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6 Tips: How Communicators Can Prepare For Hurricane Sandy

If you are a communications consultant, agency staffer, or you work for a corporate communications department, you are probably aware of the many preparation steps you have to take in the face on an oncoming weather emergency.  But here are some more tips!

Hurricane Sandy, in all likelihood, will knock out power to many of us for days.  I remember losing power for seven days with Isabel and 5 days with the Derecho.  However, this is a slow moving hurricane. The longer tropical storm effects we may feel in the Washington metro area may prevent crews from restoring power as promptly as we would like.

We have a couple of advantages with this storm.  At least we know how severe it may be.  And we had a few days to get ready.

So, what are the special considerations for communicators? Particularly regarding social media?

1. If you have social media scheduled, you might want to scale back the promotional Tweets and Facebook Page updates.  Just put your HootSuite on “pause” or broadcast safety messages — sparingly.  Let Twitter and Facebook work to get vital response information out to the public.

2. Only communicate what you know to be true and time-stamp  your updates.  Be helpful.  There is a goldmine of helpful information for our area provided by Fairfax County Emergency Services.

3. Your tone over the next few days should be compassionate and supportive.  Humor or ranting may not be well-received.

4,  Read FCC/FEMA Tips for Communicating During an Emergency

5. Read these social media disaster communication tips from Laua Howe of the American Red Cross.

6. Check out this video we produced for communicator Susan Rink on communicating to employees during a crisis.

Good luck, and let us know what you are doing to be a prepared communicator!







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