Friday, May 30, 2014
Remembering what is important in crisis communication - the CDC CERC pocket or emergency card
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are responsible for responding to public health threats like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This month they dealt with a case where the initial rapid screening test gave a false positive result that was not confirmed by more detailed analysis: Illinois man didn’t have MERS, CDC says.
How do their spokespersons stay on message? They have a handy Crisis Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) pocket card or emergency card to remind them what is important. On the front it says to:
BUILD TRUST AND CREDIBILITY BY EXPRESSING:
Empathy and caring
Competence and expertise
Honesty and openness
Commitment and dedication
and also gives these
Don’t over reassure.
Express wishes (‘I wish I had answers’).
Explain the process in place to find answers.
Acknowledge people’s fear.
Give people things to do.
Ask more of people (share risks).
The following section lists four things to do
AS A SPOKESMAN.
On the other side that card says to:
PREPARE TO ANSWER THESE (10) QUESTIONS
and STAY ON MESSAGE (four things).
At the bottom of the card is a reminder that
CONSISTENT MESSAGES ARE VITAL
BE FIRST. BE RIGHT. BE CREDIBLE.
The image of a thinker by Victor Alfred Lundy came from the Library of Congress.