Crisis communication tips
Communication tips for the public information officer (PIO) in a radiological emergency.
As a spokesman:
- Stay within the scope of responsibilities
- Tell the truth; be transparent
- Ensure there is a single official message
- Do not use technical terms
- Do not over-reassure
- Acknowledge uncertainty
- Express wishes ("I wish I had answers")
- Explain the process in place to find answers
- Acknowledge people's fear
- Give people things to do
Prepare to answer these questions:
- Are my family and I safe?
- What can I do to protect my family and myself?
- Who is in charge?
- Why did this happen?
- Why wasn't this prevented?
- What else can go wrong?
Stay on message:
- "What's important to remember..."
- "I can't answer that question, but I can tell you..."
- "Let me put this in perspective..."
- Repeat important points
Be coherent, consistent and helpful:
- We will do all we can to help you to make responsible decisions for yourself and your loved ones
- We will not engage in speculation
- We may need to withhold information that may aid terrorists