[insert local authority name/logo here]
Final version of template: September 2007
This Emergency Information Response Plan template is a result of initiatives
carried out by the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee‘s Emergency Information
Communicators Working Group starting in March 2005.
The primary purpose of the Working Group was to:
Develop a shared understanding in the Information/Communications
Officer field regarding inter-municipal and regional mechanisms for
sharing and coordinating information provided both to the public, to the
media, and within the internal organizations in emergency situations.
The template is intended to assist Information Officers and/or Emergency
Program Coordinators in creating an Emergency Information Response Plan for
their local authority. The concept of managing emergencies and emergency
information is initiated at the site. While this template primarily focuses on
Emergency Operations Centres, the principles can be applied to the
management of emergency information at the various stages of an emergency,
including site level. Furthermore, this template is designed to reinforce the
ongoing coordination and interface between site and site support levels required
to ensure consistency of messaging and a cooperative approach to delivering
pertinent information to internal and external stakeholders.
Each organization‘s completed Plan should address the roles and
responsibilities, lines of authority and resources necessary to provide information
to the media, community, organization and external stakeholders during a major
emergency or disaster.
Plan developers and/or administrators must populate and validate this
template with information that is relevant to the specific structure, context
and resources of their organization/local authority. In general, key
information that needs to be modified or deleted is italicized and/or placed
within square brackets.
The importance of effectively reviewing and customizing all parts of this template
cannot be understated, as the context or specific characteristics of each
individual jurisdiction can not be fully addressed in a generic template.
In addition to the general template design, the response plan also provides a
sample ―Response Tool Kit‖ in Section 2.0. This tool kit is intended to provide
Information Officers with quick and easy access to key information and tools that
can assist with the initial response efforts.
The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee (JELC) produced this template with
contributions and support from the Emergency Information Communicators
Working Group; participants of the workshops, think tanks and exercises; and,
the Emergency Management Division of the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Working group members included emergency management and communications
professionals from local, regional, provincial and federal government together
with utilities and emergency communication service representatives.
This template has been reviewed by the Greater Vancouver Regional Emergency
Planning Committee and the Lower Mainland Communicators.
The Emergency Information Response Plan was also widely used during the
2006 winter storms‘ response and again during the 2007 spring freshet planning.
Feedback received from its use during these events was incorporated along with
the emergency exercise and workshop revisions; this final ‗approved‘ template is
the result. The JELC EIC working group would like to acknowledge the
numerous people and organizations who provided this invaluable feedback.
Funding for the JELC is provided jointly by Lower Mainland Municipalities and the
Provincial Government. Additional funding for this initiative was made possible
through a Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) cost-sharing grant
from the Federal Government.
One copy of this Plan and any future amendments must be delivered to each of
Distributed to: DEPARTMENT/
Mayor Office of the Mayor
Chief Administrative Administrative Offices
Manager Corporate Communications
Emergency Program Emergency Management
AMENDMENT SECTIONS AMENDED
NUMBER DATE OR ADDED INSERTED BY
KEEP THIS PLAN UP-TO-DATE AND ENSURE IT IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE.
Additional copies or current amendments may be requested from the [Corporate
Communications Department and/or Emergency Program Coordinator.]
[Insert endorsement from Senior Management and/or Elected Official.]
<Name of Local Authority>
Communication is a key factor in the local authority’s response to any major
emergency or disaster. When an event arises, timely, accurate, clear, concise
and credible messages have a tremendous impact on how the public reacts
during the emergency, and their perception of the response or recovery efforts.
This Emergency Information Response Plan has been designed to aid the
jurisdiction in responding to an event that overwhelms our regular information
communication processes. It spells out the crucial first steps and formalizes the
The goals of this Emergency Information Response Plan are to:
rapidly provide access to timely, accurate, clear, consistent and credible
information to the public, media, employees and external stakeholders;
address, as quickly as possible, rumours, inaccuracies and
coordinate communication efforts with partner organizations;
fulfill information requests from the publics, media, municipal staff and
other interested or affected parties;
eliminate or reduce public fear or inappropriate behaviour; and
direct resident and business community action.
I have reviewed and approved the attached Emergency Information Response
Plan and hereby pronounce that this is the information plan to follow during a
major emergency or disaster.
<Name and Title>
Table of Contents
1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................................... 1-1
1.1. Preface.................................................................................................................................................... 1-1
1.2. Purpose and Scope ................................................................................................................................. 1-2
1.3. Communication Principles & Policies ................................................................................................... 1-2
1.4. Training and Exercises ........................................................................................................................... 1-2
2. Response Tool Kit .......................................................................................................................................... 2-1
2.1. Section Overview .................................................................................................................................... 2-1
2.2. Critical Steps – The First Hours ............................................................................................................. 2-2
2.3. Message Development Worksheet .......................................................................................................... 2-5
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet ............................................................................................................................. 2-7
2.4. Information Officer – Position Description and Checklist ..................................................................... 2-8
2.5. Expanding the Information Officer Function ....................................................................................... 2-11
2.6. Spokesperson Information Sheet ........................................................................................................... 2-12
2.7. News Conference/Media Briefing Planning Checklist ......................................................................... 2-14
3. Concept of Operations ................................................................................................................................... 3-1
3.1. BCERMS/EOC Overview and Structure ................................................................................................. 3-1
3.2. Local Authority Roles and Responsibilities ............................................................................................ 3-3
3.3. Internal Information Verification and Approval Procedures ................................................................. 3-6
3.4. Plan Activation Procedures .................................................................................................................... 3-6
4. External Communication Roles .................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1. External Agency Roles and Responsibilities ........................................................................................... 4-1
4.2. Local Authorities and Local Government Bodies ................................................................................... 4-1
4.3. Provincial Government........................................................................................................................... 4-2
4.4. Federal Government ............................................................................................................................... 4-3
4.5. Message Expectations............................................................................................................................. 4-4
4.6. Message Timeline and Flow ................................................................................................................... 4-5
4.7. Joint Information Centre ........................................................................................................................ 4-6
5. Methods of Communication .......................................................................................................................... 5-1
5.1. Media Relations and Management ......................................................................................................... 5-1
5.2. Public Information.................................................................................................................................. 5-3
5.3. Internal Communication ......................................................................................................................... 5-6
5.4. External Communication ........................................................................................................................ 5-7
6. Hazard Specific Information ......................................................................................................................... 6-1
6.1. Frequently Asked Question Sheets .......................................................................................................... 6-1
6.2. Sources of Standard Hazard Messaging ................................................................................................. 6-6
6.3. Hazardous Materials Incidents............................................................................................................... 6-7
7. Appendices ...................................................................................................................................................... 7-1
Disasters and major emergencies can present difficult challenges for a
local authority. The effective exchange of emergency information with the
community and, more importantly, those impacted directly by the event is
critical to the success of the response. Planning for this exchange of
emergency information between internal and external stakeholders, the
community (both residents and businesses) and the media greatly
increases the local authority‘s chances of an effective response and
organized recovery from the emergency event.
This Response Plan will assist Information Officers in providing the media
with accurate information, help control rumours, and present a positive
image of your local government. More specifically, it will address the
organization‘s need to develop procedures to disseminate and respond to
requests for disaster information, including procedures to provide
information to internal and external audiences, including the media, and
manage their inquiries.
This includes the capacity to establish and maintain:
A central contact for the media – the Information Officer
A system for gathering, monitoring, and disseminating emergency
A method to coordinate and clear information for release
Pre-scripted information bulletins, FAQ‘s and fact sheets
Protective action guidelines/recommendations – standardized
It is important to recognize that the exchange of emergency information
does not and cannot occur in isolation of other response and recovery
activities. For this reason, this Plan is to be considered an Annex or
Appendix to the community‘s primary Emergency Plan. The Emergency
Information Response Plan expands upon the basic information provided
in the community‘s Emergency Plan and provides specific communication
information, systems/protocols and resources in support of the Information
Officer‘s duties within the Emergency Operations Centre, at an Incident
Command Post or at other related sites (i.e., ESS Reception Centre…).
However, the Plan does not address or respond to the day-to-day
communication needs or other crisis communication needs that the local
authority may face. Existing policies, procedures or protocols should be in
place to address these other crisis communication issues.
1.2. Purpose and Scope
The purpose of the Emergency Information Response Plan is to provide
Information Officers with direction, information and resources when
responding to the emergency information needs of the local authority. This
is done so that a standardized, efficient and coordinated communications
response occurs both internally and inter-jurisdictionally.
There is information within this Plan that may support others involved in
the exchange of information, such as the Emergency Program Coordinator
or designated spokespersons, but the intended audience of the Plan is the
Information Officer and their team of information communicators.
The scope of this Plan is intended to support communication activities
from initial response through to the recovery phase of a major emergency.
1.3. Communication Principles & Policies
The plan‘s communication principles are designed to strategically guide
the way in which an organization communicates with staff, the community
and media during a disaster. As an organization identify your
communications principles by addressing questions such as:
- what is the commitment to the staff, community and media?;
- generally what are the top priorities in a disaster (e.g. the
organization‘s top priority is the safety and well-being of our
employees and the community and this principle guides all
decisions and actions regarding communications)?,
- how would you describe the way in which you intend to
communicate with stakeholders (e.g. to be open, honest,
accessible, and compassionate)?
As part of this section, also include any corporate policies that may
influence who talks to the media or coordinates the media requests, who
determines the organization‘s spokesperson, what type of information staff
at every level should address when speaking with the media/public, etc.
1.4. Training and Exercises
Even the best plan cannot fully prepare the local authority to effectively
respond and recover from a disaster or major emergency. Therefore, the
local authority has a training and exercise program in place, which
complements this Response Plan. Plan orientations and training are to be
provided to all personnel with assigned response duties. Exercises are
conducted in connection with the organization‘s overall emergency
program at least once a year.
For further information on the training and exercise program, contact the
[Corporate Communications Manager] or the Emergency Program
2. Response Tool Kit
2.1. Section Overview
This section consists of a variety of checklists, worksheets, information sheets
and other tools to assist the Information Officer and their team in completing key
responsibilities during an incident. Specifically, this includes:
Critical Steps – The First Hours - A checklist that identifies the crucial steps to
be considered and or acted upon during the first hours of a major emergency.
Depending on the magnitude and scope of the event (there may be additional
requirements) this list provides a starting point for the Information Officer and
Message Development Worksheet – The development of your key messages
is critical to effective communication. This worksheet walks you through a five-
step process in developing these messages.
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet – The way you are able to respond to media
calls may make a difference in how the media portrays the jurisdiction‘s
responsiveness and professionalism. This tracking sheet provides a start to
managing the surge of media calls that may be received. An expanded version of
this tool is also available in Appendix H.
Information Officer - Position Description and Checklist – Within the EOC
environment every function has a position checklist. Understanding your role
during the activation, operational and demobilization phases within the EOC will
assist greatly in addressing the information needs.
Expanding the Information Officer Function – As the complexity and/or size of
an event increase, there may be a time when key information activities need to
be divided into functional areas to best respond to the complexity and diversity of
the workload. This information sheet provides an overview of common functional
areas that might need to be considered.
Spokesperson Information Sheet – There are times when your designated
spokesperson may want a quick review of speaking tips, especially if they have
not had sufficient time to prepare for a public statement. This information sheet
would be helpful in preparing for any public interview.
