How to Improve Your Crisis Communication During a Disaster
It was a surprise to many Emergency Managers and Public Information Officers. After being in demand for telephone interviews during Tropical Storm Lee on September 3-5, 2011 near New Orleans, The Weather Channel opted to start taking live reports from a resident on the front porch of his home on Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, LA. In some instances, the live reports from this citizen were more compelling and ran higher in the broadcast than The Weather Channel’s own reporter in New Orleans.
That resident is Gerard Braud (Jared Bro). Yes, I’m that Gerard Braud — a former storm chaser and television reporter turned media trainer and crisis communications trainer.
So how and why did the Weather Channel select me. Well, I knew I was seeing something more compelling than anyone else was offering to the network and my journalistic instincts kicked in. I could show images of waves crashing out of Lake Pontchartrain, flooding streets and yards.
I was also able to use the newest technology to bring viewers across the nation directly into the rising floodwaters, while Emergency Managers and Public Information Offices were locked inside Emergency Operations Centers using old technology, otherwise known as the telephone.
Every Emergency Manger and Public Information Officer needs to recognize times are changing and they must change with those times. They must adopt a combination of new Media Training techniques that also teach how to use new technology such as iPhones, iPads and Skype software, in order to report live on the scene for the media.
If you would like to learn more, please download this article that explains how Emergency Managers, Emergency Operations Centers and Public Information Officers can master this new technology as part of their Crisis Communications Plan.