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PRSA Luncheon Crisis
At the PRSA Phoenix luncheon yesterday we had the pleasure of listening to Michael Pooley, metro operations lieutenant and former PIO for the City of Tempe Police Department. He was responsible for operations during the 2013 Pat Tillman Run at ASU, just weeks following the bombing during the Boston Marathon. As most of you might know, our agency provides crisis communications services to a variety of clients and have shared quite a few examples in previous blog posts, as can be seen by a few of my most recent ones (and a surprising number about sports): Pooley had some great key points that are relevant for all of us working with organizations facing a crisis:
  • When dealing with a crisis "know your audience!" For instance, if you are the communications person for a school district, your target audience is first and foremost the parents of the kids in that district.
  • When dealing with crisis be prepared for the worst thing that could happen (and hope for the best!). Certainly bomb scares would be among the worst thing that could happen, having a plan in place for all situations means you’ll be prepared.
  • Ignoring the media won't make them go away! They will write the story whether you give them a quote or not. Better to be the one providing the information than a reporter get it from another source.
There were some great reminders as well, such as
  • Identifying the crisis team in advance and knowing who should speak and when
  • Identifying and training spokespeople
  • Know who the stakeholders are
  • Have prepared statements
It was a great event and it was great to hear Pooley not only speak about the pre-planning, process and post-process but also hear his real-world examples. What else do you think is important to remember when dealing with crisis communications?  
Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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