News Conference/Media Briefing Planning Checklist – Need to arrange a
media briefing or news conference? This checklist provides some key
information to consider.
2.2. Critical Steps – The First Hours
ACTIVATION – Incident Commander Done
1 Identify initial threat/risk information
2 Identify what information the community already has; what information is
already in stream to come out
3 Identify need for community and interagency information
4 Appoint Field Information Officer (may be municipal information officer, or
may be agency representative). Don red IO vest.
SITE COORDINATION – Field Information Officer / Incident Commander Done
1 Incident Commander or Field Information Officer (FIO) to notify Senior
Information Officer (SIO) of anticipated information needs
2 Determine location at site for media gathering
3 Determine anticipated staffing needs at site for additional information support
4 Discuss communications strategy and message coordination with SIO
ACTIVATION and COORDINATION – Senior Information Officer Done
1 Activate EOC Information Officer function, as needed, report to EOC Director
2 Notify initial information/communication team of activation
3 Set-up and equip physical workspace
4 Confirm operational status of communication systems with Logistics Section
(i.e., phone, cellular, fax, email, internet…)
5 Confirm internal communication/information processes with EOC Team
6 Dispatch Field Information Officer(s)/Personnel to incident site(s), as required
7 Confirm communication protocols with supporting agencies/organizations – is
there a need for a JIC?
SITUATION ASSESSMENT – SIO or Delegate Done
1 Gather and confirm facts with EOC Planning & Management Team:
What happened? What was done to prevent/mitigate the situation? What can
be done to prevent it from getting worse? What are other organizations doing to
address the event? Is there any investigation? If so, who is involved? How has
the organization been directly impacted? Is the organization‘s workforce
impacted? What level of damage has been reported?
2 Determine who is being affected by the event:
What do they want/need to know? What are their perceptions? What should the
public be doing?
3 Activate media and internet monitoring:
What is being said about the event/incident? Is it accurate?
4 Obtain technical/subject matter expertise, as required.
ESTABLISH INITIAL PRIORITIES and KEY MESSAGING – SIO
1 Determine initial information/communication priorities and strategies
2 Initiate development of key messages (i.e., objectives, audiences, content…)
3 Determine anticipated staffing needs for (EOC, call centre, media centre,
shift changes, etc).
4 Organize assignments and develop work plans
MEDIA RELATIONS Done
1 Confirm media contacts and direct them to current information from your
2 Confirm and brief the organization‘s spokesperson(s)
3 Prepare and coordinate initial media briefing/news release
4 Prepare media packages (fact sheets, FAQ‘s maps, etc.)
5 Organize media schedule
6 Record/track all media enquiries
7 Establish media centre, briefing facilities and media briefing schedule as
8 Provide regular updates for media including briefings, conferences and
9 Monitor media for accuracy and advise on corrections as needed
PUBLIC INFORMATION Done
1 Develop and release precautionary, life-safety or threat information
Express empathy, public concern; reassure public of the plan that is in place
2 Establish call centre/hotline to provide information and respond to public
3 Start public call monitoring to catch trends; identify rumours and build FAQs
4 Activate the emergency internet site and post current event information.
5 Develop and release multi-lingual messaging as necessary
6 Develop, review and/or implement strategies to advise public about
7 Develop and release public responder/volunteer information as necessary
INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS Done
1 Establish and coordinate Policy Group (Mayor/Council/Board) briefings
2 Provide employees with personal safety and up-to-date event/incident
3 Establish employee information line
4 Develop/provide public messaging sheets for frontline personnel (i.e.,
operators, switchboard, reception, call centre, responders)
5 Advise employees on protocols/procedures for responding to media
6 Obtain regular event information/briefings from Operations and Planning
7 Ensure key message and updates are provided to all functions including
Field Information Officers, emergency call centre, media centre,
EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS Done
1 Via the Liaison Officer, advise partners and stakeholders of current situation
2 Through the agencies‘ Information Officer, maintain close communications
with relevant external agencies (i.e., neighbouring jurisdictions, school
districts, health authority, provincial regional EOC, response agencies…)
3 Establish/follow protocols for release of public information including
processes for ensuring messages are consistent across jurisdictions
4 Attend media briefings/news conferences put on by relevant outside
5 Request and monitor news releases, FAQs and other external documents
from outside agencies to include on website and in other mediums, as
MONITOR, EVALUATE AND REVIEW Done
1 Continually review and revise key messaging on (website, public, internal…)
2 Update and distributed/post revised FAQ Sheets
3 Monitor media for misinformation and advise on corrections as needed
2.3. Message Development Worksheet
Message Number: Date/Time:
Step 1: Decide on the three key message topics:
Step 2: Consider the following:
Audience: Purpose of Message: Method of Delivery:
Demographics (age, Call to action/public Through spokesperson/in-
language, culture) direction person
Relationship to event Clarify event status Web release
Level of concern Give facts and/or provide Call centre/frontline
Address rumours Radio
Satisfy media requests Print media release
Step 3: Consider the six emergency message components:
1. Expression of
2. Clarify Facts
3. What we are
5. Statement of
6. For more info:
Step 4: Develop complete key message for each of the three message topics
Step 5: Check your message for the following and revise as needed
Positive action steps Tested for clarity Humour avoided
Honest open tone Jargon avoided Judgmental phrases avoided
Speaking only on behalf of Simple words, short Speculation and
your organization sentences used assumptions avoided
Information is confirmed Aware of difficult ?s Negativity avoided
Time Media Reporters Callback Request/ Call Status
Outlet Name Number(s) Action taken or
required – By
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet
2.4. Information Officer – Position Description and Checklist
1. Serve as the coordination point for all public information, media relations and internal
information sources for the EOC.
2. Coordinate and supervise all staff assigned as Assistant/Field Information Officers and
3. Ensure that the public within the affected area receives complete, accurate, and
consistent information about life safety procedures, public health advisories, relief and
assistance programs and other vital information.
4. Ensure that a Toll-Free Public Information Service (hotline or call centre) is
established for the public to access helpful information and advice. Provide the call
takers with timely and accurate messaging sheets so that they offer only confirmed
and approved information.
5. Serve as the coordination point for all media releases for the EOC.
6. Coordinate media releases with officials representing other affected emergency
7. Develop the format for press conferences and briefings in conjunction with the EOC
8. Maintain a positive relationship with the media representatives, monitoring all
broadcasts and written articles for accuracy.
9. In consultation with EOC Director and Liaison Officer, coordinate VIP and visitor tours
of the EOC facility.
10. Develop helpful messaging sheets and/or FAQ sheets (frequently asked questions
and answers) to ensure consistent and accurate information sharing amongst EOC
11. Maintain a website established for EOC information, as appropriate.
12. Liaise with the Information Officers at site(s) other EOC‘s, DOC‘s, MROC‘s, PREOC
and other external agencies.
Activation Phase Checklist:
Check in with the Personnel Unit (in Logistics) upon arrival at the EOC. Obtain an
identification card and vest, if available.
Complete EOC Check-In List (EOC 511) and EMBC/PEP Task Registration Form (EOC
Report to EOC Director to obtain current situation status, messages that need to get
out, messages that are already out, and specific job responsibilities expected of you.
Set up your workstation and review your Position Checklist, forms and flowcharts.
Establish and maintain a Position Log (EOC 414) that chronologically describes the
actions you take during your shift.
Determine your resource needs, such as a computer, phone, fax, stationary, plan
copies, and other reference documents.
Participate in any facility/safety orientations as required.
Assess information skill areas required in the function such as: writing, issues
management, media relations and event planning.
Determine staffing requirements (both immediate and ongoing) and designate
personnel assignments within the Information function.
Operational Phase Checklist:
Obtain policy guidance and approval from the EOC Director with regard to all
information to be released to the media and public.
Refer to the jurisdiction‘s Information Communicators Response Plan and/or Crisis
Communications Plan, sample forms, templates and other information materials, as
appropriate. (See sample EOC 420 to 425.)
Keep the EOC Director advised of all unusual requests for information and of all major
critical or unfavourable media comments. Recommend procedures or measures to
improve media relations.
Coordinate with the Situation Unit and identify method for obtaining and verifying
significant information as it develops.
Develop and publish a media briefing schedule, to include location, format, and
preparation and distribution of handout materials.
Implement and maintain an overall information release program.
Establish a Media Information Centre, as required, providing necessary space,
materials, telephones and electrical power.
Maintain up-to-date status boards and other references at the media information
centre. Provide adequate staff to answer questions from members of the media.
As needed, establish a Toll-Free Public Information Service and/or call centre to
handle public inquiries and provide emergency support information. Consult with
Logistics for communication equipment needs and set-up.
Interact with other EOCs as well as the PREOC and obtain information relative to
public information operations.
Establish distribution lists for recipients of all public information releases. Include Field
Information Officers, PREOC Information Section, other EOCs' Information Officers,
Local Authorities, Mayors and elected officials, local MLAs‘ and MPs‘ constituency
offices, First Nations Groups, the Toll-free Public Information Service (hotline or call
Approved by the EOC Director, issue timely and consistent advisories and instructions
for life safety, health, and assistance for the public. Liaise with Risk Management
Officer to check for any potential liability or safety concerns.
At the request of the EOC Director, prepare media briefings for elected officials and/or
Policy Group members and provide other assistance as necessary to facilitate their
participation in media briefings and news conferences.
Ensure that adequate staff is available at incident sites to coordinate and conduct
tours of the disaster areas when safe.
Arrange through logistics appropriate staffing and telephones to efficiently handle
incoming media and public calls.
In addition to identifying help sources contained within press releases, PSAs and
bulletins, maintain a Disaster Assistance Information Directory, with numbers and
locations to obtain food, shelter, supplies, health services, etc.
Develop message statements for EOC Staff and the call takers of the toll-free hotline.
Ensure that announcements, emergency information and materials are translated and
prepared for special populations (non-English speaking, hearing impaired etc.).
Monitor all media, using information to develop follow-up news releases and rumour
control, consult with Risk Management Officer on appropriate wording and actions to
take on correcting false or erroneous information.
Ensure that file copies are maintained of all information released.
Promptly provide copies of all media releases to the EOC Director.
Conduct shift change briefings in detail, ensuring that in-progress activities are
identified and follow-up requirements are known.
Demobilization Phase Checklist:
Prepare final news releases and advise media representatives of points-of-contact for
Assist EOC Director with demobilization procedures and contribute items of interest to
the EOC After Action Report.
Deactivate your assigned position and close out logs when authorized by the EOC
Director or designate.
Complete all required forms, reports, and other documentation. All forms and
paperwork should be submitted through to the Planning Section (Documentation Unit),
as appropriate, prior to your departure.
Clean up your work area before you leave. Return any communications equipment or
other materials specifically issued for your use.
Leave a forwarding phone number where you can be reached.
Follow EOC checkout procedures. Return to Personnel Unit (in Logistics) to sign out.
Be prepared to provide input to the After Action Report.
Upon request, participate in formal post-operational debriefs.
Access critical incident stress debriefings, as needed.
