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Training Radiation Professionals to Be Volunteer Risk Communicators for the Medical Reserve Corps


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Title: Training Radiation Professionals to Be Volunteer Risk Communicators for the Medical Reserve Corps

Training Radiation Professionals to Be Volunteer
Risk Communicators for the Medical Reserve Corps
  • Adapted by the Health Physics Society Homeland
    Security Section 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 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.
  • Integration of radiation spokespersons
  • with their local MRC.

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 the basics of risk communications and what
makes a good risk communicator.
  • Module 1

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

What Is Risk Communications? (2)
  • 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.
  • Vincent Covello 95 of concerns and
    questions for any crisis can be predicted in

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
  • incident

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
  • 77 most frequently asked questions by
  • journalists in a disaster (from Covello)
  • (go to References)
  • Examples
  • Who is in charge?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • Is there anything good you can tell us?

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

Risk Communication Benefits
  • Engenders agreement
  • Reduces mistrust/fear/stress
  • Resolves conflict
  • Improves knowledge/control
  • ? Relationships becomes easier and
  • less stressful due to mutual understanding
  • (see IRPA).

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

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

Spokesperson Suggested Background Training (1)
  • Suggested online 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.b Introduction to Incident Command System
  • http//
  • IS 200.b ICS for Single Resources and Initial
    Action Incidents
  • http//
  • IS 700.a National Incident Management System
    (NIMS) An
  • Introduction
  • http//

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

MRC Spokesperson Suggested Background Training (3)
  • 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!
  • The media is the best dissemination vehicle for
    most audiences.
  • 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.
  • Provides a structure and system for developing
    and delivering coordinated interagency messages.
  • Is a network for sharing information that will be
    made public.

Joint Information Center (JIC)
  • A physical location where multiple agencys
    Public Information Officers (PIOs) work together
    to respond, to manage, and to 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
  • Understand 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 out 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 issues
  • Denial
  • Fear, anxiety, confusion, dread
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Seldom panic

People at Risk What Is the Individual Cost?
  • 1. Demands for unneeded testing/treatment
  • Want to be decontaminated
  • Want to be tested for internal deposition
  • 2. Dependence on special relationships
  • (bribery)
  • 3. MUPSMultiple unexplained physical
  • symptoms
  • 4. Self-destructive behaviors
  • 5. Stigmatization

Community at Risk What Is the Societal Cost?
  • Disorganized group behavior (unreasonable
    demands, looting, stealing)
  • Rumors, hoaxes, fraud, stigmatization
  • Trade/industry liabilities/losses
  • The threat to community resiliency

Communicating in a Crisis Is Different
  • The 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)

Which is what we all want!
Accuracy of Information __________ Speed of

Empathy Openness
Five Key Elements to Build Credibility
  • Be transparent
  • Follow through with promises
  • Stand by your convictions
  • Be an active listener
  • Back up your words

Five Key Elements to Build Trust
  1. Express empathy
  2. Show competence
  3. Be honest/open
  4. Show commitment
  5. Be accountable

Spokesperson 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

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 email
  • Direct satellite uplinks
  • Local broadcasting stations
  • Social media Twitter, Facebook

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

Elements of Message Development
  • 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 (from Covello)
  • 27 words long 9 seconds in length 3 main
  • 27 words for three statements.
  • Use Message Maps (see next slide).

The Message Map
  • 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 road map 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 at
  • http//

The Message Map
Message Map
Stakeholder/Target Audience General Public Category Awareness Subject Radiation Date updated 03 April 2013
Question or Concern What is ionizing radiation? Question or Concern What is ionizing radiation? Question or Concern What is ionizing radiation? Question or Concern What is ionizing radiation?
Key Message/Fact 1 Ionizing radiation is a form of energy. Key Message/Fact 2 Too much radiation can affect your health. Key Message/Fact 3 You can protect yourself from too much radiation.
Supporting Fact 1-1 Some radiation occurs naturally, such as from the suns rays or radon gas from the earths crust. Supporting Fact 2-1 Health risks depend on the type of radiation, the amount of radiation received, and the exposure time. Supporting Fact 3-1 The less time a person is exposed to a source of radiation, the less the radiation that is received.
Supporting Fact 1-2 Some radiation is man-made, such as from x-rays or nuclear power plants. Supporting Fact 2-2 Health effects come from radiation penetrating the body or from radioactive material getting into or on the body. Supporting Fact 3-2 Radiation levels decrease the farther you get from the source.
Supporting Fact 1-3 There are four kinds of ionizing radiation alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron. Supporting Fact 2-3 Health effects can be immediate or may not be evident for many years. Supporting Fact 3-3 Radiation can be stopped by concrete, aluminum foil, clothing, lead, or even a sheet of paper, depending on what type of radiation it is.
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 spokespersons
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Step 2 Identify stakeholder questions and
  • Most questions related to a radiological/nuclear
    emergency can be anticipated.
  • Covello has developed for the NRC a list of 400
  • Anticipate being asked some of these questions.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map
  • Step 3 Identify common sets of concerns
  • Studies have shown that during a disaster, the
    public has 8-14 underlying concerns that it will
    want to be addressed.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map
  • 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
  • Step 4 (cont.) Develop Key Messages
  • Barrier to Communicating Key Messages
  • 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 percent.
  • This amounts to a loss of four grade levels
    below average learning capacity.

