

Media Relations
  • Dont wait for an emergency. Know the local
  • Are enhanced by inviting media to training
    exercises for MRC SMEs and asking their advice.
  • May be fostered by hosting a Media Day or
    conducting onsite visits with media to enhance
    relationships with the MRC.

Media Relations
  • To cultivate media relationships
  • Be credible, dependable, and accessible.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Be flexible and accurate.
  • Have a consistent media policy.

Print Media
  • Characteristics
  • High dependence on phone links to transmit
    information to publishing houses
  • More depth and backgroundhuman interest stories
  • Longer-lasting archives and recordsInternet
  • Needs
  • Trustworthy sources
  • Analysis and roll-up of activities
  • Chronologies
  • Feature stories
  • Graphics
  • Photos

Radio Media
  • Characteristics
  • Desire to be first to report a storyInternet
  • Production of short reports.
  • Pride in immediacy of reporting.
  • Ability to put authorities on the air quickly.
  • An essential disaster warning tool.
  • Ambient noise.
  • Needs
  • Sound bites in 10 seconds or less.
  • Spokesperson with command of language.
  • Spokesperson who avoids colloquialism.
  • Spokesperson with clear, measured voice.

Television Media
  • Characteristics
  • Powerful visuals
  • Short sound bites (often over video images)
  • Often influenced by broadcast times and schedules
  • Established CNN and cable impactInternet
  • Needs
  • Trustworthy sources
  • Sound bites in 10 seconds or less
  • Visuals of the scene and real people
  • B-roll

On-site Media Needs
  • Access issues computers, phone and fax lines,
  • Satellite trucks and uplinks
  • Pooling facilities
  • National and local media logistical support
  • Access to people and the human touch

  • Module 10
  • Avoiding Interview Pitfalls

How to Avoid Interview Pitfalls
  • Journalists develop individual techniques to get
    their stories. Being aware of these methods can
    help you avoid them.

The Rapid Question Asker
  • Trap
  • The interviewer fires questions at you and you
    try to answer all of them.
  • Solution
  • To regain control, choose one question and answer
  • Bridge
  • I think what you are asking

The Interrupter
  • Trap
  • The interviewer cuts off your answers, turning
    the interview into an interrogation.
  • Solution
  • Politely continue your statement, simply and
  • Bridge
  • Ill be happy to answer that in a moment, but
  • as I was saying

The Aggressive Interviewer
  • Trap
  • The interviewer is hostile, tricking you into
    defense rather than the delivery of a positive
  • Solution
  • Remain calm, ignore the attack, pause and bridge
    to your message.
  • Bridge
  • I think we may be getting off track here

The Too Friendly Interview
  • Trap
  • The interviewer lulls you into false friendliness
    and overconfidence so you will unintentionally
    reveal information off message.
  • Solution
  • Stay on message, reacting warmly but aware that
    an interview can turn hostile at any time.
  • Bridge
  • The important thing to remember is

The Personalizer
  • Trap
  • The interviewer relates your responses to
    personal feelings, using your hesitation to lead
    you away from the message.
  • Solution
  • Before the interview, decide how to handle a
    personal question, using language in concert with
    the official position.
  • Bridge
  • What is important to our listeners is that

The Void
  • Trap
  • The interviewer is silent after you answer,
    creating an awkward void so you will speak off
    message or say more than you should.
  • Solution
  • Feel confident you have answered the question
    completely and remain silent.
  • Bridge
  • Say nothing or bridge to a positive message.

The Hypothesizer
  • Trap
  • The interviewer draws you into speculation about
    possibilities, then takes it out of context and
    puts you at odds with your message.
  • Solution
  • Tell the reporter it is inappropriate to
    speculate and bridge to a positive message.
  • Bridge
  • It would be inappropriate for me to speculate,

Interview Points to Remember
  • Be Aware and be prepared!
  • Stay on message, no matter what!
  • Remember, you are the expert!

Risk Communications Training Summary
  • You are the radiation subject matter expert!
  • You may be the first or the only voice the
    public hears.
  • Review your key messages.
  • Organize your thoughts.
  • Create your agenda.
  • Focus.
  • Rehearse.
  • Relax!
  • Dont argue with anyone who buys ink by
    the barrel
  • or videotape by the

  • Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication. CDC.
    October 2002. Available at http//
  • Communicating Radiation Risks. Crisis
    Communications for Emergency Responders.
    EPA-402-F-07-008. September 2007. Available at
  • http//
  • CDC STARCC Principle http//

References (cont.)
  • 77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During
    an Emergency or Crisis (Vincent Covello).
    Available at https//
  • Crisis Risk CommunicationsBy Leaders For
    Leaders. Available at http//
  • Message Mapping (Vincent Covello). Available
    at http//
  • Mental Noise Theory (definition). Available
    at http//