2.5. Expanding the Information Officer Function
When dictated by the size or complexity of an event, the role of the Information
Officer may be divided into various functional areas. The specific responsibilities
of each function and the number of personnel assigned will need to be clearly
defined when the actual needs of the event are known. The following list provides
a general overview of some potential functions.
2.5.1. Media Coordination
Manages media enquiries - prioritizing requests according to deadlines
Supports spokesperson and seeks out alternate spokespersons as required
Identifies opportunities to promote key messages
Anticipates the direction of media enquiries and assists in preparing effective
Assists with strategic message development with Information Officer and
2.5.2. Media Monitoring/Research
Monitors media coverage and seeks to correct inaccuracies
Provides summaries of coverage from all outlets, as well as actual, specific
examples of coverage to be corrected
Maintains related research files
May be a contracted service through an outside source, with pre-determined
2.5.3. Clerical Support
Oversees distribution systems, including e-mail and fax for external and
Establishes routine procedure for ensuring appropriate proofreading, sign-off
and quick delivery of information products
Assigns and coordinates copying jobs, and may distribute fact sheets to
media and other external and internal audiences
Function may be provided by the Clerical Unit in the Logistics Section and
would work closely with Documentation Unit in Planning
2.5.4. VIP and Special Events
Ensures elected officials, VIP‘s and community group leaders are informed of
applicable organizational communication activity
Coordinates VIP roles in tours, public events, memorial services, and other
Provides a communication channel between elected leaders and
organization‘s senior administration
Needs to be sensitive to the perceptions/reality of action that could be
2.5.5. Call Centre
Provides the community with event-specific information; monitors and
responds to their questions and concerns.
Directs/coordinates a team of call centre operators
Monitors out-going messages and correct inaccuracies
Monitors enquiries to support FAQ development and rumour control
2.5.6. Media Centre
Coordinates media facility/centre
Liaises with media representatives
Supports the release and exchange of information with the media
Deals with rumours, gathers facts and holds briefings
Addresses physical and/or logistical needs of the centre with support from the
Logistics Section in the EOC
2.6. Spokesperson Information Sheet
Whenever possible, the media should be directed to a designated spokesperson
or Information Officer. There are times when, with microphones on and cameras
running, this may not be possible. The following tips might be helpful during any
Acknowledge the media‘s presence
Avoid blocking a camera or saying ―no comment‖
If you have other urgent matters to attend to, tell them and redirect them or
provide a timeframe when comments can be made
Whenever possible, direct the media to the Information Officer or agency
Don‘t forget the local media if overwhelmed by provincial, national or even
international media outlets. The local folks will be with you for the long haul
CAC Messaging Technique - When required to make an unprepared statement
remember to express:
Concern – Make sure the reporter knows that you and your organization are
concerned about the health and well-being of those involved and of the overall
Action – Outline the steps/processes that are being taken to help people during
and after this emergency. Answer factual questions about what is happening.
Commitment – Emphasize that the goal of your organization/the
response/recovery is to support those impacted to the greatest extent possible.
Stick to the facts - don‘t offer personal opinions or speculate
If you don‘t know, offer to find the answer, or refer the reporter to someone
who might know
Don‘t comment on the investigations of others, even if you might know the
Do not disclose personal/confidential information about those involved or
the event, unless authorized to do so
If key messaging or an ―issues note‖ is available for the topic being
discussed – use it and stick to the key messaging whenever possible
Whenever possible, respect the timelines/deadlines of the different media
Remember, you have the right to end the interview
―The most important point is…‖
―That is a matter for…‖
―Before we wrap up, I‘d like to emphasize…‖
―That depends. One thing for certain is…‖
―That would be speculation. What I can tell you is…‖
―That is true. However, it‘s important to remember…‖
2.7. News Conference/Media Briefing Planning Checklist
Suitable location has been selected.
Location is safe for media and officials.
Sufficient space is available for anticipated number of media.
Space meets technical requirements of media (i.e., lighting, electrical…)
Inviting the Media:
Event has been scheduled at a time suitable to the different media outlets
and their deadlines.
Reporters from all media types (i.e., print, television, radio…) have been
Local media outlets have not been overlooked.
Brief Media Advisory has been sent out to media with information on news
If matter is urgent, reporters/news directors/editors have been contacted in
Appropriate type of spokesperson set-up has been determined (sitting,
standing or other…).
Professional stage, lighting and sound, have been arranged as necessary.
Rental of any other necessary equipment has been arranged.
All necessary tables and chairs have been set-up.
Podium and back drop have been set-up as required (make sure flags are
displayed as per standard protocol).
Line feed/multiplexer has been provided for podium microphone.
Refreshments have been arranged as necessary (water for speakers).
Signage has been posted directing media to conference/briefing area.
Media registration desk has been established at entrance to
Location has been provided at the rear of the room to accommodate
Room has been configured to provide speakers with an exit route that does
not require them to make their way through the audience.
Media packages are provided at registration table with backgrounders,
FAQ‘s, biographies of speakers (as necessary), or other relevant
Attendance of ―non-speaking‖ response personnel has been limited at
Prior to entering room, meet with Spokesperson(s) to determine key
messages and speaker order.
Person has been designated to moderate the event.
Moderator or speakers are prepared to introduce themselves by name, title
It has been identified in advance if questions will be taken or if only a
statement will be made.
Media has been advised of time permitted/schedule for questions (they
understand there will be a limit to questions).
A person has been identified to select reporters who will be asking
Media has been advised that only questions pertaining to the topic at hand
will be discussed (use as applicable).
Person has been designated to coordinate visuals/PowerPoint, as
Copies of any visuals used have been made available to the media.
Following news conference/media briefing, assess:
Were key messages delivered?
How was the spokesperson‘s delivery?
Any ―next day‖ issues to prepare for?
Any need to follow-up with specific media to clarify issues?
What can be done next time to improve the event?
3. Concept of Operations
3.1. BCERMS/EOC Overview and Structure
The [local authority] utilizes the British Columbia Emergency Response
Management System (BCERMS) in response to major emergencies and
Site Level Incident Command Post (ICP)
Site Support Level Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)
Provincial Regional Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre
Coordination Level (PREOC)
Provincial Central Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre (PECC)
Activation and operation of the site and site support levels are the
responsibility of the local authority. The provincial regional and provincial
central levels are the responsibility of the provincial government.
LEVEL KEY FEATURES
Site Command of incident/event occurs at this level
(single or unified command)
Resources applied to solve the problems
Responders may come from all levels of
government or other agencies/organizations
Site Support Activates to support large or complex events
Provides policy direction, coordination of agencies,
and resource management
Ensures effective communications, public
information and appropriate warnings
Provincial Regional Coordinates, facilitates and manages information,
Coordination policy direction and regional resources
Provides support to local authorities
Coordinates provincial agency response
Provincial Central Coordinates provincial resources and prioritizes
Coordination provincial government objectives
Provides support to Provincial Regional
Links to the federal disaster support system
At all levels of BCERMS, a consistent structure is used to effectively
respond to an incident. This structure consists of the following five
Command or Management
Operations Planning Logistics
Section Section Section
3.1.1. Emergency Operations Centre
When activated for large or complex emergency events, the Emergency
Operations Centre (EOC) is the location where key management
decisions are made on behalf of the local authority.
When fully expanded, the EOC consists of the following functions:
EOC Provincial Regional
Director Coordination Level
Deputy Director Liaison Representatives
Operations Planning Logistics Finance/Admin
Section Section Section Section
Air Functional Information
Situation Technology Time
Special Fire Resources Communications Procurement
Operations Computer Systems
Police Documentation Compensation
EOC Support and Claims
DOC's Advance Planning
Security Cost Accounting
Incident Environmental Personnel
Commander(s) Technical Specialists
Dependent upon the scope and complexity of the emergency event, only
the required functions need to be staffed. When a function is not staffed,
the responsibility of that function moves to the next higher position within
3.1.2. EOC Reporting Structure
Within the EOC, the functions which have most responsibility for
information and communication management include the Planning Section
and the Information Officer. The Information Officer and the Planning
Section Chief both report to the EOC Management Team and to the EOC
When activated, the EOC is the central location where emergency
information communication issues are handled. Although Information
Officers or other information communicators may reside at various
response sites and facilities, the overall coordination, management and
approval of the information need to originate from the Information Officer
and ultimately the EOC Director within the Emergency Operations Centre.
The Information Officer would also be responsible for supporting and
supervising any assistants, the emergency call centre and media centre
coordinators or additional support personnel who are assigned to their
function. Details on these additional functions can be found in the Internal
Roles and Responsibilities Section of this Plan.
3.2. Local Authority Roles and Responsibilities
This section provides a high-level overview of roles and responsibilities of
the designated positions as it relates to emergency information
communication. For more detailed responsibilities, refer to the individual
Position Checklists within the EOC Operational Guidelines and/or the local
authorities Emergency Plan.
NOTE: The bracketed title following each position reflects the most
common BCERMS/EOC function that these positions may fill during a
response. This may vary between different organizations.
3.2.1. Mayor and Council/Board (Policy Group)
The role of the Mayor and Council is to act as the Policy Group for the
Emergency Operations Centre Director, and in doing so to establish over-
arching priorities for the local authority during the emergency. Their role is
also to approve Declarations of State of Local Emergency and fulfill other
high level responsibilities in support of the event.
With respect to the provision of information, the responsibility of the Policy
Group is to support the EOC Director and Information Officer(s) by:
Advising on the direction and suitability of emergency public
Establishing an appropriate spokesperson from Council
Representing the local authority at public events, forums or town hall
meetings, as requested
Preparing for and speaking on behalf of the local authority at news
conferences/media briefings, as requested
3.2.2. Chief Administrative Officer (EOC Director)
The role of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is to retain overall
management responsibility by assuming the role of EOC Director. The
EOC Director‘s role is not to direct site activities but rather to ensure the
coordination of site and supporting organizations, maintain EOC
organizational effectiveness and ensure appropriate risk management
principles are applied.
With respect to the provision of information communication, the role of the
EOC Director is to:
Assign, supervise and support the Information Officer with the
implementation of effective information communication strategies
Review all news releases, and other public information materials for
Facilitate the identification of and ensure the resolution of critical
information communication issues within the EOC Management Team
Ensure the Policy Group has current and accurate information in order
to effectively address their responsibilities
Represent the local authority at public events, forums, town hall
meetings, news conferences and media briefings, as required
3.2.3. Corporate Communications Manager (Information Officer)
The Information Officer is the coordination point for all public information,
media relations, and internal and external communication pertaining to the
emergency event. This includes the supervision of any support personnel,
emergency call centre and media centre staff.
More specifically, the Information Officer is responsible for:
Ensuring that the public within the effected area receive complete,
accurate and consistent information about life-safety issues, and
response and recovery activities
Ensuring that the local authority has suitable capacity to receive and
address enquiries from the public
Liaise with and support Information Officers who may be located at
other sites or response facilities
Developing and providing local authority personnel with relevant and
accurate event information
Writing and coordinating news releases with officials representing
other responding agencies or authorities
Maintaining positive media relations
Facilitating news conferences and media briefings
Monitoring and correcting media broadcasts to ensure accuracy
REFER to the Information Officer‘s Position Description and Checklist
found in this plan for a more detailed description of duties and
3.2.4. Senior Management/Directors (Section Chief)
The role of Senior Management and Directors will depend upon the
specific roles that are assigned to them. As suitable, senior management
may be appointed to an Information Officer or Section Chief role on the
EOC Management Team.
