NFPA 1600 suggests that procedures should be developed to disseminate and respond to requests for pre-incident, incident and post-incident information, as well as to provide information to internal and external audiences including the media, and to respond to their enquiries.
Organisations should also establish and maintain the capability to provides accurate and up to date information for the organisation and the public which includes:
- Central contact point for the media
- Systems for gathering, monitoring and disseminating emergency information
- Pre-scripted information bulletins for potential disruption scenarios
- Method to co-ordinate and clear information for release
- Identification of the audience for communications (e.g. stakeholders, key customers, staff, emergency services, suppliers, families, regulators, government ministers etc)
- Policies for communicating with the audience
- Policies for communicating with special needs populations
- Ongoing employee/customer communications and safety briefings
- Protective action guidelines (e.g. shelter at site, evacuation, move to safe site)
- Advice to the public through appropriate agencies concerning threats to the people, property and the environment
- Definition of the means and frequency with which information will be provided
BS 25999-1 also suggests that a suitable venue should be established to support liaison with the media and other stakeholder groups and that appropriate numbers of trained, competent spokespeople should be nominated and authorised to release information to the media.
A communications (or audience) matrix should be written to summarise key information about the audience including who should communicate with each group. The key points of the message could also be noted in this matrix. It is useful to include this tool in all plans, to avoid confusion over who communicates with whom.