Health Emergency Guidelines

• CDC’s “Emergency Risk 2014 Edition: BE FIRST, BE RIGHT, BE CREDIBLE” by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF document, published August 2014)

This manual introduces the reader to the principles and practical tools of crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC). Principles in this manual adapt (1) writings of classical rhetoricians; (2) a wealth of modern crisis, issues management, communication theory, and psychological theory; and (3) lessons learned from the real and often painful world of experience, old-fashioned trial and error.

CERC addresses a number of topics critical to successful public, partner, and stakeholder communication during crises and emergencies. This is not intended to be an in-depth manual on risk communication, issues management, crisis communication, or disaster communication. It is an amalgamation of all of these, incorporated from theory and practical applications. CERC draws on the work of many experts including Drs. Peter Sandman and Vincent Covello; therefore, no single chapter is a complete source for a specific discipline. The chapters are meant to help those who are charged with these responsibilities, but who may not be steeped in these subjects, to manage the task of planning and implementing CERC activities. When possible, we have provided resource sites that offer more in-depth materials on a particular subject.

CERC is the attempt by public health professionals to provide information that allows individuals, stakeholders, and entire communities to make the best possible decisions for their well-being during a crisis or emergency. CERC includes communicating to these groups regarding decisions made by response organizations within nearly impossible time constraints. CERC principles teach us to accept the imperfect nature of choices as the situation evolves.

Contents (example)

Chapter 1: Introduction to Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication

1 Communicating During a Public Health Crisis
2 Types of Disasters
2 A Changing World
3 Increased Population Density in High-risk Areas
3 Increased Technological Risks
3 Our Aging U.S. Population
4 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Antibiotic Resistance
4 Increased International Travel
5 Increased Terrorism
5 Defining Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication
6 Crisis Communication
7 Risk Communication
7 Issues Management Communication
7 Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication
8 Emergencies, Disasters, and Crises
9 The Communication Lifecycle
10 The Pre-crisis Phase
11 The Initial Phase
12 The Maintenance Phase
13 The Resolution Phase
14 The Evaluation Phase
14 The Role of CERC
16 Conclusion
19 References
20 Resources