In general, with respect to the provision of information, the responsibility of
the Management Team is to support the EOC Director and Information
Advising them on any public information or media issues that are
brought to their attention
Providing timely and accurate operational information pertaining to
their assigned areas of responsibility
Ensuring that the personnel they oversee are familiar with the
organization‘s expectation around the release of public information and
3.2.5. Senior Response Personnel (Incident Commanders)
Depending on the nature of the response, Senior Response Personnel
(i.e., Fire Chief, Police Chief…) from the local authority may find it
necessary to take on the role of Incident Commander, who oversees the
first responder activities at the site.
As part of the overall management of the incident site, the Incident
Commander is responsible for addressing the information issues at the
site or they may assign an Information Officer to fulfill this function.
The Incident Commander or, if assigned, the Information Officer at the site
is responsible for:
Communicating with the EOC, when activated, on any media relations,
communications or public information requirements or issues
Determining and communicating any restrictions on the release of
information to the EOC or other agencies
Supporting the EOC on the development of public information and
Represent the local authority at designated response related forums,
town hall meetings, news conferences and media briefings, if fulfilling
Incident Commander duties
Supporting the EOC with the media or VIP tours of the response sites
and activities, as suitable
There are various individuals from within the organization, who could be
designated as an official spokesperson. The designated spokesperson
should be charismatic, confident and caring as they are in a position to
bring the organization to life. They will be reaching various audiences
where written words could not, and will be putting a personal face on the
In general, the spokesperson is responsible for:
Developing personal skills as an effective spokesperson
Being involved in the development of the message to strengthen
confidence and ownership when speaking
Understanding the organization‘s policies and the events requirements
around the release of information
Staying within the scope of his responsibilities, unless authorized to
speak for others
Telling the truth and being as open as possible
REFER to the Section 2.7 for a Spokesperson Information Sheet, which
provides additional information on speaking to the media.
3.3. Internal Information Verification and Approval Procedures
During the activation of the Emergency Operations Centre, all public
releases of information must be reviewed and approved by the EOC
Director. Depending on the nature of the information, the EOC Director
may also require that this information be reviewed and approved by the
The EOC Director will expect that all response-related information is first
verified through the Operations Section Chief and/or the relevant Incident
No information should be released to the public without first being
reviewed, verified and/or approved by the management representatives
(Section Chiefs or Officers) from applicable functions within the EOC.
[Modify, adjust this section to reflect additional internal approval
requirements or processes from your organization.]
3.4. Plan Activation Procedures
This Plan is an Annex to the local authorities‘ Emergency Plan and/or
EOC Plan and specifically supports the Information Officer within the
Emergency Operations Centre. As such, this Plan is activated once the
EOC has been activated.
Note: Although this Plan is designed to support the Information Officer
within the EOC, there are resources within this Plan that may be useful
during any crisis communication response.
Should an event occur of significant magnitude to require activation of the
Emergency Operations Centre, the Incident Commander initiates the
activation of the Emergency Information function or the EOC by notifying
the Emergency information Officer or EOC Director. Staff with pre-
designated response roles will report to the EOC at the following location.
Primary EOC Location: [Insert Primary EOC Location]
Alternate EOC Location: [Insert Secondary EOC Location]
Once the scope of the information/communication needs have been
identified, additional personnel may need to be mobilized.
General EOC personnel will be mobilized as described in the local
authorities Emergency Plan, according to Emergency Call Out
Mobilization of personnel with specific information/communication skill
sets will be the responsibility of the Information Officer or their designate.
The Information Officers Contact List, which is located in Appendix D of
this Plan, can provide easy reference to these personnel.
Note: It is the responsibility of the [Corporate Communications Manager] to
maintain appropriate contact lists for internal IO personnel/resources,
external stakeholder/resources and media representatives/outlets.
4. External Communication Roles
4.1. External Agency Roles and Responsibilities
With various levels of government and other autonomous organizations
involved in a response effort, it can be difficult to maintain a strong
understanding of and connection with these different agencies.
With multi-jurisdictional and regional level events, a strong understanding
of the communication role and responsibilities is critical for clear and
consistent public communications. Emergency Information
Communicators should establish pre-event contact with their counterparts
at external agencies in order to further clarify roles and facilitate effective
communications when an event occurs.
The sections below provide a general overview of the roles of various
agencies. Further information on external communications can also be
found in Section 5.4 of this Plan.
4.2. Local Authorities and Local Government Bodies
In addition to the activities of the affected organization, other local
authorities/local government bodies (i.e., municipalities, regional districts,
school boards, health authorities…) may also have a responsibility to
release public information about an event. When information is relayed to
the public, it is a safe bet that the information will not remain within the
political/jurisdictional boundaries of the issuing agency. For this reason, it
is critical that a mechanism be implemented to review content for general
The public, media, internal and external communications role of other local
authorities/local government bodies may include:
The release of information about the direct impact to their organization
including their departments, services, employees or citizens/clients
For municipal governments, the release of information pertaining to the
public within their jurisdiction
For regional districts, the release of information pertaining to regional
services (i.e., drinking water, air quality…) and public safety issues in
unincorporated (electoral) areas.
4.3. Provincial Government
Provincial government communication is handled through the Public
Affairs Bureau (PAB). The Bureau has the responsibility for leading and
coordinating communications with internal and external stakeholders.
Public Affairs Bureau TEAMS members usually staff the PECC or PREOC
information functions, but in smaller, short-lived or quickly escalating
incidents--program staff or contractors may staff these functions.
Responsibilities and reporting structure are consistent regardless of the
person in the position.
When the provincial emergency management structure is activated,
Information Officers within the PECC or PREOC report to the Director
within the applicable coordination/operations centre. If provincial TEAMS
Information Officers are providing support at a local authority EOC--they
report to the EOC Director. Likewise, if they are at site they report to the
When the PREOC is activated to a higher level, deployed provincial
TEAMS Information Officers (IO) will work in a coordinated manner with
spokespeople and information officers in other involved agencies and
levels of government to support their counterparts at the local authority
The British Columbia Crisis Communications Strategy for Major Provincial
Emergencies is used to guide the activities of provincial Information
Officers. The strategy is an all-hazards approach, which outlines
procedures and best practices in activating public information units within
the BCERMS structure.
Depending on their place within the structure, provincial information
officers will ensure appropriate information is provided to the public and
media, which may include:
Upon request, supporting local authority in gaining information to
provide timely, accurate public safety information, which could include
such things as weather forecasts, stream conditions, provincial
highway and road status
Informing the public, media, local governments and stakeholders as to
what measures the Province has in place.
The status of any activated public information services including the
Central Registration and Inquiry Bureau (CRIB) which provides family
Information about emergency management structure and operational
protocols in emergency situations
Provide media, public and stakeholders with regular updates/overview
on regional or provincial situation through appropriate spokesperson(s)
and arrange media, news conference and VIP tours as directed
4.4. Federal Government
Unless federal departments or areas under federal jurisdiction are
impacted by the event, the federal government will generally not release
specific information pertaining to the event.
When federal resources are activated they will assess their impact and
communication with the next level lower of government to provide
assistance as requested.
The emergency communications role of the Federal Government may
Release of information about impacted federal departments/ services
and public safety messaging for areas under federal jurisdiction;
Release of information about the federal governments support to the
province and disaster funding assistance.
The federal government would be involved in an emergency in the
The provincial government requests federal support or resources;
The federal government is implementing the national support plan;
A federal department is the lead agency and may require resources
from other federal departments;
Federal assets have been or may be impacted by the emergency in
which business recovery/continuity efforts need to be implemented.
Public Safety Canada coordinates and supports with federal departments,
international and other levels of government, first responders, community
groups, and private sector.
If the federal government is the lead during an emergency, a federal
agency is designated as the organization within whose jurisdiction the
emergency falls. In this role, the agency leads communications efforts
related to the emergency.
National headquarters (Ottawa) coordinates and initiates decision-making
across various federal departments through the Government Operations
Centre (GOC) which operates 24/7. Public Affairs headquarters delivers
communications during an emergency and also deploys surge capacity to
the local level. At the regional level, PUBLIC SAFETY CANADA provides
site support fostering cooperation and information flow between federal
departments and with the Province.
A Federal /Provincial MOU is in place allowing the Province to request
federal emergency communications assistance in support of the Province.
4.5. Message Expectations
Following an event, the public may not distinguish the types of questions
that are appropriate for each level of government, but will rather direct
questions to all levels of government. The public may be asking
government the following questions:
Local What is happening?
Who is responsible?
What are you doing about it?
What is the impact to me?
How can I assist?
Provincial/Federal What compensation is provided?
What controls/regulations are in
Why did this happen?
Why was this allowed to happen?
Why did you not prevent it?
Who is responsible?
Likewise, the type of information provided by the different levels of
government will also differ. The following table provides an indication of
the types of messages that could be expected from each level of
Local Public Safety/Risk Message (What to do…)
ESS Information (Reception Centres)
Evacuation Routes/Road Closures
States of Local Emergency
Public Reassurance Future Plans/Timelines
Contact/Further Information Direction
Provincial Impact/Involvement of Ministries/Agencies
Support Role of Province
Messages from Technical Experts
Messaging on Financial Support (DFA)
Emergency Management Structure
Federal Support role to Province
Impact/Involvement of Federal Government
4.6. Message Timeline and Flow
In order to maintain public confidence, it is imperative that all stakeholders
communicate to ensure consistent messaging and release only
information that is relevant to their organization and response level.
The following chart provides a sample of planning tasks and messaging
that could be released by the different levels of government following an
event that occurs at the local level.
Information gathering/ Impact to federal departments/
validation/exchange, agencies, federal response
support to province... undertaken, support to province
Information gathering/ Impact to provincial services, support to
validation/exchange, local authorities, activation of provincial
support to local level... response services/systems
Public message types Capacity building, Specific public safety/response information,
information gathering/ impact to local departments/agencies, public
validation/exchange... confidence messages
Event Occurs (Time)
All levels of government should gathering information prior to public
release, including making contact with other applicable levels of
4.7. Joint Information Centre
The following information about Joint Information Centers (JIC) is intended to provide a brief overview
of their functions and uses. Note that, currently, the concept of a JIC is still in formation in BC, and will
require time and resources to develop into a working model. JICs have been used in emergency
situations throughout the world, sometimes under other names such as HIC (Humanitarian Information
Centre, a function generally run by the United Nations in overseas disasters), as well as locally such
as teleconferencing to bring together necessary Information representatives.
A Joint Information Centre (JIC) is a function where Information Officers or
their representatives can share and exchange critical emergency
information, participate to create standardized emergency messaging,
discuss concerns regarding discrepancies or gaps in emergency
information, and participate in centralized media briefings as required or
appropriate. The JIC can function either as a physical location - central to
the needs of all participants - or can be run 'virtually', through such means
as teleconferencing, internet and other data-exchange means. The actual
method of operating a JIC - physical or virtual - will be determined in each
emergency situation based on the available resources (i.e., physical
location, overall 'sponsor' or administrator for the function), and the needs,
practicality and accessibility to participants. In some circumstances,
multiple JICs may be required (i.e., for complex incidents spanning a wide
geographic area or multiple jurisdictions).