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

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (Step 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 seconds or less than 9 words for each key
    message and less than 9 seconds and 27
  • words for the three key messages (brevity).
  • Developing messages that are understandable,
    i.e., at the 6-8th grade level for communications

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (cont.)
  • Solutions to mental noise theory include (cont.)
  • 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., HPS, AAPM.
  • Using graphics and other visual aids to enhance
    key messages.
  • Balancing negative messages with positive,
    constructive, or solution-oriented key messages.
  • Avoiding unnecessary use of the words no, not,
    never, nothing, or none.

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map
  • Step 5 Develop supporting information
  • The dilemma
  • Facts about risk appear to play little or
    no role
  • in determining public perceptions and
  • concerns 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
  • Step 6 Conduct testing
  • Subject-matter expert review
  • Testing the message with key stakeholders or
    their surrogates
  • Sharing and testing with partners

Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map
  • Step 7 Plan for delivery
  • Which individuals/organizations are expected to
    receive 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 statement
  • News release
  • Fact sheet
  • Biography
  • Backgrounder
  • Media advisory
  • Opinion piece
  • Holding statement

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 communications 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. They can be used before a disaster
    occurs to let the community know that a radiation
    expert is available, if needed.
  • For publication
  • Ask about length (500-1,000 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 do they need to know?
  • Whats next?
  • Demonstrate control.
  • Demonstrate effective management.
  • Establish an organizational presence.
  • Enhance information flow to the media.

News Releases (2) 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-scene
  • 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 language!

An interview should be a choreographed
exchange of information
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
  • What to 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
  • Then stop talking!

During the Interview (2)
  • What not to do
  • Use I when you are the spokesperson
  • 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?
  • To whom did it happen?
  • How did it happen?
  • What was the damage?
  • Who is responsible?
  • What do you plan to do about it?
  • When will we get more information?

Develop Quick Responses Preparation, 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 you take 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

(No Transcript)
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.

Module 7
  • Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning

Emergency Communications Top 10 Planning
Checklist (1)
  • Form a crisis communications team.
  • Keep it as small as needed.
  • Staff it 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 68th 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 nontechnical, 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 8 Public Health 101
Medical Reserve Corps
  • The mission of the MRC is to establish teams of
    local volunteer medical and public health
    professionals who can contribute their skills
    and expertise throughout the year as well as
    during times of community need.
  • also nonhealth and medical volunteers

MRC Concept
  • Establish groups of volunteers with interest in
    strengthening the local public health system and
    providing help in emergencies
  • Organized/utilized locally, usually
  • Integrate with existing programs and resources in
    the community, public health, emergency
    management, etc.
  • Identify, credential, train, and prepare in

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? (online course 2.5 hours)

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, and 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
  • To provide the most fair, accurate, honest
  • Effects of media assistance
  • Helps reduce anxiety
  • Prepares the public for action
  • Warns the public of what may follow
  • Have the media work with us!

Media Relations
  • Are improved by knowing them before the
  • 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 on-site 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 a 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 message.
  • 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 case!

  • Crisis Emergency Risk Communications by Leaders
    for Leaders. CDC STARCC Principle online.
    Available at http//
    .pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.
  • Communication in Risk Situations. Mental Noise
    Theory online. Available at http//www.urmia.or
    g/library/docs/risk_comm_workbook.pdf. Accessed
    17 April 2013.
  • Communicating Radiation Risks. Crisis
    Communications for Emergency Responders online.
    Available at http//
    Dockey500025HA.txt. Accessed 17 April 2013.
  • Message Mapping, Risk and Crisis Communications
    online. Available at http//
    /MessageMapping.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.

  • Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication online.
    Available at http//
    SEPT02.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.
  • IRPA Guiding Principles for Radiation
    Protection Professionals on Stakeholder
    Engagement online. Available at
    Guiding-Principles.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.
  • 77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists
    During an Emergency or Crisis online. Available
    at https//
    -29-09.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.
  • Guidance on Developing Effective Radiological
    Risk Communication Messages online. Available
    at http//
    0.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2013.

Contact Information
  • John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP
  • Florida Department of Health in
  • Escambia County
  • 850-595-6557