Crisis Blog 5: American Civic Association Shooting

On Friday, April 3, 2009 a gunman killed 13 people and wounded 4 in the American Civic Association located in New York before committing suicide.  The American Civic Association helps individuals seek citizenship. This is said to be the 5th deadliest shooting in the United States in the last month. What are the causes and motives of these shootings? Is it the downfall of our economy in the United States or is it completely unrelated and just personal issues with the shooters? With such a tragic event, this type of event should be handled with sympathy.

From a public relations standpoint, if you are the PR professional that works for The American Civic Association and you are entitled to release a statement regarding this shooting at your company location do you know what to say to the public? To express sympathy and help ensure citizens that this won’t happen again? To show individuals that your company is a safe place to be? These are all things that need to be thought about if you are the person in the position to handle such a crisis. Your company should be prepared to handle something like this and to have an updated crisis communication plan (CCP). This will help when a crisis takes place because you can reference it at a time of crisis and the plan will include all necessary components to handling specific crises. These are several components that should be in your CCP including:

-Make sure CCP is updated every 6 months

-Crisis Policy

-Organizational Structure: crisis teams,  individual responsibilities

-Notifications: phone tree, order of contact

-Facilities

-Equipment

-Drills and programs

-Letters of agreement

-First-Response Issues

-Back up response team

-Debriefing

-Quarterly crisis team meetings: to update plan, prepare for anniversaries and identify prodromes

Having this time of detailed and up to date crisis plan could really help you if your company is ever put into a crisis situation similar to the shootings at The American Civic Association. You can just pull out the CCP and procedure from there to tackle the crisis situation thoroughly and responsibly.

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