The advantage of a JIC is that it ensures participants have the most
current and accurate information about the overall event and any specific
incidents, from the multiple perspectives of the various participants. For
this reason, the primary objective of a JIC is the coordination of
information, following a cooperative model, rather than the 'command and
control' of information; ultimate authority to release or manage information
ultimately comes back to the individual responsibilities of the various
Participants in a JIC are determined by the emergency situation. Generally
speaking, all impacted jurisdictions, agencies, private sector and non-
governmental organizations (NGO's) should participate, even though the
focus of their emergency information may vary. For example, Local
Authorities and Provincial Government representation might both focus
their information on the activities of their respective levels of government,
but ensure that any information that overlaps is consistent and
synchronized; a utility company or an NGO would provide information on
their activities and again synchronize with the other participants, including
The JIC is generally chaired by a representative of the administrating or
sponsoring agency. The schedule of briefings for JIC participants would
be determined by the Chair (i.e., daily, twice daily). If the JIC is physically
located, media briefings may be organized to coordinate with the timing of
JIC participant briefings (i.e., 1 hour after a JIC briefing, a media briefing
may be held nearby where each agency can participate).
5. Methods of Communication
In addition to media relations and management, the Information Officer is
responsible for the provision of public information, internal communication and
the information exchange with relevant external organizations.
This Section provides information on various methods that may be appropriate to
maintain effective communication during an emergency event. The Information
Officer must assess each individual situation and determine which approaches
would be most suitable in meeting the needs of the event. It is also important to
remember that communication should be a two-way process. The opportunity to
collect information from the media, public and internal and external stakeholders
should always be considered when selecting communication methods.
Prior to utilizing any of these methods of communication, it is important to first
identify your purpose for communicating and the audiences you will be
communicating with. For example, with the public you may decide that there are
different messages necessary for those evacuated, those receiving the evacuees
and the general community. After determining the purpose and audiences, draft
up your key messages and secondary messages. To assist with this message
development, a Message Development Worksheet is provided in Section 2.3,
which outlines a five-step process.
5.1. Media Relations and Management
Major emergencies and disasters will attract media interest. Information
Officers must recognize that the media can be a resource, especially
when information needs to get to the public in a timely manner. They are
experts at reaching the public and the safety official needs to accept, plan
for and manage their involvement.
The media is made up of reporters, personalities and production crews
whose goal is to entertain, inform and educate their target markets. There
are four general types of media, which include television, print/press, radio
and the Internet.
5.1.1. Media/News Releases
If it is important enough to say, it is important enough to put in down on
paper. The media/news releases should be written like an article with an
account of the situation in one or two pages. It should tell who, what,
where, when, why, and how in the first paragraph.
All media/news release must follow the organization‘s standard format.
REFER to the Appendix G for a Standard News Release Template and
sample News Releases.
News releases may be distributed by various forms including, fax, email,
face-to-face, Internet and commercial press services. In case more than
one release goes out each day, always place the time and a sequence
number on all releases.
REFER to the Local and Regional Media Contact List provided in
Appendix E for media distribution information.
Depending upon your target audience, it may also be important to include
ethnic and/or multi-lingual media outlets in order to get your message to
the appropriate audiences.
5.1.2. Media Advisories
Media Advisories are used to announce an upcoming event so that the
media can easily assess the event and decide on coverage. The advisory
should include the same who, what, when, where, why, and how as the
release, but not exceed one page in length.
REFER to the Local and Regional Media Contact List provided in
Appendix E for media distribution information.
Websites and voice mail recordings are also good methods to provide
advisory and key message information to the media.
5.1.3. News Conference/Media Briefings
Regular or ideally daily conferences or briefings held with community
leaders and/or experts related to the event will provide the media with
much needed copy and footage.
News Conferences are generally considered more formal in nature with
advanced notice and media kits being prepared. Media Briefings and
opportunities are usually less formal in nature and may be held in a
meeting room or out in the field. Regardless of the format, always
remember to coordinate the time of the conference/briefing with the
deadlines of the media outlets attending.
REFER to News Conference/Media Briefing Planning Checklist found in
Section 2.7, for further information.
Depending upon the location, additional equipment may be required to
set-up for a news conference. This could include staging, sound systems,
lights, backdrops and podiums. As necessary, equipment is available from
the following suppliers:
[Identify the suppliers that have been identified to provide news
5.1.4. Media Centre
As needed, a Media Centre should be established to provide media with a
functional working space and an easy access to news releases, fact
sheets, media kits, spokespeople and other media material. The centre
should be set-up near the event or Emergency Operations Centre, but not
close enough to interfere with response activities.
The services provided at the media centre can vary depending upon the
scope of the event, but it may include workstations for media,
briefing/news conference area, internet, telephone and fax services.
Refreshment services such as food and coffee may also need to be made
The following locations have been identified as potential media centers in
the local authority:
Primary Media Centre: [insert location details here]
Alternate Media Centre: [insert location details here]
5.1.5. Media Monitoring
Set up a team or contract with a service whose function is to monitor and
analyze all media types on a 24x7 basis. When a story or rumour appears
whose content is not accurate or favourable to your cause, you will now
have an effective apparatus to react with quickly and be in a position to
neutralize the negative content. In some cases - try to obtain wire service
copy before it is transmitted - many an error has been stopped in its track
by assisting and working closely with the media to help them keep their
facts straight and accurate.
The following media monitoring services may be utilized when required:
[insert names, contact information and service descriptions for existing
media monitoring companies/services]
5.1.6. Media Pool Coverage
Preventing the media from obtaining coverage of an event can create
significant problems. One strategy is to provide this coverage in a
controlled manner through a media pool which allows a limited number of
select media outlets to cover the event from a designated location or
locations. Suggestions for membership in the pool should come from the
media covering the event and usually includes at least one representative
from each medium.
5.2. Public Information
Communication with the public can be a critical element in response and
recovery. Establishing and maintaining effective communication channels
is critical to a successful response. During a crisis period everyone wants
information immediately. It is vital to plan mechanisms to foster
communication in ways that people can ask questions as well as receive
Consider the following tools to effectively establish and maintain
meaningful emergency communication with the public:
5.2.1. Alerting Systems
[Local authorities may be utilizing or have access to various public alerting
system including sirens, phone, internet or radio-based alerting systems.
A description of the systems and the procedures for use, including a list of
those authorized to activate them, should be included here.]
5.2.2. Call Centre
If the public call volume is exceeding or expected to exceed regular
reception/switchboard handling capabilities, a call centre or expanded call
handling capabilities should be established.
The following phone number has been pre-designated for emergency
information line/call centre use ONLY:
Call Centre Phone Number: [insert number here]
Note: During non-emergency times this number is [directed to the main
[Provide specific details on the location, configuration and, technical
support required to fully activate the call centre.]
Be prepared to redirect callers from neighbouring jurisdictions or
callers requesting information that is the responsibility of other
Call takers/operators with multiple languages should be available
Common and consistent, scripts/information sheets and FAQ‘s must
always be used by call takers
As a tool in rumour control and FAQ development, call takers should
be making a note of all public question types
The local authority‘s website can be a great tool in providing information to
the public, either directly or through the media. In order for this to be
effective, the information must always remain current and relevant. A
prominent link must be created on the main website page (not buried
several pages down) and updates must be posted daily or hourly with
Activation can be supported through the EOC Logistics Section and the
local authority‘s webmaster.
Webmaster: [Insert name/number of person responsible for updating
Emergency Template Web Pages or ―dark pages‖. Pre-designed, scripted
and authorized web pages that reside on a server behind the live site.
During an emergency, these pages can be quickly loaded onto the live site
to provide valuable information to the public and media without delay.
[Create sample generic web pages that can updated with specific
information that then taken live when needed. Identify details on these
pages here. ]
5.2.4. Meetings/Public Forums/Town Hall Meetings (Face-to-Face)
A public meeting will allow the community to express concerns, ask
questions, share comments and the local authority to provide event
specific information. A clear purpose, agenda and process for the meeting
should be outlined and communicated in advance to all. Depending on the
public atmosphere, large meetings can intensify conflicts rather than
resolve controversies if not handled properly. If this might be an issue,
consider smaller group meetings to better focus and manage the process.
Meetings may also be held with selected members of the public (i.e.,
evacuees). Regular/daily meetings of this nature may go a long way in
addressing issues early before they could become major problems. During
large events, these types of information meetings could be held at an ESS
Reception Centre or other location where those impacted by the event
may already be gathering.
Public Meeting Locations:
[List potential meeting locations, including details about capacity,
amenities, rates, contacts…]
5.2.5. Translation Services
To ensure crucial information reaches all segments of the community,
information may need to be provided in various languages. Language and
translation services to support the Emergency Call Centre, and assistance
with the translation of public information should be pre-identified in the
plan. These services may be provided by:
Emergency Social Services Volunteers
Telecommunication providers of language line services
Community Organizations (e.g. SUCCESS Multicultural Services,
Multilingual media outlets
[List translation resources, including contact information and the type of
services provided and language capacity…]
A printed document provides the public with a source of information that
can be kept and referred to at a later date. It can contain a brief
summarization of current or proposed activities, explain the role of the
local authority, announce new findings, provide precautionary information,
and outline other information relevant to the response or recovery.
Commercial Printers: [Identify commercial printing companies including
contact information and capabilities.]
Methods of Distribution: [Outline the various local means/processes for
distribution of printed materials.]
5.3. Internal Communication
Keeping employees, volunteers and other internal stakeholders informed
about the emergency event is an important part of the overall
communications plan. There are many formal and informal channels
where information is exchanged between response workers, regular
employee and the public or other external partners.
Many of the methods used to inform the public can also be used within an
organization to advise employees or volunteers. The following methods
should also be considered:
5.3.1. FAQs/Fact Sheets
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and/or facts sheets should be
maintained throughout the event and distributed to key internal
stakeholders such as operators, call takers and frontline personnel. An
appropriate version of these documents should also be made available to
all employees and volunteers even if they are not directly involved in the
response or recovery efforts.
These documents can also aid in orienting new response workers.
The local authority‘s intranet should be utilized to provide response and
recovery information to employees. The posted information must be easily
accessible and kept current in order for it to be utilized effectively.
[Identify the procedures for posting information on the local authority’s
5.3.3. Employee Information Line
Following events that disrupt regular business of the local authority and/or
for larger and regional emergencies, an employee information line should
be activated. This unlisted phone line can provide employees with current
event information, precautions, employee expectations, response
directions and update on the business functions of the organization. The
phone line can be staffed or provide a prerecorded message. When
leaving a pre-recorded message always start off with ―This is update
number…‖, so that employees can tell if the message has changed
without having to listen to the full information.
Employee Information Line: [Insert pre-designated phone number.]
[Outline procedures for phone line activation and recorded message
maintenance, if equipped.]
5.3.4. Email and Text Messaging
With so many personnel having cell phones/personal digital assistants
(PDAs) and personal/home access to email, the use of email and/or text
messaging can be an effective tool to communicate with internal
[Identify any specific software, electronic mailing lists and/or processes for
distributing text messages.]
