There are two certainties that we realize will occur in a school system:
- An emergency situation will undoubtedly arise; and
- We will experience intense public scrutiny by the news media and the public we serve
Communication immediately following an emergency or incident that draws public and media attention is critical. There is an information vacuum surrounding every event. Stories are going to be written and cameras are showing up, so we have a decision to make: do we want to hope that the media distributes the information and portrays the situation the way we wish them to, or do we want to define the message?
Our system leadership and the Department of Communications share the belief that the universal determining factor to responsibly handling any emergency situation is the ability and willingness to communicate effectively. This requires detailed and regularly updated plans, coordination with county and system emergency response entities, and regular training by key personnel.
Through established processes and leadership under pressure comes confidence from our staff and from the parents that send their children to our care each day. That confidence is built by establishing predetermined processes and communication strategies so when the inevitable emergency occurs, we are able to respond and communicate in a responsible and thorough manner.
This emergency communication plan is fluid and should be updated regularly.