Emergency Information Response Plan by cus77764


									   [insert local authority name/logo here]

Emergency Information
Response Plan

   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.

Distribution List
     One copy of this Plan and any future amendments must be delivered to each of
     the following:

      Distributed to:                               DEPARTMENT/
                         TITLE/POSITION                                      DATE
                        Mayor                  Office of the Mayor
                        Chief Administrative   Administrative Offices
                        Manager                Corporate Communications
                        Emergency Program Emergency Management
                        Coordinator       Office

Amendment Record
      AMENDMENT                         SECTIONS AMENDED
       NUMBER            DATE               OR ADDED                    INSERTED BY

     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
     organization’s procedures.
     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

1. Introduction
  1.1. Preface
      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
  their team.
  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.

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

Event Name:
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
                                   update                           personnel
                                   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
4.   Potentially
5.   Statement of
6.   For more info:

Step 4: Develop complete key message for each of the three message topics
Topic 1:


Topic 2:


Topic 3:


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
                                                                            Event Name:
                                                                                          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
      their activities.
      Public Information:
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.
      Media Relations:
5.    Serve as the coordination point for all media releases for the EOC.
6.    Coordinate media releases with officials representing other affected emergency
      response agencies.
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.
      Internal Information:
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.
Reports to:
       EOC Director/Deputy
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
    centre), etc.

      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
       follow-up stories.
      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
    and directed
   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
    internal audiences
   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
    special events
   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
    considered political

       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
       challenging interviews.
       General Considerations:
          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
           media/communications contact
          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.
       Further Points:
           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
Useful Phrases:
―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
       Physical Set-up:
           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
           conference/media area.
           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

Conducting Event
   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
   and organization.
   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
       LEVEL                    LOCATION
       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)
       Coordination Level

      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
                                  Coordination Level
                                 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:

                                                                     Policy Group

                                                                         EOC                                            Provincial Regional
                                                                        Director                                        Coordination Level

                                                                                         Risk Management
                                                   Deputy Director                            Liaison                       Representatives

                                                                                                     Public Information
                                                                                                     Media Relations
                                                                                                     Internal Information

                      Operations                        Planning                         Logistics                     Finance/Admin
                       Section                          Section                           Section                         Section

                        Air   Functional                                                        Information
                                                                Situation                       Technology                         Time
                Operations    Branches
                   Special           Fire                       Resources                                Communications            Procurement
                Operations                                                                               Computer Systems
                                     Police                     Documentation                                                      Compensation
                                                                                                EOC Support                        and Claims
                                     Ambulance                                                         Facilities
                     DOC's                                      Advance Planning
                                                                                                       Security                    Cost Accounting
                                     Emergency                                                  Supply
                                     Social Services
         Incident                    Environmental                                              Personnel
      Commander(s)                                              Technical Specialists
                                     Engineering                                                Transportation
        Site Level

                 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
                 the structure.

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
          information activities
         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
                final approval
               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
      Officer by:
         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
          media statements

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
          media materials
         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

3.2.6. Spokespersons
      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
           Policy Group.
           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
          Incident Commander.

          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
              reunification services
             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
    following circumstances:
       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:
           Level of
                                Message Type
           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
                                     place/required/were broken?
                                    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
           Level of
                                Message Type
           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
                                    Mitigation Actions
                                    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
                                    Technical Information/Expertise

     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


    Planning tasks
    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
             participating agencies.
             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
            conference equipment.]
      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.]
            Important considerations:
               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

      5.2.3. Internet/Website
            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
            event/disaster-specific information.
            Activation can be supported through the EOC Logistics Section and the
            local authority‘s webmaster.
            Webmaster: [Insert name/number of person responsible for updating
            website information.]
            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
         Employees
         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…]

5.2.6. Flyers/Newsletters
      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.
      5.3.2. Intranet
            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
            intranet site.]
      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
         or businesses?
      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
can participate.
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
your community.
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
materials incident.

     Be Prepared for a Hazardous Materials Incident.
     Protect Yourself.
         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.
You should:
 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
 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
       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

7. Appendices
  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
                            emergency situation.
CEPR – Community            The Community Emergency Program Review is a web tool for
Emergency Program           community use to see how prepared the community is for
Review                      emergencies.
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
                           local authority.
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
                           emergency situations.
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
                           this system.
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
                            other clients.
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
                       capture attention.
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
                           handed out.
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
                           the spokesperson.
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:

               Approved by:

Appendix D - Information Officers Contact List
Information Officer/Communications Team:
Name                             Email     Cellular   Work   Home
                of Expertise

Internal Contacts:
Name            Position    Email          Cellular   Work   Home

External Contacts:
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
    fax releases)
    TV/VCR/DVD and cable connection
    Tape Recorder (batteries and extra tapes)
    AM/FM Radio and recording capabilities
    Several tables/desks and chairs
    Digital camera
    Cellular phones with chargers
    Photocopier access
    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
    Name tags
    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
    conference supplies)
    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

                                                                 [organization logo/name]
                                                                  [organization‘s address]
                                                              [city, province, postal code]
                                                                      [phone, fax, website]

 [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 information.]

                                          - 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

                                                                  [organization logo/name]
                                                                   [organization‘s address]
                                                               [city, province, postal code]
                                                                       [phone, fax, website]

[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
more information.]

                                            - 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)

Story Context:
(How is it being framed,
who else is being

Specific Questions:

Interview Details:           Anticipated Length:
                                    Live                       Taped
                                    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:
                        Interview scheduled/confirmed


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