5.4. External Communication
There are many external people or organizations with a special connection
to the local authority and the response efforts. Some of these groups will
vary depending upon the specific nature of the event, but there are some
core stakeholders that will remain constant.
5.4.1. Government and Non-Government Agencies
In addition to the legislated responsibilities to communicate with the
provincial government and some of their agencies, the local authority
should also maintain a solid working relationship with associated
jurisdiction and key response and recovery agencies and organizations.
When these agencies have a response or supporting role in the
emergency, communication protocols should be established with the EOC
Operations Section or Liaison Officer as per the standard protocols
established in the community‘s Emergency Plan.
5.4.2. Other Stakeholders
Many non-response external stakeholders may be interested in how the
emergency event will impact them. Remember that an emergency event
may be an opportunity to strengthen relationships with these stakeholders
as they see the local authority in action.
These stakeholders may be relying on messaging coming from the EOC
Information Officer. Many of the methods described earlier can be used to
communicate with these groups, but it is important to adjust the key
messages as necessary to meet the information needs of these groups.
6. Hazard Specific Information
6.1. Frequently Asked Question Sheets
FAQ - Emergency Management (General)
FAQ - Declaration of State of Local Emergency
NOTE: This FAQ section will need to be expanded to meet the specific
needs (hazard and risks) of the local authority and community. The
following FAQ’s are provided as samples.
6.1.1 FAQ – Emergency Management (General)
1. When is a local authority responsible for emergency response and
A local authority is at all times responsible for the direction and control of the local
authority‘s emergency response and recovery, except: if local emergency plans conflicts
with provincial plans; if ordered by the Province to stop using any/all of the powers
obtained through a state of local emergency or when a provincial state of emergency is
declared for areas within the jurisdiction of the local authority.
Reference: Emergency Program Act [Sections: 6(1), 8(2), 13(2), 14(3)]
2. What is the Provincial Emergency Program’s (EMBC/PEP) role in emergency
EMBC/PEP is responsible for the design, development and readiness status of the
provincial emergency management structure and is committed to supporting local
authorities in their efforts to minimize human suffering and property loss caused by
emergencies and disasters. In order to have an immediate activation capability,
EMBC/PEP has established six Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centres
(PREOCs), which are the primary line for coordinating provincial regional support during
a major event.
3. Is a local authority legally required to maintain and exercise an emergency
YES - A local authority must prepare emergency plans respecting preparation for,
response to, and recovery from emergencies and disasters. A local authority must also
establish and maintain a program of exercises and training for all staff assigned
responsibilities within the Plan.
Reference: Emergency Program Act [Sec. 6(2)], Local Authority Emergency
Management Regulation [Sec. 2(3)]
4. What is the one power/duty, under the Emergency Program Act, that
elected officials within a local authority may NOT delegate?
The power to declare a state of local emergency may not be delegated. All other powers
and duties may be delegated to the emergency management organization, committee,
subcommittees or an appointed Emergency Program Coordinator.
Reference: Emergency Program Act [Sec. 6(4)]
5. Why would a local authority declare a state of local emergency?
The mandatory evacuation of people, livestock or access to private property where
public safety is the issue are the most frequently cited reasons to declare a state of local
emergency. There are also other extraordinary powers that can be obtained through the
declaration process to support communities in effectively responding to the event.
Reference: Guidelines for Declaring State of Local Emergency, EMBC/PEP
6. Do you need legal authority to require people to evacuation their homes
YES. This authority can be obtained through a variety of legislation. Local authorities can
require people to evacuate through a Declaration of a State of Local Emergency under
the Emergency Program Act. Local authorities can also use enact mandatory
evacuation through the Fire Services Act and the Office of the Fire Commissioner and
the Police Act.
Reference: Guidelines for Declaring State of Local Emergency, EMBC/PEP
7. What is the difference between an evacuation alert and an evacuation
An evacuation ―alert‖ is used to advise the affected population of an impending danger.
The evacuation at this stage the movement of handicapped persons, transient
population including vacationers, and in some cases, school population, and any
voluntary evacuees, should become a priority. An evacuation ―order‖ is a directive to
individuals that they are to NOW ordered to leave the area for their own safety.
Reference: Operational Guidelines for Evacuation, EMBC/PEP, 2005
8. Who is responsible for creating news releases and making public
Many agencies and levels of government may have a need to release information to the
public during an event. Although there may be a need to have information released in a
timely manner, Information Officers from all levels of government must communicate to
ensure that clear, consistent and accurate information is being released to the public.
The release of inconsistent information can significantly reduce the credibility of all
responding agencies and make it more difficult to maintain public trust. It is best for local
authorities and other agencies to review news/media releases with the PREOC prior to
releasing them to the public.
9. When should a local authority activate their Emergency Operations Centre?
When requested by an Incident Commander or Senior Local Authority Official to provide
overall jurisdictional direction and control, coordination and resource support. This could
be as a result of a large/widespread event, multiple emergency sites/responding
agencies, limited site resources, uncertain conditions, information management issues,
state of local emergency, community evacuation…
Reference: Emergency Operations Centre – Operational Guidelines, EMBC/PEP, 2002
10. Who is best suited as Director within your Emergency Operations Centre?
Generally, it is felt that the senior administrator from a local authority should fulfill the
role of EOC Director when the EOC is activated. This position requires someone with
strong management skills whereas the Operations Section Chief is more suited to
someone with specific operational knowledge related to the event.
11. Does a local authority need to declare a state of local emergency in order to
be eligible for Financial Assistance from the provincial government?
NO - Although there are other conditions to obtaining financial assistance, a declaration
is not one of them.
Reference: Financial Assistance – A Guide for Local Authorities and First Nations,
EMBC/PEP Guidelines for Declaring State of Local Emergency, EMBC/PEP
12. Does a EMBC/PEP Task Number ensure your organization will be
compensated by the Province for response and recovery costs?
NO - A Task Number is a provincial tracking number used to manage information about
an event. Local authorities should request a Task Number from EMBC/PEP when
engaged in an emergency. In the event that the Province provides financial assistance,
this number must be quoted on all eligible expenditures. Reference: Financial
Assistance – A Guide for Local Authorities and First Nations, EMBC/PEP
6.1.2. FAQ - Declaration of State of Local Emergency
Reference: Guidelines for Declaring State of Local Emergency, EMBC/PEP
1. Who can declare a state of local emergency?
A local authority, as designated by the Emergency Program Act, which has primary
responsibility for response to an emergency or disaster. The Province acts in support of
and at the request of the local authority when the need for response exceeds the
capabilities of the local government. In an area where there is no local authority the
Province is responsible for the response.
A regional district may declare for designated electoral areas within its jurisdiction, but
NOT for individual local authorities within that regional district. A local authority‘s
declaration is applicable ONLY to a geographic area within that local authority‘s
2. Why would a local authority declare a state of local emergency?
Section 12 of the Emergency Program Act allows the local authority to declare a state of
local emergency if extraordinary powers are required to respond effectively to an
emergency or disaster.
Evacuation of people and livestock, or access to private property where public safety is
the issue, are the most frequently cited reasons to declare a state of local emergency.
3. Does a Declaration of a State of Local Emergency override provincial or
federal acts or regulations?
NO. A Declaration of a State of Local Emergency only provides the authority to override
local bylaws, but not provincial or federal legislation. In an emergency where provincial
regulation must be overridden in order to save lives, the provincial government would
have to declare a provincial state of emergency and delegate the authority to the local
4. When is a declaration of a state of local emergency NOT required?
A declaration is not needed to implement part or all of a local emergency response plan;
to gain liability protection under the Emergency Program Act; and to qualify for disaster
financial assistance under the Emergency Program Act.
5. How would a local authority declare a state of local emergency?
Declarations can be made in two ways: the mayor or regional chair may declare a state
of local emergency by a written order; or the municipal council or the regional district
board may pass a bylaw or resolution declaring a state of local emergency.
6. Are local authorities required to fax a copy of the declaration, along with
related documents, to EMBC/PEP?
A local authority must forward a signed copy of the declaration, a map designating the
geographic boundaries, a copy of any publication notice and a copy of any Delegation
Order which designates persons or agencies who can apply the extraordinary powers to
7. How can the public notice or cancellation be accomplished?
The details of the notice or cancellation of the emergency declaration are published by
means of a communication likely to make the contents known to the majority of the
population of the affected area (usually local media).
8. What are the limitations of a state of local emergency?
A local declaration is limited geographically to the jurisdiction of the declaring local
authority and the powers required.
9. When is a local declaration cancelled?
A Declaration of a State of Local Emergency is cancelled when: it expires after each
seven day period unless extended by the approval of the Solicitor General; the Solicitor
General cancels it; it is superseded by a provincial state of emergency; or it is cancelled
at any time by bylaw, resolution or order.
10. How can a local declaration be extended?
A request for an extension will be forwarded to the director of EMBC/PEP at least
three days prior to the expiration of the original declaration. The director of EMBC/PEP
will present the request to the Solicitor General for approval.
11. How does a local authority use the emergency/extraordinary powers?
A local authority may authorize selected persons/agencies to use the extraordinary
powers assumed under a declared state of local emergency. Such authorized use of
extraordinary power, together with such terms, conditions or limitations as the local
authority may impose, must be defined following a Declaration of a State of Local
Emergency. Although such authorization and limitations must be documented, they are
not part of the declaration itself. The local authority is responsible for the exercise of the
extraordinary powers by any person or agency acting on behalf of the declaring
12. Why should local authorities consult with EMBC/PEP staff prior to a
Consultation with a EMBC/PEP regional manager or EMBC/PEP management prior to
initiating a declaration is advisable to confirm that the nature and extent of the required
extraordinary powers in the declaration will meet the requirements intended.
13. Will EMBC/PEP staff consult with local authorities prior to the
Declaration of a Provincial State of Emergency?
When possible, EMBC/PEP will consult with local authorities prior to declaring a
provincial state of emergency to confirm the nature and extent of extraordinary powers
that the Province will assume.
14. Under a provincial state of emergency, how will the Province delegate
authority to local authorities and other agencies?
The Province will delegate its authority, in writing, through the Provincial Regional
Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC) to each local authority and agency.
6.2. Sources of Standard Hazard Messaging
Provincial Emergency Program
All-Hazard Emergency Preparedness Workbook & Website
The All-Hazard workbook provides information and useful guidelines to help you
protect your family and property. When a disaster strikes, there won‘t be time to
find flashlight batteries or replace missing first aid supplies.
It is important to know the dangers that exist in your community and to design
your Family Emergency Plan with those hazards in mind. The workbook address
Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, avalanches, interface fires, severe
storms and hazardous material spills, which are some of the dangers that could
threaten lives and cause extensive damage in our
Public Safety Canada
72 Hours – Preparedness Website
PUBLIC SAFETY Canada‘s family preparedness website provides preparedness
tips for developing a family emergency plan, organizing an emergency supplies
kit and what to do during emergencies.
Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messaging
The purpose of the Talking about Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages is to
assist those who provide disaster safety information to the general public. The
information presented is based on historical data for the United States and is
appropriate for use in the United States and its territories. Some of the
information may not apply to other countries.
