Being Prepared Key for Crisis Communications

I recently attended a Washington, DC Ragan Crisis Communications Workshop and wanted to pass along some PR strategies that we will keep in mind for our clients this hurricane season. While applicable for hurricanes these work for other crisis situations.

As stressful as hurricanes are for a senior living community, there are stories to share with the media that can bring positive attention.

Members of our staff are located outside of Florida as well so if we should lose power, we can count on them to keep the media informed and continue regular Facebook updates. In case of an emergency, they’ll be able to step in.

We also have established a media network (local TV, newspapers, senior housing associations, etc.) to contact on our client’s behalf for noteworthy hurricane stories.

  • In a crisis situation like a hurricane, the media is hungry for human interest stories—if you can feed us some good human interest stories with iPhone pictures, we can get this out to the media.
  • Make sure your residents and employees have signed media consent forms. The media will want full names and residents’ ages.
  • Before you hunker down, take advantage of media opportunities that may come along and the opportunity for community branding. Think about where your community’s logo can be seen:
    • Staff wearing logo t-shirts
    • People using logo water bottles
  • Have a step and repeat set up in a location that can be used as a backdrop for pictures, video, media interviews.
  • Facebooks posts are really appreciated by families. We need to set up a schedule and know who will be emailing us pictures and information.
  • This is a good time to also take advantage of the Spanish media in our area and provide some information in Spanish on Facebook and to the media.
  • We can use iPhone video and pictures such as staff working in the kitchen, residents enjoying an activity, residents playing with staff’s children.
  • The homepage on the community’s website is an excellent place for regular updates. Make sure someone can update it. We are happy to have our website technicians take a look at the site.   We can handle updates if we access to log in credentials.
  • If the community isn’t well established on Twitter, let’s focus on the community’s website and Facebook.
  • Post-event, we can let the media know if there is any significant damage to the community (if you will share the information with us and/or allow media on premises to film), recovery efforts being undertaken, or how the community is helping or giving back to others/seniors in the area.
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