Home > BLOG 3, Crisis Communication > Blog #3: FEMA & Crisis Communication

Blog #3: FEMA & Crisis Communication

The FEMA public information systems training  is a type of training that ties in perfectly with the University of Missouri’s Crisis Communication course. Thus far into the semester we have learned many common practices that FEMA’s training focuses on. Examples of these include the importance of establishing a common message, staying consistent , and communicating to the public messages of importance. FEMA’s training covers the information we have covered but at points takes us even deeper in understanding how to reach these goals.

One of the main means to reach these goals is through what FEMA calls a Joint Information System aka a JIS. As depicted below there are multiple individuals or organizations dealing with the same crisis or situation. While they may not be in the same location it is important that they are all communicating and remaining on the same page. Some carry on the role of a PIO, operating the JIC, or a spokesperson (all of which are also described in the graphic below). Through the constant communication with each other, the media, and the public they are able to send out a message that is consistent and factual. To confirm truth behind the message, PIOs are constantly following the media’s outputs to make sure what is being said is valid. Just as in Crisis Communication, a truthful and dependable message is the goal of those working in the midst of a crisis.

As previously mentioned, the JIS must send out a message to the public that is consistent and factual. Another component of the message is making sure what is said will not unnecessarily alarm the public. These goals are reached through similar goals we have learned about in Crisis Communication. In FEMA’s words, they are reached through gathering, verifying, coordinating, and disseminating information. To gather a deeper understanding as to what occurs in each of these phases refer to the graphic below.

Lastly, FEMA also recapped the importance of planning ahead. In class we have learned that it is extremely important to prepare for a crisis because while crises may not be expected they are inevitable. With all of this information from FEMA public information systems in addition to what we have learned in class, it is easy to understand the importance of communication in a crisis or situation. But more importantly it is easy to understand the importance of how to communicate in a crisis or situation.

  1. October 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Good overview of the FEMA public information training and its connection to other issues from class. Also, good focus on planning at the end of the post. This is what crisis communicators will spend much of their time doing, because the crisis occurrence and related response is rare.

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