The guide contains awareness and action messages intended to help people
reduce their risk of injury or loss in the event of natural and human-caused
disasters. Awareness messages provide general information about the threats
presented by each type of disaster. Action messages describe what people
should do to prepare for and get safely through a disaster. Also included are
statistics and other supporting information that reinforces the credibility and
importance of each message.
6.3. Hazardous Materials Incidents
Find out what types of hazardous materials incidents could occur
in your area. Ask your Local Emergency Planning Committee
(LEPC) or local emergency manager about the storage and use of
hazardous chemicals in your area.
Why talk about hazardous materials incidents?
From industrial chemicals and toxic waste to household detergents and air fresheners,
hazardous materials are part of our everyday lives. Affecting urban, suburban, and rural areas,
hazardous materials incidents can range from a chemical spill on a highway to the
contamination of groundwater by naturally occurring methane gas.
Chemical plants are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others. Your local
service station stores gasoline and diesel fuel, hospitals store a range of radioactive and
flammable materials, and there are about 30,000 hazardous materials waste sites in the
Many communities have a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) that identifies
industrial hazardous materials and keeps the community informed of the potential risks. All
companies that have hazardous chemicals must adhere to the reporting requirements of the
local government and/or LEPC. The public is encouraged to participate in LEPCs. Contact your
local emergency management office to find out if your community has an LEPC and how you
What are hazardous materials?
Hazardous materials are substances that, because of their chemical nature, pose a potential
risk to life, health, or property if they are released. Hazards can exist during production, storage,
transportation, use, or disposal of such substances.
How can I protect myself in the event of a hazardous materials incident?
The best ways to protect yourself are to be familiar with the potential dangers, know the warning
system in your community, and be prepared to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
Increased awareness about possible hazardous materials threats in your area will help you
remain alert to these threats and contribute to your safety. For example, learning to detect the
presence of a hazardous substance, researching response and evacuation plans, and
becoming familiar with local warning systems will help you protect yourself and those around
you. In addition, you can contribute to the Local Emergency Planning Committee or local
emergency management office discussions about hazardous materials issues that directly affect
What is the best source of information in the event of a hazardous materials incident?
Depending on where you live, sirens, warning signals, and local radio and television stations
may be used to alert residents if a hazardous materials incident occurs. However you learn of a
hazardous materials incident, listen to a local radio or television station for further emergency
information. Local officials are the best source of information in the event of a hazardous
Be Prepared for a Hazardous Materials Incident.
CORE ACTION MESSAGES
Determine your risk.
Prepare members of your household.
Be ready to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
For general preparedness, every household should create and practice a Family
Disaster Plan and assemble and maintain a Disaster Supplies Kit. In addition, all
households should take specific precautions to protect themselves in the event of a
hazardous materials incident and plan and practice what to do should one occur.
Evaluate the risks to your household using information from your Local Emergency Planning
Committee (LEPC) and local emergency management office. Determine how close you are
to factories, freeways, or railroads that may produce or transport toxic waste. Remember
that some toxic chemicals are odourless.
Learn about your community‘s plans for responding to a hazardous materials incident at a
plant or other facility, or a transportation incident involving hazardous materials. Talk to your
LEPC or emergency management office.
Find out from the fire or police department what the hazardous materials warning
procedures are for your area. These could include:
o Outdoor warning sirens or horns
o Information provided on radio and television
o ―All-Call‖ telephoning—an automated system for sending recorded messages by
o News media—radio, television and cable
o Residential route alerting—messages announced to neighbourhoods from vehicles
equipped with public address systems
Choose and prepare your shelter-in-place room.
Be ready to evacuate or shelter-in-place.
Take your pets with you if you evacuate and keep them with you if you are sheltering in
What to Do During a Hazardous Materials Incident
CORE ACTION MESSAGES
Avoid the incident site.
Evacuate or find shelter.
During a hazardous materials incident:
If you witness (or smell) a hazardous materials release, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency
number, or the fire department as soon as safely possible.
If you hear a warning signal, listen to a local radio or television station for further information.
Follow instructions carefully.
Stay away from the incident site to minimize the risk of contamination.
If you are caught outside during an incident, try to stay upstream, uphill, and upwind.
Remember that gases and mists are generally heavier than air and hazardous materials can
quickly be transported by water and wind. In general, try to go at least one half mile (10 city
blocks) from the danger area; for many incidents you will need to go much farther.
If you are in a motor vehicle, stop and find shelter in a permanent building if possible. If you
must remain in your car, keep the car windows and vents closed and shut off the air
conditioner and heater.
If asked to evacuate your home, do so immediately. Take your animals with you, but do not
endanger yourself to do so. If authorities indicate there is enough time, close all windows,
shut vents, and turn off attic, heating, and air conditioning fans to minimize contamination.
Note: Be aware that, if there is a hazardous materials incident while your children are at school,
you probably will not be permitted to pick them up. Schools and other public buildings may
institute procedures to shelter-in-place. Even if you go to the school, the doors will probably be
locked to keep your children safe. Follow the directions of your local emergency officials.
If you are told to stay indoors (shelter-in-place) rather than evacuate:
Follow all instructions given by emergency authorities
Get household members and pets inside as quickly as possible
Close and lock all exterior doors and windows. Close vents, fireplace dampers, and as many
interior doors as possible
Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems. In large buildings, building superintendents
should set all ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no outside air is drawn
into the building. If this is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off
Go into the pre-selected shelter room (an above-ground room with the fewest openings to
the outside). Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide sufficient air to prevent
carbon dioxide buildup for up to five hours
Take a battery-powered radio, water, sanitary supplies, a flashlight, and the shelter kit
containing pre-cut plastic sheeting, duct tape, scissors, and modeling clay or other materials
to stuff into cracks. Take your Disaster Supplies Kit
Close doors and windows in the room and seal the room using the pre-cut plastic sheeting,
duct tape, and modeling clay or other material:
o Tape around the sides, bottom, and top of the door
o Cover each window and vent in the room with a single piece of plastic sheeting,
taping all around the edges of the sheeting to provide a continuous seal
o If there are any cracks or holes in the room, such as those around pipes entering a
bathroom, fill them with modeling clay or other similar material
If authorities warn of the possibility of an outdoor explosion, close all drapes, curtains, and
shades in the room. Stay away from windows to prevent injury from breaking glass.
Remain in the room, listening to a local radio or television station until you hear that
authorities advise you to leave your shelter.
When authorities advise people in your area to leave their shelters, open all doors and
windows and turn on the air conditioning and ventilation systems. These measures will flush
out any chemicals that infiltrated the building.
Avoid contact with spilled liquids, airborne mists and powders, and condensed solid
chemical deposits. Keep your body fully covered to provide some protection. Wear gloves,
socks, shoes, pants, and long-sleeved shirt. Prevent your animals from contacting any of
these substances. Most animals will groom themselves by licking, and may ingest toxins
more readily this way.
Do not eat food or drink water that may have been contaminated.
Be prepared to turn off the main water intake valve in case authorities advise you to do so.
What to Do After a Hazardous Materials Incident
CORE ACTION MESSAGES
Stay away until officials say it is safe to return.
Use proper decontamination procedures.
After a hazardous materials incident:
Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe.
Upon returning home, open windows and vents and turn on fans to provide ventilation.
Be aware that a person or item that has been exposed to a hazardous chemical may be
contaminated and could contaminate other people or items.
If you or your animals have come in contact with or have been exposed to hazardous
chemicals, you should:
o Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities. (Depending on the
chemical, you may be advised to take a thorough shower, or you may be advised to
stay away from water and follow another procedure.) Get medical treatment for
unusual symptoms as soon as possible
o If medical help is not immediately available and you think you might be
contaminated, remove all of your clothing and shower thoroughly (unless local
authorities advise you to do otherwise). Change into fresh, loose clothing and get
medical help as soon as possible
o Place exposed clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers, for example, plastic
bags with twist-ties. Do not allow them to contact other materials. Call local
authorities to find out about proper disposal
o Advise everyone who comes in contact with you that you may have been exposed to
a toxic substance
Find out from local authorities how to clean up your land and property.
Report any lingering vapours or other hazards to your local emergency services office.
From: Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages. Produced by the National Disaster
Education Coalition (NDEC), Washington, D.C., 2004. www.disastereducation.org
A. Glossary of Emergency Management Terms/Acronyms
B. Glossary of Media Terms
C. Plan Amendment Request
D. Information Officers Contact List
E. Local and Regional Media Contact List
F. Information Officer Function - Equipment Checklist
G. News Release and Public Information Sheet Templates
General News Release Template
Evacuation News Release Template
H. Forms and Worksheets
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet –Expanded Format
Appendix A - Glossary of Emergency Management Terms/Acronyms
BCERMS – British The British Columbia Response Management System is a
Columbia Emergency comprehensive management structure scheme that ensures a
Response Management coordinated and organized provincial response and recovery to
System any and all emergency incidents. The broad spectrum of
components of BCERMS includes operations and control
management, qualifications, technology, training and publications.
CCG – Central The Central Coordination Group Provides overall direction to all
Coordination Group provincial agencies and resources supporting or assisting with the
CEPR – Community The Community Emergency Program Review is a web tool for
Emergency Program community use to see how prepared the community is for
CF – Canadian Forces The mission of the Canadian Forces and the Department of
National Defense is to defend Canada, its interests and its values,
while contributing to international peace and security. EMBC/PEP
is the direct link to requesting CF emergency assistance for the
DFA – Disaster Financial A financial assistance program to help disaster victims resort or
Assistance replace essential items that are not insurable.
DND – Department of The mission of the Department of National Defense is to defend
National Defense Canada, its interests and its values, while contributing to
international peace and security. EMBC/PEP is the direct link to
requesting DND emergency assistance for the Province.
DOC – Department An operations centre established and operated by a department of
Operations Centre a jurisdiction or agency to coordinate their emergency response
efforts. Structure and function is similar to EOC.
ECC – Emergency The Emergency Coordination Centre at the Provincial Emergency
Coordination Centre Program headquarters receives and disseminates information from
multiple sources regarding emergency situations. The 24-hour
Emergency Coordination Centre also serves as the ―incident
message centre‖ for the Provincial Emergency Coordination
EOC – Emergency A pre-designated facility established by a local authority,
Operation Centre jurisdiction or agency to coordinate the site response and support
in an emergency.
EPICC – Emergency The Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Commerce Council
Preparedness for Industry is a nonprofit government endorsed society supported by and for
and Commerce Council the benefit of business and institutions throughout British
Columbia, to influence and help businesses prepare for
emergencies and disasters.
EPC – Emergency Responsible for the management/coordination of emergency
Program Coordinator preparedness, response, and recovery activities on behalf of the
ESS – Emergency Social Emergency Social Services are those services that are provided
Services short term (generally 72 hours) to preserve the emotional and
physical well-being of evacuees and response workers in
ESSD – Emergency An Emergency Social Services Director is a person appointed by
Social Services Director the local authority, responsible for the management and
coordination of the local ESS Program.
FEMA – Federal The US Government organization responsible for preparing for,
Emergency Management preventing, responding to, and recovering from disasters.
GOC – Government Operated by Public Safety Canada out of their National
Operations Centre headquarters in Ottawa, the Government Operations Centre
operates 24/7 and coordinates/initiates decision-making across
various federal departments.
