Monthly Archives: May 2013

Sandy Hook

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A few months ago the horrific shooting occurred at Sandy Hook elementary. This was a horrible crisis because children were injured and many of them were murdered. Heroes formed from the situation and teachers and staff members were recognized. The following hours after the shooter entered the school were crucial and a few mistakes occurred. The media had the incorrect identity of the shooter and they had to quickly fix the mistake. Although situations like this have happened in the past, it may not be common for an elementary school to have an up to date crisis plan because it seems unimaginable that something like this could happen.

It was an immediate crisis and officials had to respond immediately because of the danger of the students and employees inside. It was critical how the response was handled because if something went slightly wrong more deaths and injuries could have occurred. Even the response of the employees helped prevent injuries to the children and that is when the teachers were honored as being heroes.

It was also critical to inform the parents of the students about the shootings and to keep them under control. As you can imagine, the parents would be freaking out and wanting to know everything that was known about what was going on inside. The spokesperson for the news conferences had to respect those who had died and those who were injured and not release names yet. This is important in any crisis situation where people are killed.

It is also important to follow a strict recovery plan. Counseling sessions were offered to those who were effective by this tragic act. There were memorials in memory of those who died and these memorials should continue yearly. Also in the days following the crisis, many rumors were being spread. It is important to respond to these rumors and correct them.

Social media played a huge part in this crisis. Memorial Facebook pages were created and pictures were all over the internet of those who passed away. “Hashtags” were formed on Twitter and posts were all over the internet about people’s thoughts on the situation. Obviously people were in outrage over the evil act that was committed by the shooter. This two way communication allowed people to share the sorrows and support for the recovery of the situation. This is important because during crises people do have a lot of important things to share.

Overall, this was a huge crisis and it was hard to respond because of all the chaos. Sandy Hook and the community did a great job in the midst of the crisis and the country came together to share their support.

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California Wildfires

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There has been a recent outbreak of wildfires out west in California. This has caused damage to over 28,000 acres of land which included people’s homes. People have had to evacuate the areas while fire fighters try to put the huge fires out. This is a crisis because it caused such a large amount of damage and disrupted the normal ways of life for those that live in the area. Millions of dollars are being spent to fight the fires which is a financial crisis in itself. People are in danger trying to contain the fire and there have been a few injuries.

It was important that officials and fire fighters responded to the crisis so that the surrounding public was safe. They had to communicate effectively to the media to also keep the nation as a whole up to date with the situation. It is also important that the cause of the fires are immediately under investigation to prevent further fires in the areas.

Social media could be an effective method to update the details because of the wide spread use of it. Since so many people use Twitter and Facebook it would be important to use it to inform the public. Also, blogs could be effective. All these methods would enable two way communication to hear what the public is saying about the situation.

A crisis plan would be needed for such a situation and I would assume that there was one in use because of the commonality of wild fires out west. Following such a plan would help communicate with the media appropriately, use specific tactics to prevent further fires, understand how to handle the fires on the officials side, and so much more. I understand that these plans can be used for all sorts of situations.

Letters to the President and Senator

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A few weeks ago there were letters poisoned with ricen sent to the president and a senator. The letter was intercepted before President Obama opened it, but they were tested in labs to determine what exactly was in the letter. The crisis management for this situation would be extremely important due to the threat behind the message. Years ago there was an anthrax break out that was being sent to various political leaders in the mail. Because of prodromes like that, it is always important to be extremely secure and over analyze situations to keep leaders safe. If officials weren’t overly protecting these people, things could get out of hand if threats came like this too often. Since the Feds made an arrest and have the suspect in custody, it doesn’t mean they can let up on the protection.

Understand the dangers of the situation and responding to the media are important. News conferences dealing with this situation should be truthful and explain the details of the situation to prevent fear among the public. Since this is an immediate crisis, it is important that there is a crisis management plan available for the first hours after the crisis. I am sure that there is a plan because of past experiences and the threat made towards different presidents and political leaders. The first hours are crucial because that is when the Feds are investigating full force to determine the source of the threat. It is also necessary for the public relations team to respond to the media with press releases and various other tactics.
In this specific crisis, the response was good and handled in a good manner.

Carnival Triumph

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A recent crisis in 2013 was the fire in the engine room on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship. This incident basically shut the ship down and stranded over 4,000 passengers and employees in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Since this crisis was made a big deal over the news, Carnival should have handled the situation better over social media.

For the most part they mainly used Facebook posts to update the public about the situation. They should have used Twitter more because it is easier to inform people that way. Also, on Twitter the company was mentioned in hashtags like “cruisefromhell” that was not helping their reputation. It took the company about 4 days to use social media after the cruise was stuck. Also, they should have used two-way communication over social media by responding to comments that people had posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, the crisis management could have been handled better. Since it was a bad situation for the company and there were people stranded in the ocean, they should have done all they could in a positive manner to keep people thinking they are doing all they can and are sincerely sorry. It would have just helped with their reputation.

Boston Marathon

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The Boston Marathon bombing that happened a few weeks ago, was a sudden crisis that our nation was faced with. It was a horrible act of violence where innocent people died and were injured. Not only were hundreds of people hurt, but among those who died was an 8-year-old boy. Since this was such a huge crisis, the management was very important and involved a lot of people. People at the scene of the bombings helped those injured and did all that they could to prevent more injuries and get the help needed. The FBI quickly went under way to find who was responsible for the attack.

Since it was such a horrific act, there it was important that the spokesperson for the media issued a sincere statement to inform the public about all that happened. Since social media is extremely popular, it was useful for the FBI to figure out the suspects. Pictures were posted of the 2 men and captions asking if anyone recognized them. These pictures were all over Facebook which obviously has millions of users.

Also, it was important that those who died and were injured remained unknown to the public until family members were informed. This is respectful and ethical to do so for the sake of the family and victims. Slowly the information came out and there were memorials held in memory. This was such a horrible thing to happen at the marathon because it was a family oriented atmosphere where people were there for support of those they loved. It is important that there are reports on the updates about the situation as well. There should be a memorial next year at this time for those who lost loved ones and for those that weer injured this past April. Crises strike and it takes a lot of people to work together to handle it appropriately.