Top Ten Tips to Prepare for a Crisis

  1. Be prepared. Develop crisis management, emergency response and crisis communication plans with senior management. Designate a crisis management team.

  2. Move fast. Follow your emergency response plan and get things under control as quickly as possible. The first 24 hours will be the most critical. What you do the first day will drive everything that happens afterward.

  3. Don’t freeze or fuss. Set a plan and follow it. Don’t be pushed off course by changing events or reactions.

  4. Ask for help when you need it. Delegate tasks. You can’t do two jobs at once when you’re in a crisis.

  5. Control the flow of information. Designate spokesperson(s) through whom you will channel all information and make sure everyone knows how to reach them.

  6. Get to the media before they get to you. Develop a fact sheet and update it on a daily/hourly basis. Distribute updated fact sheets to key audiences quickly.

  7. Tell it all and tell it fast. Hiding, holding back, refusing to talk or just delaying will send rumors flying beyond control.

  8. Don’t lie and correct media errors. If you don’t know the answer, say you’ll get back. Additionally, if the media reports something inaccurately, correct it promptly.

  9. Be available. Establish a hotline system to handle all calls for information. Keep a careful record of all calls to help the crisis communications team manage the situation.

  10. Think ahead. Prepare a damage control plan and have people work on it immediately.