HRVA – Hazard, Risk and The hazard, risk and vulnerability analysis is one part of the tool kit
Vulnerability Analysis prepared by EMBC/PEP for communities to use in their emergency
planning to identify the hazard and the risk it poses to the
ICS – Incident Command A standardized at-scene emergency management concept
System specifically designed to allow its user(s) to adopt an integrated
organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of
single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional
boundaries. BC‘s emergency management structure is based on
IEPC – Interagency The Inter-Agency Emergency Preparedness Council, which is
Emergency Preparedness made up of applicable provincial ministries, government
Council corporations and other government agencies, facilitates the
coordination of plans and procedures, recommends preparedness,
response and recovery measures and ensures plans and
procedures are consistent with those of other ministries and the
overall government strategy.
INAC – Indian and INAC has primary, but not exclusive, responsibility for meeting the
Northern Affairs Canada federal government‘s constitutional, treaty, political and legal
responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Northerners.
JELC Joint Emergency A partnership between Local Governments in the Lower Mainland
Liaison Committee and the Province of British Columbia, which works towards
addressing emergency management issues of a regional nature
within the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
JEPP – Joint Emergency A federal cost-sharing program with the Province and local
Preparedness Program authorities that encourages the provinces and territories to
undertake emergency preparedness projects that support national
JIBC/EMD – Justice The Emergency Management Division of the Justice Institute of BC
Institute of BC/Emergency is a post-secondary institution that develops and delivers
Management Division Emergency Management, Emergency Social Services and Search
and Rescue training for the Provincial Emergency Program and
MOC – Ministry An Operations Centre established and operated by a ministry to
Operations Centre coordinate their emergency response efforts. Structure and
function is similar to PREOC.
MST – Mobile Support Mobile Support Teams are a provincial regional ESS resource,
Team which if requested by a local authority, can be deployed to provide
on-site training, consultation and support to any community not
able to mobilize a sufficient number of trained ESS volunteers
during an evacuation.
PAB – Public Affairs The Public Affairs Bureau ensures that information about
Bureau government programs and services is accessible to British
Columbians. The bureau also has the responsibility for leading and
coordinating communications with internal and external
EMBC/PEP – Emergency The Provincial Emergency Program is part of the Ministry of Public
Management Safety and Solicitor General and is mandated to coordinate the
BC/Provincial Emergency Province‘s integrated emergency responses and assistance to
Program communities in an emergency.
PECC – Provincial An Emergency Operation Centre established and operated at the
Emergency Coordination provincial central coordination level to direct and coordinate the
Centre provincial government‘s overall emergency or disaster response
and recovery efforts. Located at the Provincial Emergency
Program (EMBC/PEP) headquarters in Victoria.
PIO – Public Information Public Information Officer is a title used for a person, typically in
Officer government, who compiles and disseminates public information,
usually through the media. Within an EOC structure, this person is
usually referred to as the Information Officer.
PREOC – Provincial An Emergency Operations Centre established and operated at the
Regional Emergency regional level by provincial agencies to coordinate provincial
Operations Centre emergency response efforts.
Public Safety Canada As Canada‘s lead department in public safety, Public Safety
Canada works with six agencies (Royal Canadian Mounted Police,
Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada Border Service
Agency, Correctional Service Canada, National Parole Board,
Canada Firearms Centre. They are united in a single portfolio and
report to the same Minister. The result is better integration among
federal organizations dealing with national security, emergency
management, law enforcement, corrections, crime prevention and
TEAMS – Temporary A pool of provincial employees, managed by the Provincial
Emergency Assignment Emergency Program, from across government who have training
Management System and experience managing emergency operations and
communications during disasters. As part of an integrated
response model, TEAMS can support government at all levels
during major emergencies or disasters.
Appendix B - Glossary of Media Terms
Assignment Desk At broadcast bureaus and stations, the staff responsible for
dispatching camera crews and reporters to cover news events.
Backgrounder Embellishment of an announcement to a news release that
gives background information to further encourage coverage.
Usually longer and more general in content. Could be written in
point-form/factual manner or in descriptive/narrative way.
Banner A print media term for a headline for a story of unusual
importance, stretching the entire width of the page.
Bio One page synopsis or biography detailing the history,
development and philosophy of a person or group. Used by
media as reference material.
Byline Name of writer/reporter, usually printed at beginning of story.
Collateral Materials Brochures, pamphlets or other resource tools that can be used
to attract positive response.
Copy Written material that is read over the air.
Cutline The caption to a picture or other graphic element of a story.
People always identified from left to right.
Dateline A line at the beginning of a printed news story or news release
giving the place and date of the story's origin.
Editorial An expression of opinion by print editorial staff/columnists OR
all coverage obtained by all forms of media on a subject matter.
Fact Sheet A one page sheet that covers the five ―w‘s‖ and how of an event
and/or provides a detailed overview that provides readily
available information at a glance.
Feature A longer, more probing article or story (as opposed to an
―objective‖ news item or account). Magazines and newspapers
may have a features department or desk.
Feed To send a program or signal. For instance, feeding a program
from one station via satellite to other stations.
Footage A selection or sections of film already shot.
Hook The focus that a media story takes. The publicist and media
may not always have the same hook for each story.
Lead First paragraph or sentence of a news story that is used to
Media Reporters, personalities and production crews whose goal is to
entertain, inform and educate the target markets. Four types,
television, print/press, radio and internet.
Media Advisory An announcement to media that may not be necessary to
editorial content, but contains elements significant to the story
(i.e., announcement of a news release).
Media Kit An information package that includes relevant materials that the
media will need to develop a story.
Media Release See News Release.
Mobile Unit TV equipment used outside the studio.
Mult, Mult Box or A device, connected to the main microphone at a news event,
Multiplexer which individual broadcast journalists or crews can patch into,
eliminating the need for a forest of mikes at the podium. Each
mult unit usually handles 12-24 separate lines.
News Desk See Assignment Desk.
News Conference A planned gathering of media representing all mediums, with
announcements made by the client. Media kits are usually
News Release A one-page story, written by a media relations specialist, which
contains information about an event.
Pitch Presenting your information to the media in a way that
encourages editorial coverage by making it relevant, topical and
Pool A camera crew and reporter(s) assigned to cover a story or
event on behalf of all media and to share materials with them.
Often used when tight space and security are considerations or
when it is unlikely that any "news" will be made.
Press Conference See News Conference.
Remote A broadcast coming from outside the studio.
Satellite Tour A feed from one point of origination to various downlink sites.
Scrum An impromptu gathering of media around a spokesperson,
where questions are asked by media and answers provided by
Sound Bite A ―quotable quote‖ spoken by a person, which appears in media
coverage. Strong sound bites are about 10 seconds in length.
Spin Lying, deception, distortion or twisting of facts to create a
message with an appearance of truth.
Stand Up A commentary or report by a TV correspondent seen on
camera, usually at the scene of the action. Used to open, close,
or bridge the elements of a report.
VNR (Video News Release) The television equivalent of a news release.
Wire Service A news bureau that reporters file stories with, which are
distributed via wire copy to media throughout a specified region
(i.e., BN, AP, CP, Reuters…)
Appendix C - Plan Amendment Request
Procedure: Utilize the form below to submit any changes,
corrections or additional to the Plan administrator. Revisions and
updates to this document will be made when necessary.
Plan Section: Page Number
Please revise the Response Plan as follows:
Reasons for revisions:
Appendix D - Information Officers Contact List
Information Officer/Communications Team:
Name Email Cellular Work Home
Name Position Email Cellular Work Home
Name Agency Email Cellular Work Fax
Appendix E - Local and Regional Media Contact List
Outlet Contact Email Fax Telephone
* Preferred method of contact
Appendix F - Information Officer Function – Equipment Checklist
Supplies/Equipment Location How to Obtain
Computers with printer access
LAN and Internet access
Fax machine (pre programmed for broadcast
TV/VCR/DVD and cable connection
Tape Recorder (batteries and extra tapes)
AM/FM Radio and recording capabilities
Several tables/desks and chairs
Cellular phones with chargers
Office supplies including pens/markers,
highlighters, tape, white paper, notebooks,
coloured paper, poster board, file folders,
sticky notes, stapler, paper clips, hole punch,
in/out baskets, presentation folders/media kit
Whiteboard, bulletin board message board
Phone books, directories, contact lists…
Templates, logos, samples, forms (electronic
copies) of resource materials
Templates, logos, samples, forms
(paper/hard copies) of resource materials
Podium, lighting, microphone, flags (news
Information Communicator's Response Plan
Appendix G - News Release and Public Information Sheet Templates
General News Release Template
Evacuation News Release Template
[Insert additional relevant releases and information sheets]
General News Release Template
[city, province, postal code]
[phone, fax, website]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Insert release date.]
[HEADLINE – Insert your primary message to the public.]
[Dateline - your location capitalized] – [Describe the current situation in two or three
[Insert a quote from an official spokesperson demonstrating leadership and concern
for those impacted.]
[Identify actions being taken.]
[List actions that will be taken.]
[List information on possible reactions of the public and ways citizens can help.]
[Insert a quote from an official spokesperson providing reassurance.]
[Provide reference/contact information/website address so that the public can access
- more -
[Insert “more” on bottom of first page, if longer than one page.]
- 30 -
[Provide media contact information.]
[Name/Position (Information Officer)]
Evacuation News Release Template
[city, province, postal code]
[phone, fax, website]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Insert release date.]
An evacuation [alert/order] has been issued for the [local authority name] as a
result of the [type of emergency event].
[city/town], BC – A [size/intensity] [incident] [has occurred/is occurring] in [location].
Because of the potential for danger to life and health the [local authority] [has/have]
[ordered/recommended] everyone within [number/distance] kilometers of that area to
[prepare to evacuate/evacuate/shelter-in-place] [immediately/as soon as possible].
[Insert a quote from an official spokesperson demonstrating leadership and concern
for those impacted.]
If you are in the following areas, you [must/should] [prepare/leave/shelter-in-place]
[immediately/as soon as possible]. The areas involved are as follows:
[north/south/east/west] [street/highway/other significant geographical point]
[north/south/east/west] [street/highway/other significant geographical point]
[north/south/east/west] [street/highway/other significant geographical point]
[north/south/east/west] [street/highway/other significant geographical point]
[Identify further response actions being taken, including locations (ESS Reception
Centres) where citizens should go once they have or when they evacuated.]
[List actions that will be taken to stabilize the situation]
Further instructions will be given to those directly impacted. Citizens are to monitor
[local] radio for additional information. This message will be repeated.
[Provide reference/contact information/website address so that the public can access
- 30 -
[Provide media contact information.]
[Name/Position (Information Officer)]
Appendix H - Forms and Worksheets
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet – Expanded Format
[Insert additional relevant forms and worksheets]
Media Enquiry Tracking Sheet – Expanded Format
Time of Call: Date of Call:
Call Taken by:
Callers Name: Media
Contact Information: Phone/Cellular:
Deadline or Date/Time of Interview:
(what is story about)
(How is it being framed,
who else is being
Interview Details: Anticipated Length:
In-Person Phone Satellite Tour
Action Required: No further action required
Return call expected From:
Action Taken: Responded based on FAQ‘s
Directed to website for details
Directed to scheduled media briefing
Referred to outside source Source: